Detail of a Gunnister-style seventeenth-century purse knitted by KHF Honorary President Kirstie Buckland, from a kit of silks dyed and prepared by Debbie Bamford

Who we are

Honorary President: Kirstie Buckland
Chair : Professor Sandy Black

Knitting History Forum is an international network for the history of knitting and crochet. KHF advances and promotes the history of knitting through research, exchange of ideas and information and by historical reconstruction. We do this primarily through our annual Knitting History Forum conference: the jewel in Knitting History Forum’s crown. The conferences feature presentations on a wide variety of topics by speakers from a broad range of specialisations, but there are also opportunities to meet and share information.

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, nahlbinding and sprang. KHF is an academic interest network encouraging public interest in the accurate study of the history of knitting and is open to all. You absolutely do not have to be a scholar or specialist to take part in the Knitting History Forum network!

What We Do

We hold an annual Knitting History conference featuring a wide variety of speakers from different fields and specialisations. In recent years these have included (in no particular order) : Edwina Ehrman, Maria Price, Sandy Black, Susan North, Maj Ringgaard, Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Gieneke Arnolli, Lise Warburg, Annemor Sundbø, Kirstie Buckland, Amy Twigger Holroyd, Jane Malcolm-Davies, Cary Karp, Rachael Matthews, Ruth Gilbert, Lynn Abrams, Angharad Thomas, Elizabeth Gibbons, Pragya Sharma, Joyce Meader, Chrystel Brandenburgh, Barbara Smith, Sylvie Odstrčilová, Philip Sykas, Juliana Sissons, Hilary Davidson, Ellie Reed, Lorna Hamilton-Brown, Jade Halbert, Debbie Bamford and Tom van Deijnan, among many others.

KHF also offers 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. The KHF website, Knitting History, has the latest knitting history news and events and you can also sign-up to our email list. We also discuss knitting history and research in our online group.

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 Bäumel, Negley Harte, Lise Warburg, Dominique Cardon, Gale Owen-Crocker, Kirstie Buckland and Montse Stanley.

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.