Refreshments and conversation at the Knitting History Conference in 2007. Photo by Loraine McClean

About

Who We Are

Honorary President : Dr Karen Finch OBE
Chair : Prof Sandy Black

Knitting History Forum is an international society for the history of knitting and crochet. Our members advance and promote the history of knitting through research, exchange of ideas and information and by historical reconstruction.

The popularity of knitting has given rise to misinformation and folklore which has little foundation in fact, while the structure of knitted fabric is often confused with those of other non-woven textile crafts such as crochet, nalbinding and sprang. KHF is an academic interest society encouraging public interest in the accurate study of the history of knitting and is open to all. You do not have to be a scholar or specialist to become a member of KHF.

Knitting History Forum Chair, Prof Sandy Black, introduces speaker Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd, at the 2014 Knitting History Conference
Prof Sandy Black, KHFย Chair, introduces speaker Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd at the 2014 Knitting History Conference

What We Do

We hold an annual Knitting History conference in November featuring a wide variety of speakers from different fields and specialisations. In recent years these have included : Edwina Ehrman, Maria Price, Sandy Black, Susan North, Mai Ringgaard, Lise Warburg, Amy Twigger Holroyd, Philip Sykas, Juliana Sissons, Kirstie Buckland, Jane Malcolm-Davies, Rachael Matthews, Ruth Gilbert, Angharad Thomas, Elizabeth Gibbons, Joyce Meader, Barbara Smith, Hilary Davidson, Debbie Bamford and Tom van Deijnan, among many others. Knitting History Forum Conferences lists previous speakers and their papers.

Detail of a late nineteenth century knitted corset. Collection of Kirstie Buckland. Please do not use image without permission!
Detail of a late nineteenth century knitted corset. Collection of Kirstie Buckland. Please do not use image without permission.

KHF also offers members opportunities to be involved in the society and meet fellow enthusiasts. Our Knitting History conference programmes include informal sessions where participants can network, share research, discuss their latest projects or show other items of interest. We arrange trips, such as visiting museums, private collections or viewing exhibitions. The KHF website, Knitting History, has the latest knitting history news and events. We also discuss knitting history and research in our online group. Why not join us?

KHF History

The Knitting History Forum was originally founded in 1993 as the Early Knitting History Group, with a programme of research and a series of seminars sponsored by the Pasold Foundation, concentrating on knitting before 1600. Speakers and supporters in these early days included eminent historians and textile specialists such as Richard Rutt, Janet Arnold, Karen Finch, Joan Thirsk, Noemi Speiser, Peter Collingwood, Jutta Bรคumel, Negley Harte, Lise Warburg, Dominique Cardon, Gale Owen-Crocker, Kirstie Buckland and Montse Stanley. See Early Knitting History Group Meetings for details of those earlier events.

The Early Knitting History Group later amalgamated with the Medieval Dress and Textile Society (MEDATS). In 2006, with the increasing interest in knitting and all things textile, the EKHG was re-founded as a new society. Now named the Knitting History Forum, our remit is wider in scope, covering not only knitting but also crochet, from their origins to the present day.

Period literature, equipment and historical reconstructions by KHF members and delegates at the Knitting History Conference in 2014 :