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  1. History of Knitting - A Resource Demystifying the Origins of Knitting
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  4. History of knitting - Wikipedia

Knitting is first used to make socks and stockings. The earliest forms of knitting were found in Egypt from 3rd — 5th Century and the technique is found to have begun in ancient times in the Middle East. The skill travels to Europe through the woollen trade routes over time and through nomadic travellers from around the 5th Century.

Knitting is a skill found in Peru from the 3rd Century onwards. In Europe, Arabic knitters are employed by royalty. There is no known origin of knitting in China or India before Europe influenced those cultures in recent centuries. Perhaps this is due to already-established textile industries in silk and woven materials. Across Europe regional variations of knitting styles are established. In Germany and Austria they form knots and cables; in the Netherlands it is a reverse stocking stitch.

The Guild of Knitters has been active in Paris since as far back as Knitted everyday items are domestically-produced in Europe from the 14th Century onwards. Knitting becomes popular in Scandinavia and Britain to make warm, weatherproof jumpers for fishermen and seafarers. The patterns and colours are particular to a family or location to help identify bodies in sea disasters.

Fishermen can knit their own jumpers as they have the skills needed to mend nets. It is only more recent history that has cultivated the image of knitting as a feminine activity. Knitting machines are used as early as the 16th Century and produced right up until the 19th Century to make a fine lace-like knit long before industrialisation. Undergarments and accessories are produced for nobility and royalty only. Before the Industrial Revolution, machine-knitting was considered classy and hand knitting domestic and amateur. It is completely the opposite of how we view those two today.

In the Rev William Lee of Nottinghamshire, England, builds one of the first hand looms for knitting hosiery. This area of England grows in reputation for production of fine knitting and lacing. William Lee then introduces the stocking frame to Rouen, France. The French go on to invent a circular knitting machine that knits tubular stocking shapes. In 16th Century Britain, finely-knitted stockings are exported across Europe.

Knitting schools are set up to help the poor to earn a living from knitting. Most knitters are men. Those living in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland earn money from knitting. This grew from a domestic necessity to have effective protection from the weather. Some pattern techniques find their modern origins in Scotland eg Fair Isle patterns, Argyle pattern. However the patterns have influences from the Middle East. In Shetland, the soft wool of the local sheep is perfect for knitting, boosting a local industry that still exists today.

Shetlanders also exported fine-quality stockings to the merchants of Europe. The snowflakes patterns on many Scandinavian and Scottish designs and those of Northern Europe can be traced back to similar designs from the Moorish and the Middle East travellers. The designs were adapted to suit local sensibility and create a domestic market. In the midth Century the hosiery industry blossoms. Stockings are produced on knitting frames in the UK and exported to Europe and beyond. Woollen manufacturers are based in the Borders of Scotland and Nottinghamshire in England.

The fashion for knitwear soon expands to other items such as accessories: hats, shawls, gloves, bags, bedclothes, although stockings remain the most popular until the 20th Century. In the first circular knitting loom is built in England. This allows for the making of commercial stretchy tubular seamless fabric — ideal for undergarments. Fashion magazines grow in popularity across Europe, promoting new designs for knitwear.

All this to be consumed by the rising middle-classes or to be made at home by women. Women start knitting their own baby clothes and petticoats too. The first knitting magazine is published in England and the idea grows across Europe throughout the century. In the mids there are stocking frames operating in the Scottish Borders. By the late 19th Century there are over woollen mills in Scotland. There are also finer raw materials available by this time, such as imported cashmere. He is the inventor of jersey-knit which was inspired by the jumper worn by Jersey fishermen.

Knitted wool underwear is marketed as therapeutic and hygienic. This creates a fashion for wool undergarments which, in time, encourages the use of knitted wool for sportswear. In the early 20th Century, the commercial production of knitwear grows from underwear to fashionable outerwear.

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History of Knitting - A Resource Demystifying the Origins of Knitting

Casual sportswear becomes increasingly popular along with an interest in exercise, outdoor activities and fitness. People spend leisure time outdoors and become more interested in skating, tennis, cycling, riding, hillwalking, skiing, swimming, golf etc. The list is endless. Knitted woollen garments and jersey or silk knitwear become the popular choice for a new fashion.

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The casual sporting fashion includes sweaters, pullovers, vests, swimming costumes. The sweater is considered a healthy garment in that it encourages you to sweat and so prevents colds. These garments are simple in style and shape with little or no embellishment. People soon get used to the idea of sporting fashion as unfussy, modern and hygienic. Knitting groups ensure that women are able to contribute to the war effort by knitting garments for the troops on the frontline balaclavas, tanktops. These knitwear donations get the soldiers through harsh winters in the trenches.


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Jersey knitwear: cotton jersey is still used for sportswear today. It is first used for swimwear and then developed for underwear. In Chanel launches jersey dresses and sailor cardis and jumpers. Her pioneering use of jersey in fashion brings knitwear into the modern era for women. Originally raglan referred to the overcoat; it now can also refer to the style of sleeve "a sweater with raglan sleeves" or a garment that has raglan sleeves "a raglan cardigan".

Raglan was first used in print in The Crimean War was an unusually fertile breeding ground for new fashions, which were a response to the cold weather encountered by the British troops. The village of Balaclava , the site of a battle where Cardigan's Charge of the Light Brigade happened, was also taken as the namesake of a knitted hoodlike cap for the head and neck. Raglan sleeves don't just alter the sleeves of a sweater but the yoke as well.

The word yoke refers to the fitted or shaped piece at the shoulders of a garment. Some traditional sweater designs feature interesting stitches or colorwork at the yoke, particularly Icelandic lopi sweaters and the famous Bohus sweaters of Sweden. This particular meaning of the noun yoke is comparatively recent—it dates back to the s. It is an extension of a much earlier meaning of yoke that refers to the wooden frame used to link two working animals such as oxen or horses together.

The frames are put around the animals' necks and shoulders, and the yoked animals are then hooked up to a plow, sled, or other implement. The word yoke is over 1, years old. Different areas of the world are known for different knitting styles and techniques, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the British Isles.


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Specific styles of knitting or specific types of knitwear have become associated with different islands, and Fair Isle is one of them. The word refers to a style of knitting that is usually multicolored and which features motifs made up of repeating geometric patterns. The name comes from Fair Isle, the southernmost and most isolated of the Shetland Islands, which became associated with the colorful and intricate patterns. Our earliest use of Fair Isle to refer to the knitting goes back to , where it was used in a catalog describing the "works of industry of all nations" for the Great Exhibition of Though knitters associate Fair Isle with handwork, the Great Exhibition of was the first devoted specifically to manufactured products from all over the world.

Though all knitting is created using only two stitches—knit and purl—there are hundreds of techniques for manipulating those stitches into new patterns and designs. One such technique is called intarsia. In knitting, it refers to a technique for knitting a large multicolored design that uses different balls of yarn for each of the large areas. In other techniques, such as Fair Isle, the contrasting color is held behind the work and stranded across the back. In intarsia, the edges of the contrasting color are woven together with the edges of the main color so that there's no stranding across the back of the piece.

If you turn an intarsia sweater inside out, you'll see a mirror image of the pattern that appears on the outside of the sweater. The knitting technique takes its name from a woodworking technique that originated in Italy. Intarsia originally referred to a wooden mosaic made of different woods that are fitted together inside a frame.

The word is only a few hundred years old—our first written evidence for the English word is from The word wasn't applied to the knitting technique until the mids. Nowadays, knitters associate ravel with the social networking site for knitters, crocheters, spinners, and weavers, Ravelry. The site has knit together pun intended fiber artists all over the world, and this makes some sense: the verb ravel can mean "to knit together.

Ravel is a contronym or Janus word : a word with meanings that contradict each other. When ravel came into English in the s, it was used to refer to making something entangled or involved. Our first citation for this word talks of "hurt horses raveled," or confused. Within a hundred years, it went from metaphorical use to literal use and was used of yarn or thread that unspooled and became tangled " What do you do when your yarn ravels? Support Provided By: Learn more. Read Sep 29 How the Tylenol murders of changed the way we consume medication. Watch Jul 04 Arthur Brooks on why we hate our political enemies — and how to stop.

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History of knitting - Wikipedia

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