Weldon’s Ladies Useful Stockings to Knit

Enjoy this excerpt from “Ladies Useful Stockings to Knit,” an adaptation from Weldon’s Practical Needlework featured in PieceWork March/April 2010.

Nancy Bush Dec 12, 2017 - 4 min read

Weldon’s Ladies Useful Stockings to Knit Primary Image

It’s once again Sock Monday! Enjoy this excerpt from Nancy Bush’s “Ladies Useful Stockings to Knit,” an adaptation of a Weldon’s Practical Needlework stocking pattern featured in PieceWork’s March/April 2010 issue.


I feel that this stocking—for that is truly what it is, long and shaped—suits those who do reenactments or belong to the Society for Creative Anachronism, if no one else. I adapted the pattern from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 28 (London: Weldon’s, 1913); these books were produced by a prolific London publisher and were a staple for Victorian needleworkers. I’ve kept to the pattern for the most part, working a Dutch Heel and Flat Toe, but I’ve adjusted the order in which the stitches are decreased for the gussets, so that the round begins at the back of the heel.

Useful stockings

Nancy Bush adapted the pattern for these “Ladies Useful Stockings” from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 28 (London: Weldon’s, 1913). She added the instructions for the traditional garters needed to hold up the stockings. Photo by Joe Coca.

In the past, knitted garters would have held up this type of stocking. These garters were narrow strips of knitting, about 30 inches (76 cm) long and 2¼ inches (6 cm) wide. According to The Workwoman’s Guide (originally published in 1838), garters were typically made of “worsted, cotton, or soft wool’’ worked on 12 to 30 stitches, depending on the thickness of the yarn. They were most commonly worked in garter stitch (knit every row), but ribbing, stockinette stitch, or “a succession of squares of different patterns’’ were also used.

To get the “Ladies Useful Stockings to Knit” pattern, download a copy of PieceWork’s March/April 2010 issue. Need more stocking inspiration? Insert one of the numerous toes and heels fromWeldon’s_ into your next pair of socks. The “Ladies Useful Stockings to Knit” feature the Dutch Hell and Flat Toe from_ Weldon’s Practical Stocking Knitter First Series Volume 1 of Weldon’s Practical Needlework.

useful stockings

No. 8 Dutch or Horse-shoe Heel from Weldon’s Practical Stocking Knitter First Series Volume 1 of Weldon’s Practical Needlework.

Dutch Heel

The Dutch heel, also called Horseshoe heel, is worked on half the total number of ankle stitches, plus one seam stitch. For example, if there are 64 stitches at the ankle, work the heel on 33 stitches. Work the heel flap back and forth in rows in stockinette stitch, slipping (purlwise) the first stitch of every row to produce chain edge stitches along each selvedge for as many rows as there are heel stitches.

useful stockings

No. 14 Flat Toe from Weldon’s Practical Stocking Knitter First Series Volume 1 of Weldon’s Practical Needlework.

Flat Toe

A flat toe can be worked on any number of stitches divisible by four, which is the number of stitches that are eliminated every decrease round. Begin by arranging the stitches so that half of the stitches are on the instep needle (Needle 2) and the other half of the stitches are evenly divided between two sole needles (Needles 1 and 3). The round begins at the bottom of the foot.

ARTICLES FOR YOU