“Wool: Cloth, Clothing and Culture” is the subject of the next MEDATS (Medieval Dress and Textiles Society) conference in April. Many of the papers confirmed for MEDATS this Spring will be of interest to KHF members. The history of wool and the early history of knitting are closely linked, as highlighted by the fact that three of the speakers are Kirstie Buckland, Jane Malcolm-Davies and Lesley O’Connell Edwards, members of Knitting History Forum who presented highly-regarded papers at KHF conferences. All of the MEDATS presentations look fascinating:
âA warm house for the witsâ: The craft, trade or science of capping Kirstie Buckland, Independent scholar âHome or away? Woollens, worsteds and the âindustrious revolutionâ in England John Styles, The University of Hertfordshire Hanging by a thread: Anticipating structural damage in Tudor Tapestries through the study of photo-oxidation in historic wool Nanette Kissi, Independent Scholar Turning wool into silk: How sixteenth century craftspeople created legal luxuries Jane Malcolm-Davies, Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen The âindustryâ of knitting of wool stockings in later 16th century England, especially Norwich Lesley OâConnell Edwards, MSc student in English Local Studies at the University of Oxford The first cowl of St Francis of Assisi and the mantle of Bishop Guido Maria Giorgi, Adjunct Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera and Independent Textiles conservator and Conservation Consultant The St Clare intermediate tunic Tina Anderlini, Independent scholar Distaff spinning: a forgotten aspect of medieval wool textile production Mary A. M. Cleaton, Jane Hunt, Alice R. Evans & Cathelina de Alessandri
“Wool: Cloth, Clothing and Culture” will be held on 6th April 2019 at Saint Stephen’s Church Hall, Knightsbridge, London, from 11:00am to 5:30pm. There is an Early Bird discount for MEDATS members and non-members if booking conference tickets before 31st January 2019. After that date, all tickets except for students will cost ÂŁ45, so remember to book by the end of January.
After a year notable for the extraordinary, in weather and in much else, November has rolled around once more. Knitting History Forum’s unique annual conference and AGM for 2018 was held last Saturday. The day’s proceedings informed, amused and intrigued.
The conference itself was packed with more papers than at any previous KHF event. Six very different but equally eloquent speakers presented. Our Chair Prof Sandy Black opened proceedings, then Annemor SundbĂ¸ opened an apparently unremarkable suitcase to reveal a wonderful selection of knitted garments she had rescued from destruction.
These treasures, ranging from the strictly utilitarian and functional to highly decorative expressions of love, form a record of Norwegian knitting traditions and dress history, many with signs of multiple repairs and multiple lives, such as cardigans and jumpers turned into underwear or swimming costumes.
Celia Pym’s paper followed on directly from this, beginning with a jumper from Annemor’s ‘ragpile’ that Celia had visibly darned in white wool and going on to deeply moving accounts of repair work, including two well-loved jumpers, one belonging to her family GP Bill, and the second to Celia’s great-uncle Roly, which involved adding to her great-aunt Elizabeth’s sturdy and very individual darning.
Rachael Matthews discussed her work as textile artist, writer, teacher and activist with refreshing honesty. Her paper took the form of an humourous but candid alternative to her recent book, expressing knitters’ struggles and low points illustrated by examples from Rachael’s own practice and experience and observing truthfully how knitting can divide as well as unite.
After a short break, the conference resumed with Cary Karp speaking on the use in Great Britain of hooked-tip knitting needles, the distinction from and adoption of crochet hooks and the terminology and structure of the different techniques. His precise and incisive paper, tracing this history through the published work of nineteenth-century knitting writers, was a model of clarity. Jana Trepte’s well-received paper examined the fragments recovered in Bremen of everyday knitted garments of the early seventeenth century and concentrated on one large piece from a knitted wool waistcoat with knitted-in shaping, comparing it to surviving examples of elite waistcoats of silk and wool.
Ellie Reed’s paper presented an evaluation of the target readership of ‘Woman’s Weekly’ in 1958. Her analysis of the social and cultural significance of ‘ordinary’ domestic knitting as presented in the magazine was confirmed and expanded by the memories of several delegates. Both this and the final presentation by Lorna Hamilton-Brown underlined the importance of collecting oral history from living knitters of all backgrounds. Lorna’s paper on black knitters was both revelatory and entertaining, enlivened by a brilliant video, ‘Knitters of the Caribbean’. Securing funding for further, doctoral research is vital. The memories Lorna collected from older generations of black knitters in the Caribbean showed similarities to otherwise very different geographical and cultural knitting traditions, such as knitting needles made from palm leaves, a practice also found in Malaysia, or more expensive metal bicycle spokes, still frequently used in Peru.
Sandy had loosely arranged the conference presentations around a theme of mending and repair. Other themes emerged during the course of the day, such as recovery of unexplored, hidden or unvalued histories of knitters and knitting; of moving beyond limits of tired tropes and preconceptions; of fresh methods and fields of research; of breaking new ground while re-considering and consolidating the old. One point certainly highlighted by all six presentations is that the ingenuity and resourcefulness of knitters, crafters and needleworkers everywhere is unbounded.
The KHF AGM in the morning was hopeful in outlook, with suggestions for future events and new ways for Knitting History Forum to participate in wider discussion and continue to build up networks of knitting history research. The display tables held an eclectic array of knitting-related items, including exquisite nineteenth-century garments and a stunning modern reproduction from the collection of Gieneke Arnolli; modern publications by Annemor SundbĂ¸, Rachael Matthews and Lise Warburg; nineteenth and twentieth-century knitting books brought by Joyce Meader from her extensive collection; new work by Philippa Thomas incorporating real gold, and much more.
Many thanks to all of our fantastic speakers for their papers, our delegates for stimulating discussion and to Sandy Black for arranging another really thought-provoking conference that could be enjoyed by scholars and knitters of all levels of interest. KHF Membership Secretary and Treasurer Tricia Basham deserves special thanks for valiantly joining us straight after a very long Knitting and Crochet Guild board meeting. It was wonderful to see friends old and new and see the results of some exceptional scholarship. Here’s to another excellent year of knitting history networking and research.
News of an event for next year, Fibres in Early Textiles from Prehistory to AD 1600. This biennial conference of the Early Textiles Studies Group will be held at the University of Glasgow, 6th to 7th June 2019. Dedicated to the memory of Karen Finch, Knitting History Forum’s inspirational and much-missed Honorary President, who sadly passed away earlier this year, the conference themes are:
– developments in the identification and analysis of early textile fibres
– contributions to the chronology of fibre use at a local or global level
– fibre procurement and use within specific historical or archaeological contexts
– the qualities of fibres and their contribution to finished textiles
The ETSG have issued a flyer, download here for information. Their Call for Papers invites 15-minute papers and posters and encourages submissions from early-career and experienced researchers : email abstracts to Margarita Gleba email@example.com, by 11 January 2019.
Join Knitting History Forum on Saturday 17th November 2018 for our annual Knitting History Conference!
The 2018 programme varies between seventeenth to twentieth century history of knitting and contemporary practice of knitting and its social history, with a focus on mending and repair. Among the speakers and papers confirmed for this year are:
Annemor SundbĂ¸, textile designer and author on Everyday knitting in Norway – treasures from the ragpile
Celia Pym, textile and knitting artist on The Norwegian Sweater: Darning Damage
Rachael Matthews, knitter, craftivist, artist and author on Knitting effect, wellbeing and health
Cary Karp, independent scholar on Investigating 19th Century âTricot ecossaisâ and âCrochet Ă la Tricoterâ
Jana Trepte, student at Kiel University on Piecing the Bremen waistcoat together: an everyday knitted garment of the early 1600s
Eleanor Reed, PhD graduate in domestic culture on Post austerity consumerism and thrift â 1958 knitting patterns in Womanâs Weekly
Lorna Hamilton-Brown, artist and Royal College of Art MA graduate on Black people donât knit?
Once again our venue is the London College of Fashion, 20 Princes St, just off Oxford Street in central London. The Knitting History conference itself starts from 1.00pm and runs until 6.00pm. The AGM for KHF members runs from 10.30am to 12.00pm and registration starts from 10.00am with time for Show and Tell. Please bring items for discussion during the morningâs Show and Tell. There will be further time for questions and general discussion after all the speakers have delivered their papers.
Dr Jane Malcolm-Davies will present a paper on early knitted caps at The Mary Rose Anniversary Lectures, on Saturday 13th October 2018 at the University of Portsmouth. Other speakers will include Dr Sean Cunningham, Head of Medieval Records at The National Archives; Lauren Mackay, Tudor historian; Dr Dominic Fontana, Historical Geographer and Hayley Simon, a PhD student with the Mary Rose Trust’s cannonball conservation project. Tickets and further information available from the Mary Rose website.
It’s a good month for knitting and crochet history events! Just as the KEME seminar has closed, the final two-day programme is confirmed for In the Loop at 10. The breadth and diversity of presentations at In the Loop is always remarkable and this year’s schedule includes one on British designer knitters of the 1970s and 80s by Knitting History Forum’s Chair, Professor Sandy Black, as well as many others. See the full programme here.
The final programme has been published for the KEME study day in Copenhagen on Saturday 7th July. Subtitled ‘Textile and Fashion in Theory and Practice through 3,000 years’, confirmed speakers and subjects include Maj Ringgaard on Sugar Loaf hats of Copenhagen, Ruth Gilbert on ‘The Great Knitted Waistcoat Conspiracy’, Sandy Black on British designer knitters of the 1970s and 1980s, Chrystel Brandenburgh on seventeenth century silk stockings from the Texel shipwreck, Jane Malcolm-Davies on recording early modern knitwork, Hanna BĂ¤ckstrĂśm on researching early German knitting and crochet manuals using bibliographies, Lesley OâConnell Edwards on reconstructing sixteenth century woollen stockings, a presentation of archaeological knitted fragments from Maersks Hovedsaede, Esplanaden(1690-1770) by SAXO summer school students and discussion of the recent article in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology regarding possible “two-needle knitting” from the early Bronze Age. There will even be time to learn or teach knitting! Definitely worth a visit to beautiful Denmark. Full details of this plentiful programme are available in the notice on the Strickersvej Facebook page https://en-gb.facebook.com/notes/strickersvej-knitters-way/knitting-in-early-modern-europe-seminar-saxo-summer-school/609379576086458/
News just in: a Call For Papers has been issued for In the Loop. Please email submissions of abstracts and other information to Dr Jo Turney at the address below.
In the Loop at 10
Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton
19 â 20 July 2018
Professor Jessica Hemmings
Professor Ingun Grimstad Klepp
Linda Newington, Founder of In the Loop
Call For Papers
The sixth interdisciplinary and international In the Loop conference will be held at Winchester School of Art (WSA), University of Southampton 19-20 July 2018. This year marks the tenth anniversary of In the Loop and to celebrate this WSA will be hosting In the Loop at 10, a special conference which will celebrate the outstanding contribution that the conference, its organisers, and its participants have made to knitting scholarship, while also promoting new research on all aspects of knitting.
One of the major successes of Loop has been the development of a unique archive of knitting-related material at the University of Southampton, housed both in the Knitting Reference Library at WSA, and in the University’s Special Collections. To help mark the significance of this legacy, we will particularly welcome papers this year on the theme of ‘Collections’. We will interpret this theme broadly to include archives, libraries, private collections, company papers, personal documents, and knitwear design collections.
In addition, we are interested in receiving papers on any aspect of knitting, past, present, and future, and we look forward to hosting a conference that will bring together artists, designers, practitioners, knitters, academics, theorists, curators, archivists, and librarians.
Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and include full contact details and affiliation where appropriate. Send to J.A.Turney@soton.ac.uk
Thank you to everyone, KHF members and delegates, for contributing to making our 10th Knitting History conference such a success! Special thanks to our Chair Sandy Black for arranging an excellent programme and venue, and to our Membership Secretary and Treasurer Tricia Basham for all her hard work. It was a wonderful day with outstanding speakers, interesting discussion and good friends, old and new!
The day ended with a champagne reception for everyone to celebrate our achievements so far and look forward to the future. Here’s to the next ten years of Knitting History Forum!
A quick reminder to book your tickets for the Knitting History Conference on Saturday 18th November 2017 at the London College of Fashion. The presentations will cover a variety of subjects on knitting and crochet history, from surviving sixteenth and seventeenth century knitting, to crochet practices and twentieth century knitting yarn, from Huddersfield and London, via Denmark, Sweden and Italy to Egypt. It’s an interesting line-up for KHF’s tenth anniversary year! Further information and tickets available from the Knitting History Forum website. We look forward to seeing you!
Join us on Saturday 18th November 2017 as we celebrate 10 years of the renamed Knitting History Forum and our pioneering annual Knitting History Conference!
Once again the venue is the London College of Fashion, 20 Princes St, just off Oxford Street in central London. The programme for 2017 is full and includes the following speakers:
Maj Ringgaard on The development of stockings 1600-1800: evidence from the Copenhagen excavations
Helena Lundin on Shipwrecked knitting: Fragments from the Swedish Seventeenth Century Flagship Kronan
Lesley O-Connell Edwards on Of stockings and sleeves: insights from some 16th century knitted items in the Museum of London
Matteo Molinari on Crocheting Cultures: traditional Italian crochet practice in private and public spaces in Veneto
Barbara Smith on âWools for the Worldâ – Wakefield Greenwood of Huddersfield and
Ruth Gilbert on A complex knitting technique from Egypt: the evidence and some ideas
There will also be a display of British Wools by Zoe Fletcher
Registration starts from 10.30am and the KHF AGM runs from 11.00am to 12.30pm. The Knitting History Conference starts promptly in the afternoon at 1.45pm and closes at 5.30pm. Lunch is not provided so please bring your own or buy locally. Further details are available in the KHF AGM & Conference programme.
Please bring items for discussion during the morningâs Show and Tell. There will be more time for questions and general discussion from 5.15pm, after all the speakers have delivered their papers.
Knitting History Forum is pleased to announce that Dr Roslyn Chapman will be speaking at the Knitting History Conference on Saturday 19th November 2016, at the London College of Fashion. Her presentation, Cultural Sensitivities: Debunking the myths of Shetland lace, uses case studies to illustrate how traditional narratives of knitting history can be altered in retelling, and that even “detailed provenance cannot always be accepted as fact.”
The final programme of speakers and sessions for the Knitting History Conference , is now confirmed as:
2.00-2.45 Gieneke Arnolli â Curator of Textiles & Fashion, Fries Museum, The Netherlands Typically Frisian lace knitting, between fact and fiction and Curating the Knitting exhibition ‘Breien!’
2.45-3.25 Hanna BĂ¤ckstrĂśm â PhD Candidate in Textile Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden The publication of knitting and crochet patterns in Northern Europe 1790-1870 and Brief remarks on recent knitting history research in Sweden
3.35-4.00 Michelle Hanks â PhD Candidate London College of Fashion The Hand-Knitted Gift: using knitting as a research tool
4.05-4.35 Roslyn Chapman â PhD, University of Glasgow Cultural Sensitivities: Debunking the myths of Shetland lace
4.05-4.35 Discussion: Reflections on knitting in the media â how would we represent the history of knitting?
With Joyce Meader, Jane Malcolm-Davies and Sandy Black, following their contributions to a documentary, The Secret History of Knitting. All contributions are welcome â please follow the link to watch the documentary online before this session [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJiN9GNrDpA].
The Textile Society have sent us notice of their annual conference next month : ‘Textile Futures: Technology, Materials and Preservation’. Saturday 5th November, Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Road, London.
This conference will examine recent advances in textile design, materials and technology, considering emerging ideas and approaches that may change the way we design, make, use and preserve textiles in the future.
Our keynote speaker is Janis Jefferies, Professor of Visual Arts and Research at Goldsmiths, University of London. Janis will be speaking on her research that examines the relationship between culture and technology, including wearable devices as ‘intelligent textiles’. Dr Kate Lloyd from the industry organisation âTextile Intelligenceâ, will be speaking on thermochromics and advances in textile print technology, and Dr Celina Jones from the University of Manchester, will be discussing her research on textile printing and sustainability, looking at low impact techniques, reducing the use of colorants, and new ways of distressing denim. We will also be joined by Anne French, Textile Conservator and Collections Care Manager at the Whitworth Art Gallery, speaking on the challenges of conserving increasingly complex textile materials for the future, and Professor Carole Collet from Central Saint Martins, speaking about her work with the design & living systems lab, biotextiles and the advantages of biological tools for a more sustainable textile future.
We hope you can join us at the Wellcome Trust for a day of thought provoking presentations and discussion on âTextile Futures, Technology, Materials and Preservationâ. The conference begins at 11.15am and finishes at 5.15pm. Lunch and refreshments are included. Booking is via Eventbrite.
Euston is the closest train/underground station to the Wellcome Trust. Just walk from Euston to the main road, cross over and the Wellcome Trust building is on the right hand side.
Join us for the Knitting History Forum 2016 Conference and AGM on Saturday 19th November, at the London College of Fashion, 20 Princes St.
Registration opens in room 418 at 10:30AM, with the first session an informal Show and Tell. Please bring items for discussion! The AGM for KHF members runs from 11.00AM to 12:45, followed by a break for lunch. Lunch is not provided so please bring your own or buy locally. The London College of Fashion is just off Oxford Street and there are many places to eat nearby.
The Knitting History Conference starts promptly at 2.00PM. Speakers and sessions for 2016 include:
2.00-2.45 Gieneke Arnolli â Curator of Textiles & Fashion, Fries Museum, The Netherlands Typically Frisian lace knitting, between fact and fiction and Curating the Knitting! exhibition.
2.45-3.30 Hanna BĂ¤ckstrĂśm â PhD Candidate in Textile Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden The publication of knitting and crochet patterns in Northern Europe 1790-1870 and Brief remarks on recent knitting history research in SwedenÂ
3.30-4.00 Michelle Hanks â PhD Candidate London College of Fashion The Hand-Knitted Gift: using knitting as a research tool
Fourth on the provisional programme for this year’s Knitting History Forum Conference is a group discussion, “The Media Representation Of Knitting â reflections on knitting in the media and how would we represent the history of knitting?”
In order to participate fully in the conversation, before the session conference delegates will find it useful to prepare by watching the documentary âThe Secret History of Knittingâ, made by Blue Ant Media. Joyce Meader, Jane Malcolm-Davies and Sandy Black were all interviewed for the documentary and will be leading discussion. ‘The Secret History of Knitting’ can be viewed at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B63vxlRIcfrOcDY0OWF1Nm4yZm8/view?usp=sharing
The Prince of Wales has called it the “Davos of Wool”. September 9th sees the first ever Dumfries House Wool Conference, described as a “gathering of key members of the fashion, interiors and wool industry organised by The Campaign for Wool” and “the largest and most prestigious international gathering of wool experts ever held in the United Kingdom. Animal welfare, sustainability and quality, environmental issues and slowing down fast-fashion turnover will be discussed during the conference.”
More details at The Campaign for Wool. Read Prince Charles’ own view as published in the Telegraph Magazine. It’s more measured and less sensational than the majority of ‘I set fire to / I buried my jumpers at Clarence House’ headlines in newsfeeds.