Knitting has been around a long time. A long, long time. It was one of the first ways people worked with natural fibres, and needles and other knitting implements have been found in ancient tombs all over the world.
The craft itself probably evolved from the making of fishing nets, and the origin of the word comes from a variety of k-n-sounding words and most poignantly in this example, from the Old English word for ‘knot’. It was first used as a verb prior to the 12th century and as a noun only in the 15th century.
Some of the first knits ever found were blue and white socks in Egypt, and silk knitted cushion covers in Spain in 1275. These were very ornate and since they were so advanced and detailed, they clearly weren’t the first things knitted and the craft had been around for a while.
The advantages of knitting? Knitting is comparatively cheap (haha not anymore) portable, easy to diversify, and you can do it in the dark. Some of knitting’s origins are other ways of working with natural fibres: naalbending and sprang (1100 BCE). Crochet originated in about 1800 and was an evolution of an embroidery technique.
Did you know about Shetland’s lace – so fine you could pass an entire blanket through a wedding ring?
Or the Yorkshire Dales, famous for their knitting style of walking while they knit?
All of this I learnt from a really cool podcast on the history of knitting by the ‘Stuff You Missed in History Class‘ team. It’s really nice digging into an interesting podcast on the long drive to work (I subscribe on my iPod and just plug it into my aux port in my car), and with winter around the corner my knitting has definitely picked up speed .
I love learning about knitting and this podcast is simply packed with interesting tidbits you can casually drop at your next bitch ‘n stitch.
>> DOWNLOAD OR LISTEN TO IT HERE <<