In Dutch

Karen Brock Jan 16, 2015 - 3 min read

In Dutch Primary Image

Delicate shell-motif lace from the New-York Tribune weekly edition, November 11, 1879, chosen by Mary Lycan for the lace that Laura knitted for Mary's petticoat in The Long Winter. Photo by Joe Coca.

Dutch Lace Crescent Scarf by Donna Druchunas.

My father’s family arrived from Holland in the late 1600s and settled in New Paltz, New York. After 200 years or so, they gradually scattered themselves across the country—my great-grandfather landed in Colorado. It’s an endearing inaccuracy that, despite having been in the U.S. for over 300 years and having little sense of Dutch language or tradition, my father’s family, me included, continue to proudly call themselves Dutch.

Star Pattern d'Oyley, published in Weldon's Practical Needlework, Volume 30, in 1915.

I’ve always been attracted to and curious about Dutch things, so when Donna Druchunas sent copies of vintage Dutch lace knitting publications to the PieceWork office, I latched onto them as though I might have some special understanding, as though I might discover some subtle link to my family’s history.
But the real connection was made when we paired two different lace patterns and asked Donna to use them as the basis for a scarf design for our seventh issue of Knitting Traditions. She took it from there, adding a crescent shaping that pulled all the elements into a gorgeous lace scarf.

Knitted lace Mittens for a Lady, published in Weldon's Practical Needlework, Volume 24, in 1909.

So I’m admittedly partial to the Dutch, but in this special lace edition of Knitting Traditions, the lace also hails from Iceland, Russia, the Shetland Islands, Latvia, England, and America, and it’s all awe-inspiring. We showcase laces’ elegance as with Donna’s scarf (and 7 other wraps!), but also in a Weldon’s pattern, Lace Mittens for a Lady, and Katrina King’s tour de force Orenburg-style shawl (60 inches [152.4 cm] long!). We also include more practical household items like washcloths and doilies, and there’s a bit of whimsy like a miniature tablecloth for a doll’s house and a knitted nightcap.

We’ve gathered a fine collection of knitwear designs for every kind of lace knitter. I hope you find a connection to something in this issue of Knitting Traditions—no matter how tentative it might be!—and bring that tradition to the present by making it anew.

That Dutch lace scarf is going to be my birthday present to myself this year. In making it, I hope to bring a bit of my family’s past to the present.
Happy Knitting,