The internet continues to be an amazing resource for knitters around the world. We can look up a pattern on Ravelry, find information on yarn when we've lost the ball band, and download a new lace chart instantly. There are plenty of videos, blogs, and other helpful sites when we get stuck on a technique. And there are even reference libraries!
Winchester School of Art has made .pdf files available of various nineteenth and early-twentieth century knitting publications from the collection of Richard Rutt, author of A History of Hand Knitting. Apparently, Montse Stanley's knitting collections are also housed nearby, making the University of Southampton a prime location for conducting knitting scholarship. If you have a few moments, indulge your curiosity by following this link to more than five dozen free downloads of old time pattern books.