Camy here, and I’m knitting Regency knitting patterns again! This time, it’s “Shell Pattern Manchettes” from The Ladies’ Knitting and Netting Book by Miss Watts, originally published in 1837. You can download the .pdf of the Fifth Edition, with additions, which was published in 1840.
I had to Google what “manchettes” were. 🙂 In the 1838 version of this same book, the pattern calls them “cuffs” instead of “manchettes,” but they seem to be longer than what we would consider cuffs, so they could have been perhaps wrist-warmers or arm-warmers.
(And autocorrect keeps trying to turn “manchettes” into “machetes,” so I apologize in advance if the blog mentions long blades instead of long gloves.)
The pattern mentions adding lace to the top and bottom, so I think they were meant to be worn over the dress sleeve, like the “muffatees” (fingerless gloves) patterns in the same book.
Even though this pattern was first published in 1837, I’m almost positive these patterns were in use during the Regency era. Most knitting patterns were passed down from one woman to another by word of mouth or copied instructions, hence they were called “receipts” since they were received from someone else.
The intricacy and complexity of British knitted artifacts dated from before 1800 (in the Georgian, not Regency era) point to knitting skills already fully developed beyond just knit and purl patterns. Knitting was mostly done by wealthy women for themselves, or for poor women who knit fine articles to sell to the rich.
I originally picked this pattern because I wanted my heroine to be knitting a gift for her friend in my next Regency novel. 🙂 So I think I’ll knit these manchettes and then hold a contest to give them away when my Regency releases, like how I did with Gerard’s Red and Black Scarf from The Spinster’s Christmas.
Since most of us don’t have a maid to tie the ribbons of our manchettes for us (le sigh), I think I’ll knit these with ribbing to fit the manchettes to the wrist instead of the ribbon holes. But since these will be a giveaway, I’ll keep the arm part loose (no ribbing) so they’ll fit more people.
If you’re on Ravelry, here’s my project page for these manchettes.
Here’s the start of my machetes!