HNW - stranded round knitting

Dick Eney dickeney at
Thu Oct 16 00:08:12 PDT 1997

Something that has been bothering me.  According to reliable reports (and
the National Textile Museum), the natives of the Andes (especially Peru
and Bolivia) knit their marvelous, many colored hats in the round, on fine
wires often made from bicycle spokes; they do so with the purl side out,
so they are actually purling the entire time, not using a knit stitch
ever, and they twine the strands of the different colors together on the
purl side (which is outside) so as to eliminate long loose stranding.

Richart Rutt is of the opinion that the pillows in the Spanish cemetery
had to have been knitted flat because they use stranded colors (though
Turnau says they have not been scientifically investigated so nobody knows
exactly how the colors were stranded along the back).  But the natives of
the Andes routinely knit with stranded colors in stitch counts just as
fine, in the round.  What possible difference is there that could "prove"
that stranded knitting had to be done in the flat? 

On the other hand, Rutt says that purl stitches were unknown before the
16th century.  But the pillows are stockinette.  If the pillows were
knitted flat, somebody had to have known how to do a purl stitch in the
13th century.  It seems to me that he is contradicting himself.  Either
the pillows were knitted in the round, or purl stitches were known and
used in the 13th century. 

Since the 11th century Egyptian stockings in the Textile Museum were
round knitted with a heel that requires going back and forth with purl
stitches, I favor the explanation that purl stitches were in use in the
13th century.


=Tamar (sharing computer dickeney at


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