A Cure for Melancholy
Hannah More (1745-1833)
Edited by Dianthe Bells
Published by Rosy Garland Books (2017)

How those without means may help the poor. Hannah More was famous for her
sixpenny stews and halfpenny printed recipes.

Showing The Way To Do Much Good With Little Money
The Informer
Public Houses
Charity Schools for Servants
See the Way to Plenty for a Number of Cheap Recipes
Historical Poverty Knitting Patterns by Dianthe Bells


Showing The Way To Do Much Good With Little Money

Mrs. Jones was the widow of a great merchant. She was liberal to the poor, as far as giving them money went; but as she was too much taken up with the world, she did not spare so much of her time and thoughts about doing good as she ought; so that her money was often ill bestowed. In the late troubles, Mr. Jones, who had lived in an expensive manner, failed; and he took his misfortunes so much to heart, that he fell sick and died. Mrs. Jones retired, on a very narrow income, to the small village of Weston, where she seldom went out, except to church. Though a pious woman, she was too apt to indulge her sorrow; and though she did not neglect to read and pray, yet she gave up a great part of her time to melancholy thoughts, and grew quite inactive. She well knew how sinful it would be for her to seek a remedy for her grief in worldly pleasures, which is a way many people take to cure afflictions; but she was not aware how wrong it was to weep away that time which might have been better spent in drying the tears of others.

It was happy for her, that Mr. Simpson, the vicar of Weston, was a pious man. One Sunday he happened to preach on the good Samaritan. It was a charity sermon, and there was a collection at the door. He called on Mrs. Jones after church, and found her in tears. She told him she had been much moved by his discourse, and she wept because she had so little to give to the plate, for though she felt very keenly for the poor in these dear times, yet she could not assist them. "Indeed, sir," added she, "I never so much regretted the loss of my fortune as this afternoon, when you bade us go and do likewise." "You do not," replied Mr. Simpson, "enter into the spirit of our Saviour's parable, if you think you can not go and do likewise without being rich. In the case of the Samaritan, you may observe, that charity was bestowed more by kindness, and care, and medicine, than by money. You, madam, were as much concerned in the duties inculcated in my sermon as Sir John with his great estate; and, to speak plainly, I have been sometimes surprised that you should not put yourself in the way of being more useful."
"Sir," said Mrs. Jones, "I am grown shy of the poor since I have nothing to give them." "Nothing! madam?" replied the clergyman; "Do you call your time, your talents, your kind offices, nothing? Doing good does not so much depend on the riches as on the heart and the will. The servant who improved his two talents was equally commended by his Lord with him who had ten; and it was not poverty, but selfish indolence, which drew down so severe a condemnation on him who had only one. It is by our conformity to Christ, that we must prove ourselves Christians. You, madam, are not called upon to work miracles, nor to preach the gospel, yet you may in your measure and degree, resemble your Saviour by going about and doing good. A plain Christian, who has sense and leisure, by his pious exertions and prudent zeal, may, in a subordinate way, be helping on the cause of religion, as well as of charity, and greatly promote, by his exertions and example, the labors of the parish minister. The generality, it is true, have but an under part to act; but to all God assigns some part, and he will require of all whose lot is not very laborious, that they not only work out their own salvation, but that they promote the cause of religion, and the comfort and salvation of others.
"To those who would undervalue works of mercy as evidences of piety, I would suggest a serious attention to the solemn appeal which the Saviour of the world makes, in that awful representation of the day of judgment, contained in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, both to those who have neglected, and to those who have performed such works; performed them, I mean, on right principles. With what a gracious condescension does he promise to accept the smallest kindness done to his suffering members for his sake. You, madam, I will venture to say, might do more good than the richest man in the parish could do by merely giving his money. Instead of sitting here, brooding over your misfortunes, which are past remedy, bestir yourself to find out ways of doing much good with little money; or even without any money at all. You have lately studied economy for yourself; instruct your poor neighbors in that important art. They want it almost as much as they want money. You have influence with the few rich persons in the parish; exert that influence. Betty, my house-keeper, shall assist you in anything in which she can be useful. Try this for one year, and if you then tell me that you should have better shown your love to God and man, and been a happier woman, had you continued gloomy and inactive, I shall be much surprised, and shall consent to your resuming your present way of life."
The sermon and this discourse together made so deep an impression on Mrs. Jones, that she formed a new plan of life, and set about it at once, as everybody does who is in earnest. Her chief aim was the happiness of her poor neighbors in the next world; but she was also very desirous to promote their present comfort; and indeed the kindness she showed to their bodily wants gave her such an access to their houses and hearts, as made them better disposed to receive religious counsel and instruction. Mrs. Jones was much respected by all the rich persons in Weston, who had known her in her prosperity. Sir John was thoughtless, lavish, and indolent. The squire was over frugal, but active, sober, and not ill-natured. Sir John loved pleasure, the squire loved money. Sir John was one of those popular sort of people who get much praise, and yet do little good; who subscribe with equal readiness to a cricket match or a charity school; who take it for granted that the poor are to be indulged with bell-ringing and bonfires, and to be made drunk at Christmas; this Sir John called being kind to them; but he thought it was folly to teach them, and madness to think of reforming them. He was, however, always ready to give his guinea; but I question whether he would have given up his hunting and his gaming to have cured every grievance in the land. He had that sort of constitutional good nature which, if he had lived much within sight of misery, would have led him to be liberal; but he had that selfish love of ease, which prompted him to give to undeserving objects, rather than be at the pains to search out the deserving. He neither discriminated between the degrees of distress, nor the characters of the distressed. His idea of charity was, that a rich man should occasionally give a little of his superfluous wealth to the first object that occurred; but he had no conception that it was his duty so to husband his wealth and limit his expenses, as to supply a regular fund for established charity. And the utmost stretch of his benevolence never led him to suspect that he was called to abridge himself in the most idle article of indulgence, for a purpose foreign to his own personal enjoyment. On the other hand, the squire would assist Mrs. Jones in any of her plans if it cost him nothing; so she showed her good sense by never asking Sir John for advice, or the squire for subscriptions, and by this prudence gained the full support of both.
Mrs. Jones resolved to spend two or three days in a week in getting acquainted with the state of the parish, and she took care never to walk out without a few little good books in her pocket to give away. This, though cheap, is a most important act of charity; it has its various uses; it furnishes the poor with religious knowledge, which they have so few ways of obtaining; it counteracts the wicked designs of those who have taught us at least one lesson, by their zeal in the dispersion of wicked books--I mean the lesson of vigilance and activity; and it is the best introduction for any useful conversation which the giver of the book may wish to introduce.
She found that among the numerous wants she met with, no small share was owing to bad management, or to imposition; she was struck with the small size of the loaves. Wheat was now not very dear, and she was sure a good deal of blame rested with the baker. She sent for a shilling loaf to the next great town, where the mayor often sent to the bakers' shops to see that the bread was proper weight. She weighed her town loaf against her country loaf, and found the latter two pounds lighter than it ought to be. This was not the sort of grievance to carry to Sir John; but luckily the squire was also a magistrate, and it was quite in his way; for though he would not give, yet he would counsel, calculate, contrive, reprimand, and punish. He told her he could remedy the evil if someone would lodge an information against her baker; but that there was no act of justice which he found it so difficult to accomplish.

The Informer
She dropped in on the blacksmith. He was at dinner. She inquired if his bread was good. "Ay, good enough, mistress; for you see it is as white as your cap, if we had but more of it. Here's a sixpenny loaf; you might take it for a penny roll!" He then heartily cursed Crib the baker, and said he ought to be hanged. Mrs. Jones now told him what she had done; how she had detected the fraud, and assured him the evil should be redressed on the morrow, provided he would appear and inform. "I inform," said he, with a shocking oath, "hang an informer! I scorn the office." "You are nice in the wrong place," replied Mrs. Jones; "for you don't scorn to abuse the baker, nor to be in a passion, nor to swear, though you scorn to redress a public injury, and to increase your children's bread. Let me tell you there's nothing in which you ignorant people mistake more than in your notions about informers. Informing is a lawful way of obtaining redress; and though it is a mischievous and a hateful thing to go to a justice about every trifling matter, yet laying an information on important occasions, without malice, or bitterness of any kind, is what no honest man ought to be ashamed of. The shame is to commit the offense, not to inform against it. I, for my part, should perhaps do right, if I not only informed against Crib, for making light bread, but against you, for swearing at him."
"Well, but madam," said the smith, a little softened, "don't you think it a sin and a shame to turn informer?" "So far from it, that when a man's motives are good," said Mrs. Jones, "and in clear cases as the present, I think it a duty and a virtue. If it is right that there should be laws, it must be right that they should be put in execution; but how can this be, if people will not inform the magistrates when they see the laws broken? I hope I shall always be afraid to be an offender against the laws, but not to be an informer in support of them. An informer by trade is commonly a knave. A rash, malicious, or passionate informer is a firebrand; but honest and prudent informers are almost as useful members of society as the judges of the land. If you continue in your present mind on this subject, do not you think that you will be answerable for the crimes you might have prevented by informing, and thus become a sort of accomplice of the villains who commit them."
"Well, madam," said the smith, "I now see plainly enough that there is no shame in turning informer when my cause is good." "And your motive right; always mind that," said Mrs. Jones. Next day the smith attended, Crib was fined in the usual penalty, his light bread was taken from him and given to the poor. The justices resolved henceforward to inspect the bakers in their district; and all of them, except Crib, and such as Crib, were glad of it; for honesty never dreads a trial. Thus had Mrs. Jones the comfort of seeing how useful people may be without expense; for if she could have given the poor fifty pounds, she would not have done them so great, or so lasting a benefit, as she did them in seeing their loaves restored to their lawful weight: and the true light in which she had put the business of informing was of no small use, in giving the neighborhood right views on that subject.
There were two shops in the parish; but Mrs. Sparks, at the Cross, had not half so much custom as Wills, at the Sugarloaf, though she sold her goods a penny in a shilling cheaper, and all agreed that they were much better. Mrs. Jones asked Mrs. Sparks the reason, "Madam," said the shopkeeper, "Mr. Wills will give longer trust. Besides his wife keeps shop on a Sunday morning while I am at church." Mrs. Jones now reminded Mr. Simpson to read the king's proclamation against vice and immorality next Sunday at church; and prevailed on the squire to fine anyone who should keep open shop on a Sunday. This he readily undertook: for while Sir John thought it good-natured to connive at breaking the laws, the squire fell into the other extreme, of thinking that the zealous enforcing of penal statutes would stand in the stead of all religious restraints. Mrs. Jones proceeded to put the people in mind that a shopkeeper who would sell on a Sunday, would be more likely to cheat them all the week, than one who went to church.
She also labored hard to convince them how much they would lessen their distress, if they would contrive to deal with Mrs. Sparks for ready money, rather than with Wills on long credit; those who listened to her found their circumstances far more comfortable at the year's end, while the rest, tempted, like some of their betters, by the pleasure of putting off the evil day of payment, like them, at last found themselves plunged in debt and distress. She took care to make a good use of such instances in her conversation with the poor, and by perseverance, she at length brought them so much to her way of thinking, that Wills found it to be his interest to alter his plan, and sell his goods on as good terms, and as short credit as Mrs. Sparks sold hers. This completed Mrs. Jones's success; and she had the satisfaction of having put a stop to three or four great evils in the parish of Weston, without spending a shilling in doing it.
Patty Smart and Jenny Rose were thought to be the two best managers in the parish. They both told Mrs. Jones, that the poor would get the coarse pieces of meat cheaper, if the gentlefolks did not buy them for soups and gravy. Mrs. Jones thought there was reason in this: so away she went to Sir John, the squire, the surgeon, the attorney, and the steward, the only persons in the parish who could afford to buy these costly things. She told them, that if they would all be so good as to buy only prime pieces, which they could very well afford, the coarse and cheap joints would come more within the reach of the poor. Most of the gentry readily consented. Sir John cared not what his meat cost him, but told Mrs. Jones, in his gay way, that he would eat anything, or give anything, so that she would not tease him with long stories about the poor. The squire said he should prefer vegetable soups, because they were cheaper, and the doctor preferred them because they were wholesomer. The steward chose to imitate the squire; and the attorney found it would be quite un-genteel to stand out. So gravy soups became very unfashionable in the parish of Weston; and I am sure if rich people did but think a little on this subject, they would become as unfashionable in many other places. When wheat grew cheaper, Mrs. Jones was earnest with the poor women to bake large brown loaves at home, instead of buying small white ones at the shop. Mrs. Betty had told her, that baking at home would be one step toward restoring the good old management. Only Betty Smart and Jenny Rose baked at home in the whole parish; and who lived so well as they did? Yet the general objection seemed reasonable. They could not bake without yeast, which often could not be had, as no one brewed, except the great folks and the public houses. Mrs. Jones found, however, that Patty and Jenny contrived to brew as well as to bake. She sent for these women, knowing that from them she could get truth and reason. "How comes it," she said to them, "that you two are the only two poor women in the parish who can afford to brew a small cask of beer? Your husbands have no better wages than other men." "True, madam," said Patty, "but they never set foot in a public house. I will tell you the truth. When I first married, our John went to the Checkers every night, and I had my tea and fresh butter twice a-day at home. This slop, which consumed a deal of sugar, began to rake my stomach sadly, as I had neither meat nor rice; at last (I am ashamed to own it) I began to take a drop of gin to quiet the pain, till in time, I looked for my gin as regularly as for my tea. At last the gin, the ale-house, and the tea began to make us both sick and poor, and I had like to have died with my first child. Parson Simpson then talked so finely to us on the subject of improper indulgences, that we resolved, by the grace of God, to turn over a new leaf, and I promised John, if he would give up the Checkers, I would break the gin bottle, and never drink tea in the afternoon, except on Sundays, when he was at home to drink it with me. We have kept our word, and both our eating and drinking, our health and our consciences are better for it. Though meat is sadly dear, we can buy two pounds of fresh meat for less than one pound of fresh butter, and it gives five times the nourishment. And dear as malt is, I contrive to keep a drop of drink in the house for John, and John will make me drink half a pint with him every evening, and a pint a-day when I am a nurse."
Public Houses

As one good deed, as well as one bad one, brings on another, this conversation set Mrs. Jones on inquiring why so many ale-houses were allowed. She did not choose to talk to Sir John on this subject, who would only have said, "let them enjoy themselves, poor fellows: if they get drunk now and then, they work hard." But those who have this false good-nature forget that while the man is enjoying himself, as it is called, his wife and children are ragged and starving. True Christian good-nature never indulges one at the cost of many, but is kind to all. The squire who was a friend to order, took up the matter. He consulted Mr. Simpson. "The Lion," said he, "is necessary. It stands by the roadside; travelers must have a resting-place. As to the Checkers and the Bell, they do no good, but much harm." Mr. Simpson had before made many attempts to get the Checkers put down, but, unluckily, it was Sir John's own house, and kept by his late butler. Not that Sir John valued the rent, but he had a false kindness, which made him support the cause of an old servant, though he knew he was a bad man, and kept a disorderly house. The squire, however, now took away the license from the Bell. And a fray happening soon after at the Checkers (which was near the church) in time of divine service, Sir John was obliged to suffer the house to be put down as a nuisance. You would not believe how many poor families were able to brew a little cask, when the temptation of those ale-houses was taken out of their way. Mrs. Jones, in her evening walks, had the pleasure to see many an honest man drinking his wholesome cup of beer by his own fire-side, his rosy children playing about his knees, his clean cheerful wife singing her youngest baby to sleep, rocking the cradle with her foot, while with her hands she was making a dumpling for her kind husband's supper. Some few, I am sorry to say, though I don't chose to name names, still preferred getting drunk once a week at the Lion, and drinking water at other times. Thus Mrs. Jones, by a little exertion and perseverance, added to the temporal comforts of a whole parish, and diminished its immorality and extravagance in the same proportion.
The good women being now supplied with yeast from each other's brewings, would have baked, but two difficulties still remained. Many of them had no ovens; for since the new bad management had crept in, many cottages have been built without this convenience. Fuel also was scarce at Weston. Mrs. Jones advised the building a large parish oven. Sir John subscribed to be rid of her importunity, and the squire, because he thought every improvement would reduce the poor's rate. It was soon accomplished; and to this oven, at a certain hour, three times a week, the elder children carried their loaves which their mothers had made at home, and paid a half-penny, or a penny, according to their size, for the baking.
Mrs. Jones found that no poor women in Weston could buy a little milk, as the farmers' wives did not care to rob their dairies. This was a great distress, especially when the children were sick. So Mrs. Jones advised Mrs. Sparks, at the Cross, to keep a couple of cows, and sell out the milk by halfpennyworths. She did so, and found, that though this plan gave her some additional trouble, she got full as much by it as if she had made cheese and butter. She always sold rice at a cheap rate; so that, with the help of the milk and the public oven, a fine rice-pudding was to be had for a trifle.
Charity Schools for Servants
The girls' school, in the parish, was fallen into neglect; for though many would be subscribers, yet no one would look after it. I wish this was the case at Weston only: many schools have come to nothing, and many parishes are quite destitute of schools, because too many gentry neglect to make it a part of the duty of their grown-up daughters to inspect the instruction of the poor. It was not in Mr. Simpson's way to see if girls were taught to work. The best clergyman cannot do everything. This is ladies' business. Mrs. Jones consulted her counselor, Mrs. Betty, and they went every Friday to the school, where they invited mothers, as well as daughters, to come, and learn to cut out to the best advantage. Mrs. Jones had not been bred to these things; but by means of Mrs. Cowper's excellent cutting-out book, she soon became mistress of the whole art. She not only had the girls taught to make and mend, but to wash and iron too. She also allowed the mother or eldest daughter of every family to come once a week, and learn how to dress one cheap dish.

One Friday, which was cooking day, who should pass but the squire, with his gun and dogs. He looked into the school for the first time. "Well, madam," said he, "what good are you doing here? What are your girls learning and earning? Where are your manufactures? Where is your spinning and your carding?" "Sir," said she, "this is a small parish, and you know ours is not a manufacturing county; so that when these girls are women, they will be not much employed in spinning. We must, in the kind of good we attempt to do, consult the local genius of the place: I do not think it will answer to introduce spinning, for instance, in a country where it is quite new. However, we teach them a little of it, and still more of knitting, that they may be able to get up a small piece of household linen once a year, and provide the family with the stockings, by employing the odds and ends of their time in these ways. But there is another manufacture which I am carrying on, and I know of none within my own reach which is so valuable." "What can that be?" said the squire. "To make good wives for working men," said she. "Is not mine an excellent staple commodity? I am teaching these girls the arts of industry and good management. It is little encouragement to an honest man to work hard all the week, if his wages are wasted by a slattern at home. Most of these girls will probably become wives to the poor, or servants to the rich; to such the common arts of life are of great value: now, as there is little opportunity for learning these at the school-house, I intend to propose that such gentry as have sober servants, shall allow one of these girls to come and work in their families one day in a week, when the house-keeper, the cook, the house-maid or the laundry-maid, shall be required to instruct them in their several departments. This I conceive to be the best way of training good servants. They would serve this kind of regular apprenticeship to various sorts of labor. Girls who come out of charity-schools, where they have been employed in knitting, sewing, and reading, are not sufficiently prepared for hard or laborious employments. I do not in general approve of teaching charity children to write, for the same reason. I confine within very strict limits my plan of educating the poor. A thorough knowledge of religion, and of some of those coarser arts of life by which the community may be best benefitted, includes the whole stock of instruction, which, unless in very extraordinary cases, I would wish to bestow."

"What have you got on the fire, madam?" said the squire; "for your pot really smells as savory as if Sir John's French cook had filled it." "Sir," replied Mrs. Jones, "I have lately got acquainted with Mrs. Whyte who has given us an account of her cheap dishes, and nice cookery, in one of the Cheap Repository little books. Mrs. Betty and I have made all her dishes, and very good they are; and we have got several others of our own. Every Friday we come here and dress one. These good woman see how it is done, and learn to dress it at their own house. I take home part for my own dinner, and what is left I give to each in turn. I hope I have opened their eyes on a sad mistake they have got into, that we think anything is good enough for the poor. Now, I do not think anything good enough for the poor which is not clean, wholesome, and palatable, and what I myself would not cheerfully eat, if my circumstances required it."

See the Way to Plenty for a number of cheap recipes

"Pray, Mrs. Betty," said the squire, "oblige me with a basin of your soup." The squire found it so good after his walk that he was almost sorry that he had promised to buy no more legs of beef, and declared, that not one sheep's head should ever go to his kennel again. He begged his cook might have the recipe, and Mrs. Jones wrote it out for her. She has also been so obliging as to favor me with a copy of all her recipes. And as I hate all monopoly, and see no reason why such cheap, nourishing, and savory dishes should be confined to the parish of Weston, I print them, that all other parishes may have the same advantage. Not only the poor; but all persons with small income may be glad of them.'
"Well, madam," said Mr. Simpson, who came in soon after, "which is best, to sit down and cry over our misfortunes, or to bestir ourselves to do our duty to the world?" "Sir," replied Mrs. Jones, "I thank you for the useful lesson you have given me. You have taught me that an excessive indulgence of sorrow is not piety, but selfishness; that the best remedy for our own afflictions is to lessen the afflictions of others, and thus evidence our submission to the will of God, who perhaps sent these very trials to abate our own self-love, and to stimulate our exertions for the good of others. You have taught me that our time and talents are to be employed with zeal in God's service, if we wish for his favor here or hereafter; and that one great employment of those talents which he requires, is the promotion of the present, and much more the future happiness of all around us. You have taught me that much good may be done with little money; and that the heart, the head, and the hand are of some use as well as the purse. I have also learned another lesson, which I hope not to forget, that Providence, in sending these extraordinary seasons of scarcity and distress, which we have lately twice experienced, has been pleased to overrule these trying events to the general good; for it has not only excited the rich to an increased liberality, as to actual contribution, but it has led them to get more acquainted with the local wants of their poor brethren, and to interest themselves in their comfort; it has led to improved modes of economy, and to a more feeling kind of beneficence. Above all, without abating anything of a just subordination, it has brought the affluent to a nearer knowledge of the persons and characters of their indigent neighbors; it has literally brought 'the rich and poor to meet together;' and this I look upon to be one of the essential advantages attending Sunday-schools also, where they are carried on upon true principles, and are sanctioned by the visits as well as supported by the contributions of the wealthy."
May all who read this account of Mrs. Jones, and who are under the same circumstances, go and do likewise.




Historical Poverty Knitting Patterns by Dianthe Bells

Brefry Teapot Handle Cover

Needles size 3.00mm/US C/2-D/3/UK 11
Needles size 3.50mm/US between 10 and 9/UK 4
Needles size 4.00mm/US 8/UK6
Crochet hook 3.00mm
One ball pure wool 8ply
Small amount 4ply contrast pure wool


Needles and wool may be adjusted to your teapot handle. Tension is not strict. Ideal for yarn oddments. These bon-bon style cosies suited the heavy teapots with tall handles that were familiar in poor households. Poor-house charity folks knitted these, as did many children, from scrap lengths. Economy prevailed, and often tea-kettle holders were straight garter strips, merely knotted around the handle, being a practical piece to prevent burning.


You will be working from the top down. Begin at end, work to the middle, increasing in width, then reverse shaping to complete.

With contrast wool, cast on 36 stitches with 3.00mm needles. Knit in garter stitch for 6 rows total. If you want the cast off and cast on edges to match, use the crochet chain cast on method. With a 3.00mm hook chain 36, slip last loop off hook and onto working needle. Turn chain over and insert needle into the bump on underside of first chain. Knit up a stitch. Continue along chain for 36 stitches. Count these as two rows of pattern.

Row 7: Change to 8ply wool. Using 3.50mm needles knit across row, knitting every 5th and 6th stitches together. 30 stitches remain.
Row 8: Purl without decreasing.
Row 9: Knit across row, knitting every 5th and 6th stitches together. 25 stitches remain.
Row 10: Purl.
Row 11: Knit across row, knitting every 4th and 5th stitches together. 20 stitches remain.
Row 12: Purl.
Row 13: Change to 4.00mm needles. Knit across row, increasing by placing wool forward (yfwd) before every 6th stitch.
Row 14: Purl. 23 stitches and 3 eyelets.
Row 15: Knit 1, increase by knitting into front and back of second stitch. Knit across row to second last stich, increasing as before, knit last stitch. 25 stitches.
Row 16: Purl.

Knit the width of the cosy for 4 or 5 inches (or according to the wrap around measurement of your teapot handle) in stocking stitch pattern.

Shape the second half by knitting the reverse shaping from row sixteen backwards. Or simply make two pieces and seam across the middle.

Fold the piece in half, contrast edges being top and bottom. Sew up the two sides for 2 inches from each end. Fasten off, weaving in ends. Gather the ends together by running silk ribbon through the eyelets, forming a bow. Crochet around the opening in double crochet with the contrast wool. The cosy slips onto the handle like a slipper and may not fit a modern teapot. In which case you could knit a broad garter strip, fastening it around the handle with two buttons; or make a narrow strip, poke it through the handle space and tie the ends into a single knot.


Chilled To The Bone

In the cooler climates homes were bitingly cold and often damp, especially when constructed of stone. Fireplaces and hefty iron stoves warmed toes in wet socks, provided heat for cooking and for many was the only opportunity to get the laundry dry during winter. Many confined days and evenings were spent knitting up supplies of all manner of items to keep our various body parts from freezing.

Apart from the obvious thick socks, there were family needs to be considered; often the elderly and invalid were cared for at home. Women and children knitted bandages and medical garments. Among the woollies required you would find bed socks, heel-less bed socks, slippers, long-armed gloves, caps, tubular sleeves, knee-caps, wrist warmers for arthritis, scarves, bed-jackets, wraps and miser's gloves (fingerless or short-fingered for counting money, writing and knitting).

One intriguing item is the body warmer, worn of course over the abdomen if one suffered severely from the weather. It no doubt was used for the bed-bound and aged, and proved a soothing layer of wool for those with icy marrow. You might make this up for amusement and then find it toasting your tummy under your nightgown next winter. An old folk cure for revitalizing thin winter blood recommended placing ice over the body warmer, then covering with thick blankets. One would thus expect to be thrilled by a flush of fire whooshing through the blood vessels.


50g balls 4ply wool in cream (heavier weight baby wool)

3.25mm/US 3/UK 10 circular needles (80cm length)

3.00mm/US C/2-D/3/UK 11 circular needles (80cm length)


Knit gauge samples in pattern stitches to determine number of stitches per 2.5cm/inch. Decide on your preferred cast on method; you may want to try one of the soft tubular edges with matching cast off. Using 3.00mm needles, cast on number of stitches according to measurement of tummy. Join into circle and slip over a marker to indicate start of each round. Begin plain 1 x 1 ribbing:

Row 1: *K1, P1* repeat around, working in the round. Rib for 12½-15½cm/5" to 6".

Change to 3.25mm needles, continuing in stocking stitch for length required minus finishing rib (20-26cm/8" to 10"), then repeat ribbing as for beginning. Cast off in rib. Weave in ends. If preferred, use 8ply wool and suitable needles, adjusting number of cast on stitches. Other snug ribbing stitches may be substituted for plain 1 x 1 rib. Here are some examples arranged for circular knitting allowing a seamless, smooth undergarment. Patterns repeat between *s, so calculate number of stitches to cast on.

Hunter's Rib (multiples of 6+9):

Round 1: *P4, (K1 through back of loop, P1) 3 times, K1 tbl* to last 4 stitches, P4.

Round 2: K4, P1 through back of loop, *(K1, P1 tbl) 3 times, K4* to end.

Wide Rib (multiples of 5):

Round 1: *P1, K4*.

Round 2: Knit.

Slip Stocking Stitch Eyelet (multiples of 4 ):

Rounds 1 and 2: *Slip 2 purlwise with yarn at back, K2*.

Rounds 3 and 4: Knit.

Soft cord or ribbon may be threaded through the formed eyelets.




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