Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Good Morning to you,

Do you remember, in October, I shared with you some of the contents of this Knitting Book.

This book belonged to Pansy Greenacre who had received  it as a Christmas present in 1938.  If you missed the first part of the post, you will be able to find it here

Behind the plain exterior of this book, you will find,  the most fascinating information about the history of knitting.

At the beginning of the book Mary writes,

"If all the looms in the world
ceased to produce cloth,
and the art of spinning and knitting alone remained,
we could be clothed,
both warmly and fashionably."

By courtesy of Mrs M. Herrman-Tragy
The photo above shows a collection of 18th century, Circular Knitting Frames,  made of ivory and wood.  The tubular knitting which you can see at the bottom of the photo, has been made using  silk.
This is an interesting collection of luxury, 18th century knitting frames.  There are five different shapes, the larger circular model being 3" in height, and made of ivory, mounted on horn. This has 54 pegs. The smaller is made of wood and contains 44 pegs. The three smallest frames, are long which makes them easier to hold. The largest, is made of wood and has 8 pegs; the next, also wood, has 5 steel pegs, while the smallest, with 4 pegs is cut out of horn. Each frame is open both ends so that the increasing knitting can fall through.  The larger frames would be used for stocking making. Can you see the long knitted silk cord, this  was worked on the 8 peg frame and dates from 1804.  In medieval days the soft woollen or flax girdles worn by  monks were also knitted upon frames of this type.

Goodness me, when I first saw this picture, the memories came flooding back. Do you remember Cotton Reel Knitting, or as we called it French Knitting.  I remember learning this form of knitting from Phyllis and I couldn't get enough of it.  I was about 8 or 9 years of age, when I received a sewing box for Christmas. Inside  held small balls of pretty coloured wool, a crochet hook and a wooden object that looked like a wooden peg which had 4 small nails protruding from the top. Later I learnt the wooden peg was known as a French Knitting Doll.  Before the excitement could begin, I had to learn.... this did not take very long as I was so eager, especially when I had seen the small book of instructions which showed the long coils I could produce.  The wool was in my hand  and with the aid of a crochet hook,  I was off and running.
Both Natasha and Danielle are very creative women.  I remember when they were little girls, I made them knitting dolls  from empty wooden sewing spools. I added the tiny tacks to the top and both the girls had great fun with this form of knitting.

I have a friend who knits Fair Isle jumpers and it is fascinating watching her, as it takes so much concentration. Traditional Fair Isle designs rarely contain more than two different colours in any one line of knitting, both being usually varied in the next line or round, but designs from Europe often carry three or four different colours in any one line. 
Fair Isle knitting was very popular when I was a child.  I remember Gramps often wore Fair Isle jumpers which Ivy had knitted for him.

Brocade Knitting
This is the most beautiful piece of  17th century knitting. This sleeved waistcoat is Italian and has been  knitted in silk and gold threads.
This is a 17th century example of Brocade knitting.  A change of fabric, with a change of colour and introducing a purl stitch created the high relief pattern.
This was knitting in the grand manner. High born males of this period, wore their waistcoats and capes, knitted in silk and metal threads and patterned in the most marvellous and intricate floral designs.

This fragment is an example of colour knitting from the 7th to 9th centuries. Mary writes, "This is as astonishing in technique as it is beautiful in design. This piece was found in Egypt at Fostat (an ancient city on the site of Cairo) and the fabric which was used is silk, with 36 stitches to the inch. The pattern being in a deep red maroon on a ground of gold silk and is knitted in crossed stocking stitch."
What a treat this would be if I could have shown you this piece of work in colour, but alas the photos are black and white, but look at the piece, close your eyes and imagine the colours of deep maroon on a background of gold silk. Just beautiful.
....and finally, I thought I would show you some more of the illustrations, which are peppered throughout the book. These humorous caricatures were drawn by Miss Margaret Agutter.

Winding wool
I hope the sheep didn't mind!

This illustration is fun,
I can certainly identify with this!

Too Tight!
When I first married, I remember I washed one
of George's jumpers which shrunk.
He looked like this. 
I had not realised that jumpers were washed at a lower temperature!

I don't think he had much hope of growing
 as tall as a hollyhock!

This week I will be joining,

I will see you later in the week, until then, take care.


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