Wednesday, 4 April 2012

History Of Knitting

Knitters Travel By Cable Car

Today I watched the ladies in the knitting circle and my mind wandered away and I wondered just how and why knitting began? What on earth persuaded all these intelligent ladies to sit with a spool of yarn and two wooden sticks and try to make intricate socks? What ever possessed them to even ever give it a go?

Via sherrie

I understand that it has been around for centuries in the Middle East and Central Europe ... did some bored lady suddenly have an  'Eureka'  moment when she spied two pointy sticks on the ground and an old bit of yarn tangled in a bush? There are even paintings depicting The Virgin Mary with what looks to all intents and purposes like a lady with knitting needles and knitting wool - perhaps struggling to make a jumper?

The Madonna Knitting
Bertram of Mindon
1400 - 1410

A mystery about the direction of knitting (ie. from right to left) suggests that it may well have begun in the Arabian countries as they write from right to left whereas in European writing (and knitting) it would be more likely to have originated with the work going from left to right. There is also more than a suggestion that it developed from the need to fish and repair fishing nets. Both interesting but as yet unproven.

Via stonefree

I assume that another important feature to knitting was that it was a method of producing cloth and clothing without the need for a large loom - needles could be carried anywhere and were cheap to acquire. Well - whatever the reason it has certainly caught on!

Speculation aside - todays works were just as impressive as ever ...

A lovely baby blanket - four already this year for a new grandchild!
An almost finished scarf with Rico Loopy wool
More complex cable work
Pattern for a lovely slouchy hat
And here it is growing on circular needles

I was amused by this lovely piece
One of a set of squares to be made into a bed cover for a son
This project has been going on for years and years and years and  ...
She could not be persuaded to say for just how many years!
A slightly better photo to show how intricate?
This prolific knitter has a new project each week
This lovely piece is made by a lady who also uses knitting as physiotherapy
The close-up shows just how intricate and lovely it is

So ... Our Motto This Week Is ...


  1. Love the cable car pun, and the Keep Calm, and the knitting is awesome too! I haveto tell you, my girls loved the "you can't buy happiness..." image you used a while back, they have it as their screen savers!!

  2. It's a crazy idea, must have been invented by a man!

  3. I'd still like to know who it was looked at a cow and thought 'hey, lets squeeze those bits dangling down and then consume whatever comes out' ;o)

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  5. "Necessity ... the mother of invention" just popped into my mind. If I had to place a bet, my personal bet is fishing and the repair of fishing nets was responsible for the invention of this fabulous art/skill. Your knitting circle could make some gorgeous fishing nets no doubt! How lucky the new grandchild is to have those beautiful baby blankets. I'm glad I'm not the only one whose mind wanders. I was out to lunch a couple of weeks ago with coworkers from my department (men and women)when my mind wandered, and I found myself analyzing them all from the "Color Me Beautiful" palette ... trying to figure out what season they would be. Glad there were no mind readers (that I know of) in the group. :-)


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