H I S TO RY The history of knitting is quite a mystery, guessed at from fragments kept inmuseums around the world. Knitting is a process using wool, silk, and otherfibres that decay rapidly, even under perfect conditions therefore making itextremely hard to date it accurately. There are many sites and books on the history of knitting, many of themrefer to knitting as a fairly knew craft. On carrying out my research I have foundothers to contradict this theory.
THEORIES There is the idea that knitting may be Many textile historians commonly trace connected to the ancient skill of hand-knitting back to Dura Europos in knotting fishing nets. The similarity in the Middle East around 200 AD. spelling is tempting enough. The Around 600 AD it is said to have historical view is that knitting was travelled with the wool trade to introduced by Arabian seafarers sailing Europe, where it was quickly adopted and trading in the Middle East and the and spread to the colonized world. Mediterranean. This would tie in well with the next theory on how knitting travelled throughout the world.
THE OLD WAY How to make a fishing net (Doing the knot)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =unc2m4s_6Z8
THEORIES One view, expressed by The Columbia It has also been thought that the Encyclopaedia says that knitting was Spanish spread hand-knitting to areas unknown in Europe before the 15th, but of Central and South America, knitted throughout the world, including items in these regions have been Europe, archaeologists have unearthed discovered dating to around 1100 ―knitted‖ articles from various cultures BC, which far predates the arrival of in ancient times that don‘t match the Spanish, and the articles found in cleanly with this timeline. the Middle East and Egypt. Also, knitted items from these areas have had native patterns and colours of their ancient traditions
HISTORY OF SPINNING AND KNITTING TEXTILE TIMELINE FOR ANCIENT HISTORY Very interesting timeline found at The New World Encyclopaedia site: c. 8000 B.C.E. – Evidence of flax cultivation in the Near East. c. 6500 B.C.E. – Approximate date of Naalebinding examples found in Nehal Hemar cave, Israel. Thistechnique, which uses short separate lengths of thread, predated the invention of spinning (with its continuous lengths ofthread) and requires that all of the as-yet unused thread be pulled through the loop in the sewn material. This requiresmuch greater skill than knitting in order to create a fine product. c. 6000 B.C.E. – Evidence of woven textiles used to wrap the dead at Çatalhöyük in Anatolia. c. 5000 B.C.E. – Production of linen cloth in Ancient Egypt, along with other bast fibers includingrush, reed, palm, and papyrus. 4200 B.C.E. – Date of Mesolithic examples of Naalebinding found in Denmark, marking spread of technology toNorthern Europe. c. 3000 B.C.E. – Breeding of domesticated sheep with a wooly fleece rather than hair in the Near East. 200 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. – Approximate date of earliest evidence of ―Needle Knitting‖ in Peru, a form of Naalebindingthat preceded local contact with the Spanish.
E A R LY E X A M P L E S ? British Victoria and Albert Museum. Claim these are the oldest knitted article in their collection and date to Coptic Egypt in the 3rd to 5th c. AD but many historians claim they are not ―true‖ knitting but are made by a craft called nalbinding which is often talked about as the predecessor to knitting and crochet. Often mentioned as Viking knitting it was in fact also a technique also used by the Romans. They look very much like crossed-stitch or twisted-stitch knitting
FIRST TRUE EXAMPLE The oldest example of socks I found were Coptic socks from Egypt, dating to around the year 1000 CE. Many of them have blessings knitted into them in decorative Arabic script or symbols to ward off evil.
S U M M A RY I N B R I E F From the Elizabethan period in Britain, knitting history is easier to determine. The development of knitting was driven by the fashion of the time. As we approached more modern times with the industrial revolution and the two world wars, the history of knitting, particularly in Britain, is better documented.
A N D T H E N T H E R E WA S W O O L
IN THE BEGINNING The story of wool began before recordedhistory when primitive man first clothed himself inthe woolly skins, of the wild sheep he killed for food. Man soon realized that to kill sheep for its meatalone was a waste of food and material. And oncehe became a shepherd with the help of his friend thedog (probably the only animal to be domesticatedbefore the sheep) he soon devised a method ofproducing clothing from the fleece. The art of spinning wool into yarn developedabout 4000 B.C. and encouraged trade among thenations in the region of the Mediterranean Sea.
S P I N N I N G I N TO T H E REVOLUTION After the art of spinning was developed the loom was invented for weaving spun wool. Over time both of these systems were improved upon and used for thousands of years. The growth or the British wool industry fluctuated from around 55BC until the industrial revolution in the 18th century, due to multiple invasions and political strife.
M A C H I N E RY W I N S T H E D AY The older industries in such areas as EastAnglia, where opposition had been mostbitter, declined and never recovered. They were overtaken by Yorkshire wheremachinery was more readily accepted. Theyounger industry jumped ahead and never lostits lead. Other important manufacturing centresdeveloped in Scotland, famed for its tweeds;and in the West Country which specialized inproduction of high quality woven carpets.These are the industrys we recognise today.
OOR WOOLIE, YOUR W O O L I E , A‘ B O D Y ‘ S W O O L I E SHEARING: Once a year, usually in the warmer months, sheep aregathered for shearing. A professionally trained shearer is able to shear onesheep in less than two minutes - 250 sheep in one day. GRADING: Assessing, by eye and touch, each individual fleece andplacing into groups of the same type and quality, ready for sale by auction. AUCTION: The Wool Board holds regular auctions throughout the year atits Bradford headquarters. The wool is sold electronically and bidding is inpence and half pence per kilo. SCOURING: Washing the wool to remove the grease and dirt.
C A N I H AV E O N E ? ORIGINS: The Cheviot Sheep Society wasCheviot founded in 1890 but it is reported there have been small, hardy white sheep running in the Cheviot Hills in the Scottish Borders since records began. CHARACTERISTICS: A white-faced hill sheep, with a distinctive ‗ruff‘ behind the ears and crisp, white, lustrous wool. The rams can have horns. LOCATION: Cheviot Hills, Southern Scotland, Northumberland, Northern England and South Wales. MAIN USES: Carpets, tweed cloth, knitwear, blankets.
WHY NOT? ORIGINS: Takes its name from the Romney RomneyMarsh area of South East England, where this breedhas been kept since the 13th century. CHARACTERISTICS: A hardy, large-framedlowland sheep, well adapted to tight grazing andbleak conditions. It has a broad white face and awoolly ‗top knot‘ and heavy white fleece whichcontains some lustre. LOCATION: Mostly in South East England. MAIN USES: Versatile because of itscharacteristics and used in knitwear, blankets andcarpets, depending on its fineness.
TO O L S O F T H E T R A D E Straight needles: are generally used for flat knitting — knitting on the right side, and then turning and knitting on the wrong side. Circular needles: are simply a pair of straight knitting needle tips joined by a flexible cable. You can use a circular needle to knit in the round — knitting in a continuous, spiral-like fashion without turning your work. Double-pointed needles: have a point at each end and are sold in sets of four or five needles. They work the same way as a circular needle — in rounds.