HNW - early knitting

Deborah Pulliam pulliam at
Tue May 11 17:37:05 PDT 1999

<<weaving a spare thread in where the heel will be, then =
going back after the sock is finished and "picking up" this section to =
knit what appears to be a bag for the heel.  Has anyone done this type =
of turned heel?>>

I do this kind of heel all the time, in fact, it's my favorite type, as it
fits and wears well. That being said, it is not appropriate for any early
(pre-1800) knitting from Northern Europe or North America.

<<The Thomas book also mentioned actually cutting the knitting and =
turning it under in a hem to open up necklines, etc.  This is a =
sacrilege! >>]

It may be a sacrilege to you, but it's a common way to make a cardigan. The
knitted cotton jackets of the 18c (English; made in baby sizes as well as
adult) are all done this way. Most of the adult ones have a length of
cotton tabby tape stitched over the raw edges. Most of the baby ones simply
have the edges turned back and stitched down. Scandinavian cardigans were
always done this way as well (still are.)

Most early knitting was done in the round, before anyone had even figured
out how to purl back, and most knitters find it goes much faster to knit
around and around, instead of knitting forward and purling back and then
sewing pieces together.

<< Does anyone know of a straight needle  knitted garmet from the middle ages?>>
The earliest known complete pieces of knitting are probably the silk
cushions in Spain, 13 c. They're knitted in the round, as is the (probably)
13c Arabic stocking. Most other pieces from that early are archaeological
fragments, and so it's impossible to tell how they were made.  The earliest
pieces in the Museum of London, all of which date to the 15c, are all
circular knitting.

The earliest flat knitting I can think of are the silk and gilt jackets,
which are *tentatively* dated 17c (but nothing is known of their
manufacture). They're fairly crudely knitted, in rectangles, and
sewn/knitted to fit in the finishing.


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