Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Sontag

   Well ok, it's mine but it isn't mine.
   I decided this last winter I needed something to keep warm.  Normal shawls never stay put, which is why I never wear them around the house.  But the best thing about the sontag is that it wraps around and fastens in the back, hugging the body so it never falls off.  And it's very Victorian, although probably worn more often in the early to mid Victorian years.
   I have a pattern in Piecework written by Colleen Formby.  If you'd love to make one, this is a great pattern from a very knowledgeable lady.  But I wanted to push myself and see if I could manage one from the Godey's lady's sontag pattern.  Which if you're familiar with Ravelry can be easily found.  If not, just google Godey's sontag, and it should have it in one of the hits.
  It's a very simple pattern, except as usual the pattern was sized small. (Isn't every Victorian pattern?)  Something I'd never be anyway even if I were skin and bones.  But the best thing about the original pattern is, all you have to do is increase the rows.
   I doubled the starting stitches from 5 to 10, and doubled the number of rows.  And the thing fit my back exactly as it should.  I'm only nearly finished with the right wing at the moment.  And I had to increase my rows there too, however same as for the back, no re-figuring needed.  Just keep knitting as per the instructions until it reaches around to the back without pulling too tightly.
   I did notice there isn't any mention of a button hole in the Godey's pattern.  And it describes it as if it just hangs like a normal pattern.  But we do know that Sontags were worn wrapped around and fastened in the back.  My guess is the long ago editor might not have known anything about it in reality, and just assumed it was another shawl.  But pictorial evidence shows how it was worn.  At least around the 1850's to 60's.
   I loved the green of Colleen's sontag, so I went with that, using Telemark from Knit Picks (my favorite yarn company), in Pesto.  Here's what I have so far.  Just ignore the wrinkles in the sheet under it, and the yarn ends hanging out.  I partially weave these in to anchor them, then with needle weave the remainder in after I'm finished.

And the back

It doesn't exactly look shawl like when stretched out does it?

  Normally sontags I've seen are plain knit.  The one Colleen did was in a basket weave stitch.  Since I'm doing that on a pair of socks I decided to go with one called Seersucker, found on page 19 in 400 knitting stitches by Potter Craft.

  The back of this stitch doesn't look too shabby either, I think.

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