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Historic Knitting : Finding, Reading, and Interpreting Patterns

A guide for the scholarly study of hand knitting through history..

Patterns: Knitting's Primary Sources

On this page, you will find reliable sources for locating historic knitting patterns as well as guides to interpreting them.

Weldon's Practical Needlework

Weldon's Practical Needlework was an influential British periodical of needlework patterns published from 1886- c.1929. Original copies are scarce, and most reside in museum collections.

Piecework, the modern American knitting magazine, includes many articles that republish, interpret, and otherwise explore Weldon's patterns. In partnership with Interweave Press, Piecework has an ongoing project republishing volumes of Weldon's, which are available to purchase through Long Thread Media as ebooks. 

Volume XI is available from the University of Southampton's Knitting Reference Library via the Internet Archive below.


Weldon's Practical Needlework, Vol. XI. Internet Archive.

Reliable Sources for Historic Patterns

Words and Abbreviations

Guides to Fibers and Yarns

Needle Sizing

Once you've found a pattern, it can be difficult to line up needle sizes from across time and around the world to make sense of the pattern in modern day terms.