Sontag Pattern help

I am a novice knitter. I have yet to go much beyond scarves, dishcloths and the like because, well, I am a chicken, but I really want to make this. I got it from an acquaintance and apparently it is based on a historical pattern. Basically it is a shawl/hug me tight sort of thing. However, I cannot make much of the pattern, other than how to do basket stitch- of which I was already well able to do. So if anyone can help, and explain this in the usual knitting pattern type of way, and perhaps for novice knitters, I would be forever grateful!

The pattern reads:

"Cast on 35 stitches on 5mm needles, work in basket stitch (then tells how to do so)

These first rows form the pattern and are repeated thus forming the blocks.

Widen with on (I am assuming this was a typo and was meant to be read “one”) stitch at the beginning of each line. Knit up 18 blocks, then divide the blocks so that 5 are left in the middle and an equal number on each side.

Blind off (obviously was meant to read “bind” but I am writing it here as I have it) the 5 middle blocks and knit up one front, narrowing on stitch on the inside every fourth line for 6 blocks, narrow every other line for the next 6 blocks. Then narrow every line until you come to a point.

For the border on the outside edge, cast on 10 stitches and knit plain for the distance around and sew on. For the neck border, cast on 8 stitches and knit plain for the distance from point. Up around neck and down the other point and sew on.

Put loop on each point and button on each corner in back. Cross point in front and button."


It’s very straight forward - CO 35 sts and work in the basket stitch pattern. As you do, inc 1 st at the beginning of each row. When you have 18 blocks of the basket weave pattern (as you count up from the CO edge) BO the middle 5 block. You’ve now knit from the back to the neck and the middle blocks are the neck. Then work each front separately dec on the inner edge (not the outside edge) one st every 4th row until you have 6 blocks on the front. Then dec every other row on that same edge for another 6 blocks, then on every row until you have 1 st left. Do the other front the same way. CO 10 sts and knit every row for the length you need around the lower and outside edges and sew on. CO 8 sts and knit every row for the length from one front point to the other and sew on. Then add the loops and buttons on the back corners and cross the front points over and button. I’m thinking you probably put the buttons on the points and loops on the back corner though.

That’s aCivil War-era pattern from Godey’s Lady’s Book. It makes a vest, sorta. The “blocks” they’re talking about are the squares from the basket stitch.

Oh, hey, I was going to describe it, but here’s the picture!

Kewl! Nice to see what it looks like; that really helps in the construction of items.

Why Thank you- to both of you! I figured it was relatively basic, but it just confused me for some reason! It is nice to see it, but the one I saw made up looked different- it must have had a ruffled edging attached.

You could do a ruffled edging. Instead of knitting a garter strip and sewing it on, pick up stitches around the edges, knit a row or round, then inc in every stitch all the way around, do a row plain, inc in every stitch all around and knit a round, then bind off. You could make it longer if you want and do the increases in every other stitch instead and do several more rows alternating inc row, plain row, or even increasing in every row. Depends how much of a ruffle you want.

But does “row” here refer to actual row or to row of blocks, i.e. every 5 rows? If I increase one stitch every row things get bigger a lot faster. If I’m only increasing every 5th row, that’s a very different story. I’ve read this pattern about a million times, but I can’t decide which it is. Thanks for any help.

A row is one trip across the needles. What are you making - do you have a link to the pattern? If not, you can type a couple of the increase rows and we can help you figure it out.

I am making the sontag that was referred to earlier in this thread. Its directions say to “cast on 55 stitches, knit five stitches, then purl five stitches, thus forming the blocks. Knit five rows in this way, increasing one stitch at the beginning of each row.” So far, that makes sense. It goes on: “Knit the second row of blocks alternate with the first; knit until you have eighteen alternating blocks, which forms the back, then divide the blocks so that five are left in the middle, and an equal number on ea h side. Bind off the five middle blocks…”

So, if I’m understanding correctly, for every row, I’m adding a stitch. That means that the knit 5, purl 5 thing is messed up on the ends, but on the ends only, correct? So on row 2 I would be knitting 6, then purling 5, then knitting 5, etc. And would I have to continue the increase at every row for the next 90 rows? (18 x5)
Thanks for your help!

You add the new sts into the pattern and do continue to inc at the beginning of each row. Since you have an odd number of sts, the odd rows begin and end with a k5, the even rows with p5. So row 2 is either kfb or k1, m1 for the new st, then p5, k5 and so on, ending with p5, k1. Row 3 would begin with the inc and p st, then k5 p5 and end with p2. You want to keep the knit sts over the knit sts and purls over the purls.