The History Of Knitting

Knitting has changed dramatically through history, today the technique is practised differently everywhere you go.

  • The popularity of knitting boomed in America during the Second World War, as this is the way that women helped the war effort.
  • Probably the biggest surprise is that men used to knit; in fact they were the inventors of the craft. At first the majority of knitters were men, it is thought that the skill came from the men that used to make fishing nets.
  • The early samples of knitting are not as we would recognise it today; due to there being no need for a loom or any other large equipment it was a useful skill for nomadic people, who don’t settle in any one place for very long so large equipment would have been impractical.
  • The oldest relic that has the appearance of knit work is a type of sock.
  • It is believed that the first items to be produced using a technique similar to modern day knitting were socks and stockings.
  • The earliest evidence of knitting as we know it originates somewhere in the Middle East and later on spread to Europe using the trade routes. These first examples of knitting were found in Egypt and were items including coloured wool stockings.
  • The first examples of knitting in Europe were knitted by Muslims that were employed by the Spanish Royal family.
  • Tax lists and archaeological discoveries date the everyday distribution of knitted goods to European cities from 14th century.
  • One of the only fully surviving archaeological finds is a child’s wool cap from the 14th or 15th century, found in Lubeck.
  • The Industrial Revolution saw the introduction of wool spinning in factories, women were employed to operate the machinery, rather than knitting at home. The result of the mass production of was a better quality product.
  • During the Second World War wool was not widely available; a booklet produced by the government called ‘Make Do and Mend’ was distributed. The booklet encouraged those at home to unpick old woollen clothing items and reuse the wool to make items such as gloves for the soldiers in the winter.
  • The 1980s saw a sharp decrease in the popularity of knitting. It was seen as old fashioned and children were no longer being taught to knit in school.
  • Another reason for the decline in popularity was the fact that it was often cheaper to buy wool items than to buy the materials and make them.
  • The 21st century has once again seen a surge in the popularity of knitting. Celebrities have helped with this increase with the likes of Dakota Fanning, Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts admitting their love for the woollen craft.

This blog post was written by James Allen. If you’re looking to buy clothes online, are leading sellers in hand knitted clothes.