King Charles

By Megan Goodacre

King Charles

King Charles I by Van Dyck


Henrietta Maria by Van Dyck

There seems to be a British theme this week, what with Knit Your Own Dog and Knit Your Own Royal Wedding, and now, a little tidbit about knitting and King Charles. King Charles Brocade stitch that is, not Charles MDH, however kingly he might be.

I was writing a little article about simple knit-purl combinations, and their usefulness, and wanted to include King Charles Brocade. King Charles Brocade stitch is a very attractive stitch of interlocking stocking stitch diamonds bordered by seed stitch. In her first Treasury, Barbara Walker notes that this stitch is so named because it was used in the vest (waistcoat) worn by King Charles I on his execution day in 1649. The garment is in the Museum of London collection.

The chart for the King Charles stitch makes it seem simple enough, but have a look at the actual garment, knit out of blue silk. The brocade stitch is just one stitch, used in the yoke of the garment. For fun, I have charted the border stitch that you can see below the button band, and called it the King Charles Brocade Border. If any tricksy knitter is up to the challenge of figuring out the main pattern on the skirt of the vest, I would love to add that to the stitch library.

King Charles Getty Image by Barcroft Media. See more images at Getty

I love the ornateness and excess of courtly fashion from this period, and the way portrait painters captured the qualities of silk, brocade, and lace. Here's an image if King Charles I's queen, Henrietta Maria.

Henrietta Vandyck Henrietta Maria by Van Dyck