Knitters everywhere share a fondness for Jane. She took the same care and attention to detail with her characters that knitters bring to their work. As Austen spent time with her characters they blossomed, became intimate friends, and I imagine, surprised her along the way. Knitting is like that. It begins with some yarn and a pair of needles. Soon surprising you with little secrets as it takes shape.
In Jane Austen Knits the 35 Regency Era patterns are grouped into four sections, Country, Manor, Garden, and Town. Let’s take a look at a sampling of what Jane might knit!
Out in the Country.
The whimsical Linen Work Apron incorporates a lace bodice and hem and would be beautiful in Hempathy. Short Stays takes the concept of a corset to create flattering outerwear along the lines of a cropped sweater or vest. Show off indie dyed yarns such NFC Studio Worsted, Sweet Georgia, or Miss Babs Yowza to stunning effect.
Do you have a Janeophile on your Christmas list? An accessory from the Regency Era might be just the thing. The Fitz Fingerless Mitts are perfect for racking leaves on a crisp fall day. Knit these up in Miss Babs Northumbria, Shepherds Wool, or Berocco Vintage DK and hands will stay toasty. The Pemberley Slippers are a divine luxury for a girlfriend or sister. Show off the slippers’ leaf lace pattern with Shelter LOFT, Lorna’s Laces Sock, or Dragon Sock.
I doubt Lydia Bennet’s ability to sit still long enough to knit the socks she inspired! With a pattern of lace horseshoes and moss stitch hearts Lydia Bennet Secret Socks will look divine in NFC Studio Sock or Dream in Color Smooshy. The Frivolous Sock incorporates delicate beads and a silk ribbon along the cuff and will knit up beautifully in Sweet Georgia, or Miss Babs Yummy Sock.
A good men’s sweater is hard to find. Kind of like the man himself. An Aran for Fredrick solves one half of the equation. Creative cabling gives a modern flourish while retaining a Celtic feel. Knit entirely in the round, the cables are the star of this garment. Choose from the stunning shades of Brooklyn Tweed SHELTER.
Conceived in the shape of a crescent, the main lace pattern of the Georgiana Shawlette is placed next to rows of stockinette, beautifully setting off the delicate design. Dragon Sock or Miss Babs Northumbria would be lovely.
Life in the Manor.
Most women’s clothes were made out of white or pastel muslin, a shawl or cropped jacket added a touch of color and a bit of warmth. While candlelight and fires certainly provided ambiance there was no central heating for our dear Jane.
The Woodhouse Spencercropped jacket is designed to skim the empire waistline. Short row shaping, an embossed ridge, and moss stitch
detail on the ruffle, collar, and cuffs provide both structure and a bit of whimsy. Berocco Vintage DK or Northumbria would be a perfect choice. In the Barton Cottage Shrug buttons and neckbands have been replaced with a ribbon that gathers up the neckline into a soft oval. Lovely lace edging along the hemline and sleeves complete the look. Choose one of the Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace pastels.
A knitters dream, the Lambton Top, with square neckline, ruffled sleeve cuffs, slightly fitted bodice and top-down construction combine to make this an easy, yet sophisticated knit. Lace weight yarn sets off the delicate details while the main body uses a DK yarn. The tone on tone blends of Viola’s Merino Lace and Silky DK will shimmer.
The word ‘stockings’ holds so much more promise than nylons, tights, or socks. Imagine knitting one adorned with lace detailing and a picot casing threaded with a silk ribbon garter. Indulge your feet with a pair of Marianne Dashwood Stockings made in NFC Luxury Sock.
At first glance the Flower and Lace Cuffs seem to be intarsia. Look again and you’ll see delicate little beads. Imagine this in a dark, rich color of Berocco Ultra Alpaca with jewel-toned beads.
A turn in the Garden.
The Northanger Abbey Hood uses intricate lace design to create stunning visual appeal. Differing needle sizes and a geometric design combine to create the shaping. Use Vintage DK for a classic look or for a cocktail wrap, Sublime Lustrous.
This Scarlett Capelet falls just below the elbow and would look lovely in Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia. For a rustic look, suitable for the moors, use Tahki’s Tara or Donegal Tweed.
The faux shawl inset of the Elinor Tunic gives the illusion of layering while paying tribute to the eldest Dashwood sister. Fibre Company Savannah would work perfectly. Add a modern touch to the shawl inset with NFC’s Loft.
The Lydia Military Spencer incorporates the clean lines typical of such jackets while folding in a rouched sleeve cap and a simple collar that impart an air of softness. Knit this up in one of the rich, saturated colors of Brooklyn Tweed SHELTER.
Mr. Knightley’s Vest is imbued with all the elegance of Regency Era gentlemen’s clothing and a clever, yet simple construction gives the impression of exquisitely woven fabric. Knit up in Spud and Chloe Fine or Fibre Company Canopy it’s the perfect gift for your Mr. Darcy.
The Chawton Mittens combine both colorwork and cables to keep your hands toasty and stylish.
Typically made with fur and silk, muffs are stylish and functional. The cables in the Leafy Muff provide texture and chunky yarn makes it a quick knit. The sheen of Berocco Sundae will dress it up or choose the pure warmth of Blue Sky Bulky.
Off to Town.
The right jacket for town is essential. Sporting military flair, The Meryton Coat incorporates traditional colorwork with crisp finishing details such as i-cording and mitered corners. Brooklyn Tweed LOFT is a perfect choice. The Evening Spencer, designed to set off an empire waist, would take on an updated look paired with a classic sheath. Try the luscious colors of the Shepherds Wool or Miss Babs Yowza.
Capes also made frequent appearances in town. The layers in this design mimic those on men’s overcoats popular in Regency England. Worked up in Schulana Kid Seta, the mohair adds grace and femininity to the Picturesque Cape.
Enhance your wardrobe (or your Christmas gift stash) with one or more of these accessories. The sophisticated architectural lines of the long Kensington Mitts will pop in Dream In Color Smooshy or SweetGeorgia BFL Sock. Try the Sense and Fashion Handwarmers in one of the rich colors of Louisa Harding’s Grace. Bags during Jane’s time were petite and often intricate. The vibrant Diamond and Cross Reticule will knit up beautifully in the Brooklyn Tweed LOFT. Velvet Ribbons and snowflake lace grace Miss Bennet’s Beaded Bag. Choose from a rainbow of Spud and Chloe Fine. More jewelry, than garment, the lacey detail of Miss Morland’s Neckcloth pairs well with the luxury of Manos Lace or Miss Babs Yasmin.
You may not be able to make it to Derbyshire any time soon, but knitting up one of these patterns will certainly transport you to another time.