Posts Tagged ‘Traditions through history’

Unravelling the past: A very brief history of knitting

18 February 2010

By Lisa Marie Griffith

I am not very good at sitting still so when I came down with a bad cold before Christmas I was very grateful to discover a ball of wool and some needles in my house. I had something I could do to escape bad daytime tv. Since then I have made a scarf for almost everyone I know and I am trying to graduate to something more difficult- socks. Trust me- they are difficult! In an attempt to fix some of the hourly problems my pattern has presented I turned to my knitting books and went online. While the problems with my socks still remain, I discovered some interesting things about the history of knitting that I thought I would share with Pue’s readers.

The earliest known knitted socks were discovered in the middle east, archeologists date them to about the thirteenth. While there are undoubtedly male knitters, there has always been a strong association of women and knitting. In the fourteenth century several Italian painters painted the Virgin Mary knitting with four or five needles, possibly knitting socks! By the late sixteenth century it was an established craft throughout Europe .

An extensive cottage industry grew around the practice of knitting and it became an important source of income. But knitting was not just confined to the domestic sphere and it was one way women could become involved in international events. Read more