In-person gatherings are, of course, still cancelled for the foreseeable future while cases are on the rise (stay home when you can, wash your hands, and wear your mask!). The Sunflower Knitter’s Guild decided to take a little advantage of that and booked Franklin Habit to speak at last night’s meeting!
Franklin is a very funny teacher, designer, and author that I had the pleasure of meeting at Knitting in the Heartland in the spring of 2018. He’s such an interesting guy. His Instagram has regaled us of his adventures restoring an antique dollhouse, which doesn’t pertain to this, but it’s important to me that you know that.
He talked about how a lot of knitter’s possess “general cussedness,” which he described as wanting to do things the hard way (which I couldn’t relate to at all…). This lead him not only to learn how to knit, but to learn what Victorian women liked to knit.
He began researching, and found a long-running needlework magazine called Weldon’s Practical Needlework. As it always goes with Franklin, laughs ensued as we saw some ridiculous pattern titles, such as “Cheap Shawl for a Poor Woman” and “Boots for an Invalid.” There was also the usual, ridiculous, down-right creepy stuff we associate with the Victorian Era, like a severed-head rattle toy meant for children.
Franklin also talked about how the variety of the patterns in these issues gave us a glimpse into what life was like for different middle-class housewives in 19th century England. Of course, they really weren’t too different from us today. They just had to let their stress out through iron-curling instead of regular exercise (yes, he did show an issue about wrought iron projects for the home).
If this sounds interesting to you, Franklin has started a Youtube channel, and he said he is starting to make more historical knitting content. You can follow that here.