Textiles: Knitting


What is knitting?

It's process of using two or more needles to form a series of interconnected loops in order to create a fabric.   The word is likely derived from an old Dutch or old English word for knot  

History Links

Knitty magazine
Sheep and Stitch
Victoria and Albert Museum
All Free Knitting
Sustainable Fashion Collective History of the Knitting Needle
  • It's though to have originated in Egypt
  • Done all over the world - each area has patterns and styles they like to use.
  • Oldest pieces found are quite complicated - so it started before the samples we have
  • Stitches

  • knit and purl - reverse of each other if you flip the fabric over
  • Needles

  • 2 (or more) pointy sticks
  • can be pointy on both sides
  • They can be connected
  • They don't have to be round
  • Can be made of: bone, ivory, shell, wood, bamboo, steel, aluminum, casein, plastic/actrylic, glass, etc.
  • Ways to Knit

    Continental (yarn in left hand) vs English (yarn in right)   Norwegian  

    Writing For The Senses

    How are the needles made
  • turned, carved
  • Make your own
  • How Is the Yarn Made?
  • spinning (the twist makes the yarn)
  • many knitting yarns are plied
  • plant fibers (cotton, linen), hair fibers (wool, alpaca, llama), milk fibers, silk, acrylic
  • done with a drop spindle or spinning wheel -
  • Feel and Sight:
  • brush of the yarn on your hand/thumb - is the yarn rough or soft? (depending on the wool it could be very soft)
  • how fine or thick is the yarn? (samples)
  • how long have you been doing the craft in one setting - your hands and wrists hurt and start to cramp up
  • How heavy is what you are working on? socks are light and easy to hold up. Sweaters are often heavy and can be hard to hold up. People sometimes use pillows to support their arms
  • texture of the cloth - there's bumps of the stitches. But you can also create texture - such as cables
  • how fine a yarn you use and how tight you knit affect the drape
  • what is the yarn made of? Cotton - usually thicker and heavier, wool can be super soft (Merino) or scratchy (carpet wools), alpaca (silky, lots of drape), llama is like wool, milk fiber - like silk, linen - cool and has nice sheen
  • Smell:
  • depending on the time period and purpose, you may have lanolin (which is often found in lotion) still in the yarn. It's great for weather proofing.
  • The type of fiber in the yarn can affect it - there is still a yarn spinning factory in finland that processes a wool and dog hair blend - but it was a hugs amount (44 pounds at a time)
  • dyes - one common ingredient in dyes was urine (in modern dyes we use a chemically made Urea) to help the fabric stay wet and concentrate the dye in the vat
  • needles - may have a smell esp. when new. wood fresh carved and sanded smells lovely.
  • Sound:
  • click of the needles - and the needle material will determine the sound
  • the SHHH of the drawing of the yarn from a center pull ball
  • the bump of a yarn ball rolling on the floor or in a container (yarn bowl, box, etc)
  • snip of the scissors cutting the yarn
  • Fiction Books featuring Knitting:
  • Knitting in fiction is quite popular. Especially in mysteries.

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