It's relentlessly cold and grey in New York today, and on days like this a pair of cozy wool or cotton tights are just what the meteorologist ordered. But in the days before a lady bought such winter luxuries, what did she do? And what patterns might be available for today's maker?
Not surprisingly, there is a healthy interest in handmade socks and stockings in the knitting world, and first-time sock makers can find many satisfying patterns as well as plenty of helpful tutorials that go over the intricacies of heels and toes. Knitty is just one of many free friendly sources for guidance and patterns, including Cookie A's pattern for lovely lacy ones or these racier stockings that could melt snow on the coldest of days.
For those seeking vintage patterns, there are plenty of options both at the Library and online. An 1880 publication called Stocking Knitting: A Manual of Household Industry offers patterns for stockings in a variety of patterns. And lest the men feel left out, Maud Churchill Nicoll's World War I-era Knitting and Sewing: How to Make Seventy Useful Articles for Men in the Army and Navy offers illustrated patterns for no fewer than ten types of socks and stockings, including trench stockings and seamen's stockings. She also wrote a manual on sockmaking for both "amateur and expert knitters" that offers advice for those making socks and stockings for both men and women.
Online, the Victoria & Albert Museum offers free patterns from the past at a section of their website devoted to knitting in the 1940s. Their pattern for fishnet stockings is impressive. I'm particularly interested in tackling a lace stocking pattern that I found online at Vintage Purls. Be they fishnets or cables, trench stockings or open-work, happy stocking making!