I’m working on my Gawthorpe design. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about.

Charles Sillem Lidderdale, The Fern Gatherer (1877)

Fern-decorated Mauchlinware

Wardian Case


Jane Hoodless “Pteridomania Contained” (©Jane Hoodless, 2012)


Victorian Fern-fashion

Gucci, A/W 2013


For more, see Sarah Whittingham, Fern Fever: The Story of Pteridomania (2012)

33 Comments on “Pteridomania

  1. I agree. Its an approach I might have to consider in the stuff I make- not related to knitting, but
    polymer clay.

  2. I am fascinated by ferns. I can’t wait to see the design that springs forth from your thoughts on them!

  3. Looking forward to the colours as well. Some lovely greens and oranges happening. Also noticed the Victorian lady has a lyre-bird tail feather fan …

  4. The designs on that quilted pocket which you showed looked somewhat like ferns too. I guess that one could have a bag shaped like one of those pockets…

  5. I also can’t wait to see what you come up with. I love the pattern of ferns, and always enjoyed ferns in the forest. They are so ancient, originating a long time ago. Any fern pattern would turn out to be really interesting and beautiful to make.

  6. Lovely inspiration. I look forward to seeing your design. I love how local ferns grow in circular patterns on the forest floor above the St. Croix River. I took a series of photos a few years ago of the beautiful ferns. Mmmm, I am excited to see your new design!

  7. Have just spent the afternoon sketching in the Galloway hills at the Cairnsmore Nature Reserve, and the ferns and bracken are amazing. Look forward to seeing what you come up with. Second tea Jenny hat nearly finished

  8. How exciting! Fern textures lend themselves beautifully to knitting, but the color palettes are interesting too. I wouldn’t mind trying on that Gucci dress, either.

  9. Now you really have me wondering just what you’re working on this time! Something in a beautiful shade of green perhaps? (ohplease ohplease ohplease!)

  10. The house opposite ours (c.1900) was intended to have a “Fernarium” built on the side at the first floor, alas never built. Looks fascinating, I love the Ward cases (sounds like a detective novel). Happy knitting.
    They are also an important symbol of New Zealand (where my mum’s from).

  11. Fascinating…and I’ve learned a new word! And I think that I go through a similar (though much less-art-filled and erudite) process when I try to interpret something in knitting. I just made a hooded octopus capelet for Halloween, and inadvertently learned a lot about octopus anatomy and added to my vocabulary along the way! For instance, did you know that “a cecaelia [sea witch] is a creature with the upper body of a human or elf, and the lower torso of a squid or octopus?”

  12. And…I love ferns too, and am looking forward to the results of your research!

  13. Ferns always make me think of 1970s wallpaper. Cool to see there was a mania for them in previous decades.

  14. Loved seeing how you are inspired in your design, and am looking forward to the seeing the result. As a gardner I love ferns, they appear so delicate and yet can be real survivors in all kinds of weather. A combination of two of my favourite things knitting and gardening can only be a good thing.

  15. as my last name is Fearn, i’ve had a long-standing affection for ferns. i am so, so excited to learn that, not only is there are term for “fern frenzy”, but that ferns are inspiring your next design. i am simply going to have to forget that you are doing this, as to live with the excitement will make the wait interminable!
    i hope you are feeling well and enjoying yourself!

  16. Pingback: Catching a healthy dose of Pteridomania in Canada | Writer In The Garden

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