Current Volume

Stories in Stitches Book 5
The Civil War Era: Speaking Out

This issue of Stories In Stitches salutes the women of yesterday and today, who have had the courage to make their voices heard. They have seen a need for changes and have stepped up to take responsibility for making their world a better place.

The way each lady speaks out is quite different, but the impact she makes does change the lives of those she touches. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth demonstrate how growing up and living in suppression can be overcome. The words of these pioneer freedom fighters continue to inspire the ongoing movement to eliminate slavery everywhere in the world today. The women of the U.S. Supreme 3 Court speak in an entirely different way, but they impact the lives of every person in America. They serve as examples of high educational achievement and political awareness tempered for thoughtful decision making. They demonstrate a high desire to work within the law for an orderly change to society. Finally, meet Lady Arlington, who seldom speaks above a whisper. Her healing words and compassion serve as an example of how one human being should care for another.

— Ava Coleman —

donna Headshoot

Have you ever found a beautiful pattern in an antique knitting book with bewildering instructions that gave you a headache? In this article, I’ll go over the basic information you need to begin making heads or tails out of vintage and antique patterns. Several of the projects in this book include facsimiles of original nineteenth-century patterns as well as our updated instructions and charts.

Look at those Victorian knitting patterns and compare the original and new instructions. Look at how Ava and I have interpreted gauge, sizing, and materials. In Stories In Stitches books 6, 7, and 8, Ava and I will continue this series with more tips for wading through the mysteries of nineteenth-century knitting patterns.


Victorian patterns use imperial measurements (inches) because they were written before the metric system came into use in the United Kingdom. The sizes are not standardized in any way. Sometimes, there are no measurements or sizes listed at all.

Many patterns do not list gauge or needle size, making it almost impossible to knit the item in the correct size even when using the exact yarn specified. Yarn substitution information was rare, which made it even more difficult to recreate the project in the dimensions specified by the author.

Read more in Stories in Stitches 5. Buy Today!

Yours in words and stitches,
Donna Druchunas

by Ava Coleman

Ain’t I a Woman? A Voice for Freedom 
A Shawl for Sojourner Truth 8
Under Cap for a Lady 12

Arlington’s First Lady 22 
Lady Arlington’s Warm Shawl 26


The Women of the Supreme Court 30
Collars: A Civil-War Era Tradition Continues 36
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Jabot 38
Sandra Day-O’Connor Cabled Collar 40
Sonia Sotomayor Grapevine Collar 44
Elena Kagan Blue Beaded Collar 46

Secrets of Victorian Knitting 48 
Easy Half-Square Shawl 56

A History of Knitting Needles 58