Friday, 9 January 2009

Some amazing books

I was lucky enough to get a few amazing books for Christmas, which I'd like to tell you about here.

A history of hand knitting by Richard Rutt (listed on Amazon for £80 or so, my DH got it from Wingham Wool Work for £26). This is, quite simply, an absolutely amazing book. It is so well written and researched. I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about the history of knitting in the UK. I was struck by how people used to fit knitting into their daily lives and around other chores, just to make ends meet. We're so blessed that we no longer need to knit to earn our daily bread.

Following on from that book, The Old Handknitters of the Dales by Joan Ingliby and Marie Hartley is a very interesting read too. I still cannot fathom how the knitters used hooked needles and only one hand... The only thing missing from this book is a map of the area.

If you're interested in knitting history in the UK, here are some links which may be of interest and provide you with some interesting days out this year:

The Fashion Museum, Bath

The V and A, London

Knitted Together

Knitting Together All about the East Midlands Knitting Industry

Scottish Knitting History from NMS You have to pay a subscription to view the images/packs, but it's well worth it if you're researching this...

FURTHER READING: The History of Knitting - Knitting History, website of the Knitting History Forum

1 comment:

Julie said...

Using a hooked needle and only one hand? Could it be they were doing some form or ancestor of Tunisian crochet?

I had a fantastic book the Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet for christmas and at the back, the author gives a history of this hybrid craft which is a cross between crochet and knitting.

There isn't much to go on in the way of records, but she speculated that it grew out of knitting rather than crochet. She suggested that it initially may have come out of experiments to use a broken spindle (shaft and no whorl) as a knitting needle and was further developed to keep one hand free for other tasks. Her romantic vision of shepherds in the highlands aside, it sounded feasible I guess.

Fascinating stuff. :)