Tag Archives: cloud

The Canadian “Cloud”

I did a little more research online yesterday about the “cloud”.  I have come to the conclusion that today this is what we call a “stole”, except that it was longer and worn over the head and wrapped once or twice around the neck, like a scarf.  It seems to have been knitted with very fine wool (our laceweight) with large, 7.5-8mm needles–like the 1922 pattern I used for the Spanish Mantilla shown in my “gallery” at the top of my blog.   There are detailed instructions on how to wear a Cloud on page 84 of the Murray’s Magazine, Vol. III January-June 1888.  They describe this part of a Canadian woman’s “get up” as follows:

Their tuques are smaller and closer, and generally almost concealed by the fleecy folds of a ‘cloud’–that peculiarly Canadian wrap which, consisting of a fringed strip of  loosely knitted or woven thick soft wool nine feet long and eighteen inches wide, is both comfortable and becoming.

There is a pattern for a “Canadian Cloud” in the Lady’s Book of Knitting, on page 32–the link is to the whole pdf. of the book, at the Antique Pattern Library site, and may take a few minutes to load (be sure to check out all the antique pattern books in the “Catalog” tab on the right).  This book was published in 1886 in Boston, and I find it interesting that red and white were the colours chosen for this pattern, as those are the colours we associate with Canada today.  (This book has many other interesting patterns, too–I made the “Gentleman’s ribbed sock” on page 18 for my son-in-law in an alpaca/wool/nylon blend yarn).

There is another Cloud pattern on page 279 in “Little Wide-Awake” magazine (1881, London, ed. Mrs. Sale Barker).  This pattern uses two yarns in different colours, one finer than the other–I am testing the pattern with lace-weight wool yarn for the shetland, and double knitting weight wool for the ‘double berlin’; old UK size 1 needles are 7.5 mm on the needle chart I use from the Yarn and Fiber website.  There follow two lace patterns to use if only one colour of yarn is being used, “small spider net” and “another feather pattern”.  It does seem that the Clouds were knit with these large size needles–another Cloud pattern in “Best of Everything, by the author of Enquire Within”, Robert Kemp Philp, London, 1870, on page 235 (yet another online Google book), uses “very fine Lady Betty wool, or…shetland wool” with needles about a “third of an inch in diameter” which, on my ruler, is a 7.5 or 8mm needle).  This cloud is knit square, then folded in half to make a rectangle.

UPDATE: Here are photos of my Cloud, knit from the “Little Wide Awake” pattern!

Little Wide Awake 1881 Cloud

There is a pattern for a crocheted “Snow-flake cloud” on page 350-351 of Potter’s American Monthly (Volumes XIV and XV 1880, Philadelphia); this one is much shorter,  only three-quarters of a yard to  a yard and a quarter, i.e. 27-45 inches) and seems to be worn just as a head-covering, not wrapped around the neck.  While it may be made all in white wool, “a charming variation, however, is to make the foundation of white wool, and the chain-work overlying it of some contrasting color.  Black or purple over white is used for persons in mourning, or elderly ladies; blue or pink for others.  Scarlet is admired by many, but the effect is almost too vivid for any one except a very young girl.” !!!!!!!

Searching on Google full-text books brought up other references to the Cloud, too–a couple are In Her Earliest Youth, a Novel, by ‘Tasma’ (p 83-85; by Mrs Jessie Catherine Huybers Couvreur; New York, 1890); and Rose and Lavender, by the author of “Miss Toosey’s Mission,” “Laddie,” “Tip Cat,” etc. (p 218; by Evelyn Whitaker; Boston, 1891).  It was common for women to publish their books anonymously, and in Mrs. Whitaker’s case her identity was not revealed until after her death, according to Wikipedia’s entry about her.  It also states that she made frequent use of the language of flowers,  popular in Victorian times–the Antique Pattern Library has an interesting little book about this topic, published in 1844, listed under Edgarton, Miss S.C. The Flower Vase; Containing The Language of Flowers and Their Poetic Sentiments.

#CanadianCloud #VictorianKnitting #VictorianShawl #antiquepattern


Filed under Vintage Patterns, Woolworks

Vintage Cloud or Cache-nez Pattern

I decided to knit useful items instead of swatches to test vintage patterns; this kitchen towel was made to test the pattern on page 180-181 in The Young Lady’s Book: A Manual of Amusements, Exercises, Studies, and Pursuits, edited by Mrs. Henry (Matilda Anne Planche) Mackarness; published 1888 in London, available online through Google’s book search.  It is a pattern for a cloud, or cache-nez–a wide scarf, or stole, as Sarah Bradberry’s Knitting-and.com site explains (be prepared to spend some time browsing, if you haven’t been there already!).

This is an interesting stitch that I am not familiar with. I only did three pattern repeats, before switching to plain stockinette as the main towel component. The edging that I put on the bottom of my towel is added along cast-on and cast-off edges of the cloud, or stole as we would call it today.
It would be a great scarf or stole–you knit it long ways, casting on 334 stitches, and knit in pattern for 18”; the pattern is only a four row repeat, and three of those rows are plain knitting (i.e. garter st) so it would go quickly. It might be a bit boring–but easy to remember, a great almost-mindless take-along project where you don’t want sheets of lace charts to keep track of.counterpane-and-cloud005counterpane-and-cloud001

The Young Lady’s Book is interesting to browse through:  for instance, besides a few knitting patterns, there are many recipes, and household tips–such as, on page 34, using newspaper to clean glass; this is how my mother always cleaned her windows, except she added a splash of white vinegar instead of plain water as The Young Lady’s Book suggests.  There are outdoor and indoor games and activities (including woodcarving, carving cameos on shells, and–for older girls–“Dumb Crambo”, on page 281, a charades game in which one group thinks of a verb, the other must act out what they think it is) and a chapter on “Conversation” beginning on page 120 in which she condemns the use of slang: citing words such as

“awfully” (excessively) pretty, merry, or agreeable.

“cheeky”, impertinent, bold.

When you go hunting for knitting patterns on the internet, you just never know what you will find, or where you will get sidetracked to…It can give us great insight into the daily lives of those who actually filled their spare time and had fun without the benefit of electric appliances, chemical cleaners, video games, movies…and, of course, the internet!


Filed under Vintage Patterns