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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Madame Weigel's Knitting Patterns

Since writing about the daffodil tea cosy, I have had some requests for patterns from the book I used, so did a bit of research into the company that produced the book. That particular book seems to date from 1935.

The Weigel company, that published the book, was founded by Johanna  Weigel, born as Johanna Wilhelmine Astmann in Prussia in 1847. She went to the USA and met and married her German-born engineer husband in New York, where she worked for McCalls, designing paper patterns. They visited Australia in 1877 and stayed on in Melbourne.

She made patterns with clear instructions, initially just for friends but eventually established a business in Lennox St, Richmond, Victoria. In 1880 they published a monthly subscription journal, Weigel's Journal of Fashion. Her business thrived throughout Australia and New Zealand. When she died in January 1940 she left a trust to provide exhibitions for engineering students and a substantial proportion of her estate to the employees of Madame Weigel Pty Ltd, which continued until the death of the last one in the 1960s. 
Both the National Library and the Powerhouse Museum have collections of Madame Weigel's paper and knitting patterns. She has an entry, written by Deirdre Morris,  in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

At least a couple of her knitting patterns are in the public domain, including the daffodil tea cosy of my last blog, available at

The cottage tea cosy pattern has been transcribed in the public domain at  I am posting a photo of the pattern , now well out of copyright, below. It's a bit huge for the blog, but  hopefully readable.

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