HNW - knitted evidence, h-needlework V1 #116

Dick Eney dickeney at
Wed Sep 9 21:01:17 PDT 1998

On Tue, 8 Sep 1998, Carl and/or Anne Adamczyk wrote:

> Greetings Tamar!
> For those of us who are knitting history challenged, would you please
> give the entire citation for your reference to Turnau.  I have only
> recently revived my interest in knitting and would like to do further
> research.   I already have the info on Rutt.

Greetings, Grania

Most of the information I took from this:
Irene Turnau, _History of Knitting Before Mass Production_, copyright
1988, published by the Institute of the History of Material Culture,
Polish Academy of Sciences.  ISBN 83-900213-2-3

It is the English translation and enlargement of her earlier work in
Polish.  It is not at all easy to find; my copy is a photocopy of
a photocopy.  The Library of Congress has the Polish edition but their
copy of the translation was either stolen or lost as soon as they got it.

She also wrote an article or two for the Bulletin of the Needle and Bobbin

The book is poorly translated and has some unfortunately typos, e.g., in
one place it says a particular guild required the production of "a
sailor's cape" - now, a sailor's cap was a standard item of manufacture,
and a sailor's cape is something I haven't heard of elsewhere (but there's
precious little reference to the long sailor's stockings worn in the 19th
century, too - you hear about the sweaters but not about the stockings).
Anyway, if it really is "cape" that's fascinating, if it's "cap" it's of
mild interest, to me.  The book is organized in a way that makes it very
hard to use for strictly chronological research, and there is no index; in
fact, I typed up a sort of rough index of dated items for my own use.

Nevertheless, if you can find it, it's a good counterpoint to Rutt, as she
disagrees with him and she has sources he cannot access. (Rutt complains
at one point that a report is 'dubious because it hasn't been published in
English so it can't be checked'!)  She does know the difference between
knitting and nalbinding, and crocheting, and when she could examine
objects herself she did.  Again, the translator gets in the way, as does
the typesetter.  She has examined several pairs of Coptic socks and says
that one pair is nalbinding, another is knitted in her opinion (but in the
Needle and Bobbin article, which one is which is reversed! translator at

I can get my photocopy photocopied if you want one, but several pages are
missing a top line.  The pile of pages comes to about 1 1/2 inches thick.


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