On Saturday Marie and I headed out early to Leeds for the annual Wool Festival at Armley Mills Museum, which coincidentally is where we did much of the photography for Lace Knits a couple of years ago. The festival is a growing gathering of small Yorkshire businesses trading in the woolcrafts industry. Lots of local dyers, crafters, designers, and small shop businesses were there, including the one which is a particular magnet for us, Judith Mansfield Books. She specialises in antique and vintage textile craft books and ephemera. Several of the items in my collection came from her.

We headed straight to Judith’s stall in the hopes of beating any other collectors to any recent acquisitions she might have, and we are utterly delighted that we did so. Carefully displayed on the front of her stall was an incredibly rare copy of ‘The Ladies’ Handbook of Knitting, Netting & Crochet’ (1842 H G Clarke). Oh my!!!

Of course, we bought it, and a few other bits. I’ll share photos when I have them. Meanwhile here’s our best photo from the even rarer 1845 Thomas Gill book I mentioned last week, a very early illustration of an item featuring the Print of The Wave stitch pattern. This delighted our friend Barbara Smith of the ‘Knitting Now and Then‘ blog, who took many notes about the book when she was with us at our weekly knit night (‘Bitter and Twisted’ at The Head of Steam in Huddersfield). We’ve since learned that the book was written by a Mlle de Lorette, as she is listed as the author of a later edition of the same book. We’ve put knitting historian Penelope Hemingway on the case, and hope she can sniff out some more information for us about this intriguing lady.

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