An oldie but goodie

I was talking the other day about how I'd played about with my yarn in the sun and had come up with a rather pleasing little flowery coaster style design but that it looked disconcertingly familiar to me.

At the time, I realised that that nagging feeling came about because of a similarity to a blogging friend's motif, for which she in turn had original inspiration from elsewhere.

After that post I was chatting to another lovely blogging friend, Sandra of Reflections and Nature.  (Who does some beautiful photography by the way, you should pop over to see!)  She was telling me that she thought that there was an older version still of this pattern which is likely to be the inspiration for many of the versions we see floating around the internet today.

After a little investigation she managed to unearth the pattern she was thinking of and kindly sent me a link.  Would you believe, the pattern she had found had come from a publication that was dated way back in 1894, called 'The Ladies Model Fancy Work Manual'!

Here's the link to the Fancy Work Manual for you, in case you'd like a little look yourself.  It comes in the format of three different pdf files, where the original has been scanned in.  And if you open the first file and scroll down a little you'll come to a pattern called 'Crochet Wheel for Tidy' and the picture below.

As you can see, this version is larger, with an outer ring, which seems to have been dropped in later incarnations of the pattern.  But that centre flower looks familiar for sure.

I was amazed at how understandable the instructions seemed to be to my modern eye.  I'd expected the conventions and language to have changed to the point where I might have had trouble following along, but for the most part it was remarkably similar.  Sometimes more wordy and sometimes less detailed than we'd expect to see now.

I challenged myself to make up a 'Wheel for Tidy' following the original pattern, just to see if I could  work through JRW's instructions, and I managed it ok, although I confess, I was glad to have the picture to refer to at a couple of points.  There are an awful lot of stitches in the last row, which makes for a rather ruffled edging.  I'd probably have spaced them a little more if it was me, but then I haven't blocked it, so it might be forced into submission yet.

The most interesting thing to me though is that I noticed that this publication, printed in the USA and by publishers in Baltimore, uses what we today would call UK crochet terms!  I included a little extract of the magazine with the terms explained so you can see in the picture above.  (You can click to enlarge if you wish.)  Isn't that strange?  So, does that mean, back in 1894 Americans used the same terminology as we do here in the UK?  And I wonder at what point and why the names changed?  I had always assumed the names had come about differently from the start, so that's a puzzler!  If anyone knows any more about that, I'd love to hear.

I still think I do still prefer the smaller, central part of the pattern though.  It's a perfect coaster size, easy to whip up and suits colour play nicely too.  It's a lovely simple make and as it only uses the most basic of stitches it's easy to see why it stays popular.  I'm sure it or a variation of it has appeared in many publications over the last 100 plus years and no doubt versions of it have been un-invented again and again by crocheters looking to make a pretty but simple crochet flower shape like I did in my garden that day.

It's a real oldie but goodie!

: :

Oh and I'm leaving you with a little 'behind the scenes' shot today.  The reality behind my attempt at making pretty for you and posing a carefully manicured picture... 

What you don't normal see, is that five seconds later this beast has to get involved by dragging his stinky old blanket over to the area and placing it right in the action.  Yuck!

PS I thought you might like to know that I used my lovely Stylecraft Linen Drape for these coasters.  Aren't those rich colours pretty?  I think they work nicely for these!

S x





  1. In 1894 , I've found both UK and US terms. It's such fun to play with older patterns.

    (You have a typo in your rhetorical question. In 1984, the US firmly was using US terms. I learned to crochet somewhere in the neighborhood of 1973 or 1974 and everything I could easily lay hands on from my great aunties to my mother's collection was in US terms by then.)

  2. Very well done, Sandra, for having a go at the complete pattern! It's so pretty! I do agree though that the central coaster size flower is just perfect and has many uses. The colours you've used give them a retro look too! I saw other crocheters mentioning that there seemed to be a little overcrowding on the pattern on that outer row, though blocking could definitely help that.

    It's fun doing those coasters in different colours for each row, isn't it?

    I had to laugh at your family pet wanting to put his blanket in the final shot. He was just 'arranging' it nicely too!

  3. Awfully pretty. Colours are delightful, as is naughty little dog!!

  4. Perfect summery coasters... and a true oldie! I've been tampered by some old crochet patterns, but ones in books from my Granny so no where near as old as this. Sweet Bertie!

  5. And we thought the idea of a mandala was a new, modern idea

  6. How pretty! These coasters are lovely! I learned to crochet in the 60's and I looked at my hooks and they have US and mm also on them, I don't think I have any patterns left over from that period to check on but I'll look. ....Vicki

  7. Hi not related to the above. I am attempting to crochet the Hotel of Bees Shawl and finding it a struggle. Is it possible for me to purchase a copy of the crochet along for the shawl? Kind regards Josie.

    1. Hi, lovely to hear from you but I'm slightly confused by your message. The Crochet Along was just something fun where lots of us made the same pattern as the same time. It's over now obviously, but there was never anything to purchase.

      Christina, the designer is lovely though and I am sure she will be able to offer you some help if you are struggling with the pattern though.

      S x

  8. I've just enjoyed looking at all three of the Fancy Work Manuals! So good to see and interesting they used UK terms then. I've always thought there's no crochet stitch or new pattern we could invent - it's all been used before.


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