Like many people, I could sleep better. Lately, the middle-of-the-night waking has been caused by the Young Mr sneaking down the creaking stairs at 2:30, ostensibly to get a drink. Sounded more like a snack to me, but either way, I was awake at in the middle of the night and am yawning this morning.
The 18th century prints are full of domestic details not always found in formal portraits– and certainly this is an image never to be found in a formal portrait. Prints gave artists a chance to play with light in a different way; lithographs, by their nature, allow this kind of chiaroscuro imagery and informality.
On the table next to the “Drowsy Dame” is what really caught my eye: the stocking. This print, from 1769, goes very nicely withWm. and Joseph Russell’s ad in the Providence Gazette and Country Journal, 1768. That ad included knitting needles.
At this time, needles are slender steel rods, not bamboo or wood or anodized aluminum (or plastic) we use today. Hand knitting is done in the round, as you can see in the hands of this sleepy young knitter. (Is it the repetitive nature of stockings that lulls these knitters to sleep?) For more in historical knitting, there’s Colleen Humphrey’s blog, Mara Riley’s website, as well as English sources. It’s not my thing–I’m able, but like these women, I cannot finish a stocking, though there are plenty of published patterns.