Did you know ..
One of the earliest examples of true knitting is an intricately patterned cushion found in northern Spain in the tomb of Fernando de la Cerda, who died in 1275. The cushion is covered with heraldic symbols. Arabic letters worked into the pattern suggest that the knitter might have been Muslim, albeit working for a Christian prince.
The first known knitting circles were capknitters’ guilds, established throughout Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. These knitters were considered master craftsmen and making and selling caps required a license. At that time the purl stitch was not yet known.
In the mid 16th century, knitting quickly shifted from a master craft to the incessant drudgery of the poor. Everyone knitted, all the time – while walking, when riding in oxcarts, or by firelight in the evening. Special schools were established to teach knitting to boys and girls as young as five. Even at that age, poor children were expected to contribute to the household income by knitting.
In colonial America early in the 17th century, knitting fit well into the Puritan idea that idleness was an unforgivable sin. Any opportunity to sit down and rest was an opportunity to take up one’s knitting – even shepherds were expected to knit while watching their sheep.
(The above are excerpts from “Knit it Together” by Suzyn Jackson, Voyageur Press 2009)
This book also contains patterns and inspiration for knitting circles and is a very interesting read. Other sections include a chapter on Elizabeth Zimmermann/Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp; a story about a knitted river – around 100,000 squares were sewn together to create a river almost a mile long. This was in London in May 2007 and formed the centre of a peaceful demonstration to bring awareness to water poverty around the world; charity knitters will enjoy the article by Greta Cunningham “The Power of Sheila’s Shawls”; and my favourite, the Pretty Kitty Knitty Committee: Knitting for the Love of Cats.
I don’t have much for my Sunday Year of Project report this week. I did finish the last pair of black Victorian Lace fingerless gloves to complete that order and now only have one more Triana scarf to do for another lady. After that I want to get back to my list. The placemat I showed you last week is still the same – hopefully I can show you the finished item soon.