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Knit a Pineapple Purse

pineapple purse

The Pineapple Purse:

This  Pineapple shaped reticule resides in the Kyoto Museum’s 1800-1810 collection. In describing this bag, the museum comments,

This small bag (called “reticule” at that time) was elaborately and three-dimensionally knitted into the shape of a pineapple. Motifs of pineapples and other exotic articles associated with the tropics became popular because of the influence of Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife Joséphine, the then fashion leader, who was from the Island of Martinique.

It is absolutely charming and amazingly, the instructions for a similar looking reticule appeared in  The Lady’s Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting Netting, and Crochet Work by Mrs. Jane Gaugain in 1841. Those instructions have been reproduced below, though recently, a new, updated pattern for this purse has been created from the original pattern. The updated pattern and photos of the completed project can be found here: http://www.gancedo.eu/content/pine-apple-bag

KNIT A PINEAPPLE PURSE:
This pinapple purse is knit to imitate the natural colour of the fruit as much as possible, still keeping the bag as bright in hues as consistency will permit. The top part is worked in four shades of green, of seven rows each, commencing with lightest, and working in succession to dark. This represents the leaves. The centre, or fruit part, is worked in shades of yellow, down to a rich brown, four in number, beginning with the lightest, and working 36 rounds of each; again with green finish as described in the working receipt.

The cast-on row looks handsome with a row of gilt beads; also on the centre stitch of each knob of fruit part there should be a bead, but it may be omitted if not wished. The green part for leaves is worked on right side, and is the right or outside part; the centre part of bag is like the wrong side of knitting, as well as the green part, at bottom. When the bag is finished, it is drawn at the termination of the top leaves; the bottom is finished with a bunch of green satin ribbon, rounded at the points like leaves.

Working Receipt.

Cast on with light-green common-sized purse twist on No. 19 wires, 96 on first wire, 96 on second wire, and 128 on third wire; work a plain round after the cast-on round.

1st Round, P6, 0, P, 0, P6, A; repeat all round.

2nd Round, *P6, 0, P, O, P6, A; repeat all round.

Repeat as second round 5 more rounds.

2nd Shade of Green.

8th Round, repeat as second round 7 more rounds.

* Observe you have here seven plain stitches before you make an open stitch, the first of which has nothing to do with the six plain, merely work it off before the six, as it is one of those three you knit into one, and will be required to finish the A on the last wire j the beginning and ending of every wire during the working of green will be the same as this.

3rd Shade of Green. 16th Round, repeat as second round 7 more rounds.

4tth Shade of Green.

24th Round, repeat as second round 7 more rounds.

32nd Round, with light yellow, turn and work a plain round. It is necessary here to observe, the A of the yellow must be transposed so as to come directly under the 0, P, 0, of green. Should you have more loops than six before taking in the three loops, lift them on to the right hand wire; do the same with the other two wires; having done so, you have not again to change any of the loops off the wires, as the following receipt is so arranged,—

33rd Round, P6, A, P6, 0, P, 0; repeat all round.

34th Round, P5, A, P6, 0, P, 0, P; repeat all round.

35th Bound, P4, A, P6, 0, P, 0, P2; repeat all round.

36th Round, P3, A, P6, 0, P, 0, P3; repeat all round.

37th Round, P2, A, P6, 0, P, O, P4; repeat all round.

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Repeat from 32nd to 49th round twice with third yellow

Repeat from 32nd to 49th round twice with fourth yellow; (if wished to be longer, add what is required in this shade.)

Repeat with each shade of green once from 32 to 49th round

P6, A, all round} Repeat these two rounds till the bag is almost closed, then draw
Plain, all round } it together with a needle.
This bag may be worked in shades of Berlin wool, on No. 16 wires.

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Trim your own Regency Bonnet

A Regency Bonnet

So many styles of Regency Bonnet to choose from! 

Flowers are very much worn, and fruit is still more the thing. Elizabeth has a bunch of strawberries, and I have seen grapes, cherries, plums, and apricots. There are likewise almonds and raisins, French plums, and tamarinds at the grocers’, but I have never seen any of them in hats… Elizabeth has given me a hat, and it is not only a pretty hat, but a pretty style of hat too. It is something like Eliza’s, only, instead of being all straw, half of it is narrow purple ribbon. I flatter myself, however, that you can understand very little of it from this description. Heaven forbid that I should ever offer such encouragement to explanations as to give a clear one on any occasion myself! But I must write no more of this. . .
Jane Austen to Cassandra
Queen’s Square, Bath
June 2, 1799


If you had to choose only one fashion accessory with which to represent the entire Regency period, no doubt it would be the Bonnet. Large and small, close and wide, they came in an array of sizes and styles, each season bringing newideas and new requirements of what it was to be “Fashionable”. Fashion magazines of the day seemed never to tire of describing this brim and that cockade, and the colors! Where Puce was once reigned supreme, Jonquil now led the way. Or so they would tell you.

While wealthy socialites might spend their afternoons seriously pondering the style and purchase of a new bonnet, less fortunate young ladies might employ themselves with equal diligence to trimming and retrimming an older bonnet to meet the new style standards. For these young ladies, books like The Ladies’ self instructor in millinery and mantua making, embroidery and appliqué, canvas-work, knitting, netting, and crochet-work, by R. L. Shep, would be invaluable. Careful perusing of its pages, along with those of La Belle Assemblée would offer all they would need to know to be found in the most current mode, even when “buried” in the country.

One such period book advises, “it is well to avoid the two extremes [of fashion] into which some people are apt to fall. The one is an entire disregard to the prevailing taste, and the other is a servile submission to its tyrannic sway. A medium course is the only sensible one, and, in this, good sense will dictate how far to go, and where to stop.”

As you can see from the following fashion plate and historic gown and bonnet, simple decorations were often the most tasteful and appropriate. The addition of simple trim (make your own or use grosgrain ribbon or bias tape) and lace along with a few ribbons can turn a plain bonnet into a lovely summer chapeau.

Of course, simplicity and moderation did not always rule the Regency, as a look at a few more period fashion plates and examples of the period Regency bonnet will show you! Both of these following fashion plates are from Costumes Parisiens, 1812.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These historic bonnets are from the Old Sturbridge Village Collection:

Styles of Regency Bonnet

The Elinor:

To trim the crown with fabric, use a long strip of fabric, an inch taller than your crown. Fold one long, raw edge under, and baste in place around the crown. Fold over the short edge to make a finished seam up the back and baste in place over the matching raw edge. Fold the remaining long edge over and run a gathering stitch along this line to pull the edges together. Tack in place. You might also wish to add a small square of matching fabric under the hole created by the gathered fabric, or sew a rosette over this spot. Pleating the fabric before basting it on gives a rounder look, which is lovely in sheer cottons.

To create the ruffled ribbon trim seen on the cream and green bonnet, run two lines of gathering stitches down the center of a length of wide ribbon. Pull the threads to create a long gathered line. Tack in place and add an extra row of trim over the gathering stitches to hide them. In general, 3-4 yards of ribbon, a bunch of flowers and berries or fruit, and a few feathers will turn a plain bonnet into a thing of beauty.

Bonnets by Laura Boyle of Austentation: Regency Accessories

The Eliza (A Poke Bonnet)
Trimming the Eliza is nothing but a joy. A few yards of ribbon wound around the crown creates a lovely period look. Take it a step farther by cutting an 18 inch circle from your favorite fabric. Run a gathering stitch around this and pull it tight to fit the crown of the bonnet. Tack in place. Wrap a length of ribbon around the crown to cover the raw edge and finish it off with ribbon bows and ties. 3-4 yards of ribbon will give you plenty with which to work.

Bonnets by Serena Dyer, author of Bergère, Poke and Cottage: Understanding Early Nineteenth-Century Headwear

The Cottage Bonnet

The Cottage bonnet is another adorable style of Regency bonnet. Trim it with simple ribbons and feathers or rosettes and ties.

 

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A Jane Austen Christmas Ornament

This adorable ornament makes a great gift for the Jane Austen addict in your life. It’s simple to create and once you have the pattern down, fun to modify– try creating your favorite hero or heroine!

You will need:

  • One plain, wooden non pinching clothespin (sometimes called a dollpin)
  • Printed pattern pieces: click here to download
  • 4”x4” square of felt
  • Small bit of curly doll hair
  • 12″ each Narrow Lace trim and narrow ribbon
  • One small feather
  • Black paint, paintbrush
  • Black fine tipped pen
  • Red fine tipped pen
  • Gold thread and needle
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Craft glue or glue gun (preferred)

Instructions

  1. Paint Jane’s shoes black. Add her eyes and mouth with pens, once paint is dry.
  2. While paint is drying, cut out pattern pieces. You will need one skirt and two arms.
  3. Glue lace trim to bottom edge of skirt.
  4. Wrap skirt piece around Jane’s body and glue in place. Run a bead of glue down the underside of the seam along the back to fix the fabric in place.   Hem should end slightly above her shoes.
  5. Wrap narrow ribbon around her waist about 1/4″ down from her neckline. Tie ribbon in a bow at the back
  6. Glue arms in place at shoulder height. Glue a feather or feather shaped bit of felt in one hand to represent a pen.
  7. Wrap narrow lace around her neck and shoulders and tie at ribbon-belt height, trim ends creating a fichu or scarf look.
  8. Roll doll hair into a slight ball with a few curls hanging down the back. Glue in place so that there are a few curls in front as well.
  9. Tie small piece of ribbon around her hair to act as a bandeau or headband.
  10. Thread your needle with gold thread. Sew a loop on the top back of Jane’s gown and knot, so that she can now hang as a Christmas ornament.

 

Complete Clothespin doll kits are were designed for and available from Austentation: Regency Accessories. You may also visit our Giftshop to view our entire line and purchase your favorite Austen couple!

Available kits include: Lizzie and Darcy, Emma and Mr. Knightley, Anne and Captain Wentworth and Marianne and Colonel Brandon. Each kit contains the instructions and materials needed to create one male and one female doll as well as the Jane Austen variation found here and instructions for an alternate male costume (either officer or gentleman, depending on the kit purchased.)