Do you know the early origins of knitting?
Knitting became a valuable way to make garments for the nomadic people. With them always traveling it didn’t require taking along heavy equipment like a loom.
In the 11th CE in Egypt they found the oldest knitted articles. They are socks made from a very fine gauge of yarn. Made with a short heel row, it was necessary to use the purl stitch. Colorful yarns were also used. Because of the complexity of the knitting people could have been knitting even further back in time.
This was fascinating to me. I had no idea that knitting started that long ago.
The historians believe knitting originated in the Middle East. Using the trade routes, the craft was shared in Europe and then across the ocean to the Americas.
I found this in Wikipedia:
Early European knitting
The earliest known knitted items in Europe were made by Muslim knitters employed by Spanish Christian royal families. Their high level of knitting skill can be seen in several items found in the tombs in the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas, a royal monastery, near Burgos, Spain. Among them are the knitted cushion covers and gloves found in the tomb of Prince Fernando de la Cerda, who died in 1275. The silk cushion cover was knit at approximately 20 stitches per inch. It included knit patterns reflecting the family armory, as well as the Arabic word baraka (“blessings”) in stylized Kufic script. Numerous other knit garments and accessories, also dating from the mid-13th century, have been found in cathedral treasuries in Spain.
There is a painting portraying the Virgin Mary knitting: Madonna Knitting, by Bertram of Minden 1400-1410
The English Queen Elizabeth I wore silk stockings. They were more decorative, felt softer, and were a finer stocking than those made of wool.
Many Britons knitted with a fine wool and exported them to the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain. Knitting schools came into existence and this became a form of income for the poor people in the area.
In Ireland they developed the Aran sweaters, which used the cable stitch. These were made in the early 20th century.
In Scottish history the shepherds could be found watching their flocks and knitting to help pass the time. In the 17th and 18th centuries Fair Isle techniques were created. They made beautiful colorful patterns.
The fishermen in the islands wore these sweaters during the bad weather to keep them warm. The natural oils in the wool provided a protective barrier against the bitter cold winds while they were out fishing.
Learning all of this history of knitting was fun. I look forward to more research and of different types and styles of knitting.
What are your questions or comments?