It was indeed a successful trip to Manchester with my daughter. We bought her prom dress relatively quickly - it was the second dress she tried on - she went back to it after trying on seven more! But the decision was certain and unchangeable which is what I wanted to hear. Prevarication was not on the menu. I'm not going to reveal anymore at this point but save the reveal for May when she is all ready to go.
I finally got a chance to scan in the cover of my wonderful valentine's present. It is this book
I don't know whether the page below can be read clearly but it was published in 1880. This is the earliest knitting book I have.
and contains two hundred and sixteen RECEIPTS (or patterns to us. I don't actually know why they were called receipts - does anyone else know?)
What I really love is it is signed presumably by the owner on January 30th 1881.
There are very few pictures but patterns for things such as a gentleman's muffatee and an opera cloak - you would have to be very brave to embark on knitting a cloak without even a picture to see whether you like it or not. There is also a pattern for a Tippet, which goes as follows:
"Useful little presents to poor children or as school rewards and can be made in the following way:
Take any soft wool (scarlet or any bright colour) and cast on about 27sts, using coarse wooden pins, not finer than size 2. Then wool forward, slip 1, knit 2 together. Knit every row alike.
Knit till long enough and cast off.
They can either tie round the throat, or fasten with a button or elastic. They are warm and quickly made".
I do love the way the patterns aren't prescriptive, just a guide really, and leave the knitter to find their own way to a great extent. There are other guides in the book, such as what to do if you have plump arms and a pattern for a 'Scotch Cap for pence'.
I think I shall make myself a Tippet but I'm not so sure about the Scotch Cap.