Knitting History News

The School of Textiles 2018 Events

The School of Textiles in Essex has announced new events for 2018. The talks, short courses, study days and workshops cover many topics including Tapestry, early Coptic and Peruvian textiles, Artist-designed Textiles 1900-1930, Orla Kiely and Images from Nature: Textile Art. Visit the School of Textile’s Events page to find out more

History of Knitting in Portugal

'Punto portugués' by Rosa Pomar
‘Punto portugu√©s’ by Rosa Pomar

Rosa Pomar’s ‘Malhas Portuguesas’ has sold out its latest Portuguese language edition. Luckily it is now available in print and as an ebook as ‘Punto portugu√©s’, an abridged Spanish translation by Ana Bel√©n Fletes, published by Editorial Gustavo Gili.

This beautiful book on the history of knitting in Portugal merits an unabridged translation and in other languages too.

In The Loop At 10 – Call For Papers

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 ‚Äď 20 July 2018

Keynote Speakers
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

Deadline 27 April 2018.

Early Modern Stocking Study Day 2018

Ruth Gilbert MPhil is holding an Early Modern Stocking Study Day on Saturday 24th March 2018, from 10am to 4pm. In this study day at the Loft Space, Britannia Mills, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, Ruth will cover the evidence for early knitted stockings and its interpretation as well as knitting techniques, tools and yarn.

Ruth Gilbert speaking at the Knitting History Conference, 2017
Ruth Gilbert speaking at the Knitting History Conference, 2017

Materials and equipment will be provided but please bring your own if you prefer. The day costs £50 per person including tea and coffee.

A weaver and textile historian as well as a knitter, Ruth’s background is one of both hands-on experience and wide-ranging scholarship so this is a wonderful opportunity to learn from someone with evidence-based knowledge and practical expertise. Full information will be available when you book: contact Ruth by email, by phone or in person at the Loft Space.

For more details, download the Early Modern Stocking Study Day flyer and contact Ruth directly.

Seventeenth Century Silk Stockings Research Project

Delegates at the recent Knitting History Forum Conference in London will remember Chrystel Bandenburgh of Leiden University mentioned a forthcoming knitting history initiative in the Netherlands on seventeenth century stocking-knitting. The Textile Research Centre (TRC) Leiden have now announced their exciting new research project. Starting from January 2018 they will lead an investigation into seventeenth century knitted silk stockings, focussing on the examples recovered in 2014 near the island of Texel, from a shipwreck believed to have sunk c.1640.

Textile Research Centre Leiden Seventeenth Century Silk Stocking Texel 2The finely-knitted silk stockings have received initial conservation treatment and are the inspiration for the project, which seeks to discover more information, including how the stockings were originally constructed, if they were custom-made and how they were worn. Through a series of practical workshops and lectures at the TRC Leiden, participants will attempt to create reconstructions using very fine silk thread and knitting needles.

The TRC invite knitters to participate in this important project. The first workshop will be held in February 2018, led by Chrystel Brandenburgh and Lies van de Wege (TRC volunteer), and a second two-day workshop will be held in March, with regular progress meetings to follow. Materials and equipment will be supplied and while expertise in knitting stockings would be beneficial, it is not necessary, though with 1mm knitting needles this may not be a project for the faint-hearted! Interested knitters should email directly describing their knitting skills. Further information is available on the Textile Research Centre Leiden website.

Celebrating 10th Knitting History Forum Conference

Celebrating our 10th Annual Knitting History Forum Conference!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!

Chair Sandy Black and Co-founder and former Co-ordinator Kirstie Buckland at Knitting History Forum Conference 10th Anniversary CelebrationThe 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!

The Great Knitting Workshop

An interesting historical knitting workshop in Newcastle upon Tyne on Thursday 23 November 2017. PhD student Leanne Cane leads ‘The great knitting workshop: picking up dropped stitches’, part of the Being Human festival of the humanities, organised by the University of Northumbria. More details on their website

Prof Sandy Black

Our Chair, Sandy Black, has provided us with a biographical sketch. Visit our Resources section for this and more Knitting History Profiles.

Prof Sandy Black
Professor of Fashion and Textile Design and Technology
Centre for Sustainable Fashion
London College of Fashion
University of the Arts London

I am a designer, author, editor and academic researcher, publishing widely on knitwear and textiles, fashion, technology and sustainability. My major books on the subject of knitting history and design are: Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft (V&A Publishing 2012), covering 1700 years of knitting history and technology through the lens of the V&A’s extensive collection and other key examples; Knitwear in Fashion (Thames & Hudson 2002 & 2005) examining design and innovation in knitwear in 20th century fashion and the arts; and Sandy Black Original Knitting (Unwin Hyman, 1987) a book of 30 innovative knitwear designs. I have also published two pioneering books on fashion and sustainability: Eco Chic the Fashion Paradox (Black Dog Publishing 2008 & 2011) and The Sustainable Fashion Handbook (Thames & Hudson 2012). I founded and co-edit the Routledge journal: Fashion Practice: Design, Creative Process and the Fashion Industry, published since 2009.

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

My career has followed an unconventional path in industry and academia. I crossed disciplines from sciences and mathematics education to creative arts, textiles and fashion design, ran a successful fashion knitwear business, then joined higher education as a lecturer, becoming director of academic programmes and finally research professor. With interests in both the sciences and the arts, I studied BSc Mathematics at University College London, but also loved making things by knitting, crochet and sewing. I became inspired by the creative potential of the knitted stitch as a unit of design to create patterns and images on graph paper for knitting. The link between mathematics and knitting was little understood in academic education at the time, so I forged my own independent career path, becoming an entrepreneurial self‚Äďtaught knitwear designer and businesswoman. Supporting myself initially by teaching numeracy to adults, I built a creative business as Design Director of Sandy Black Knitwear Ltd, designing and manufacturing ready-to-wear knitwear and unique knitting yarn and pattern kits for the international fashion market, selling to prestigious fashion stores worldwide (UK, USA, Japan, Italy, Germany, Australia, Canada etc). My work was part of a British ‚Äėknitwear revolution‚Äô, a craft-led design movement that influenced the wider fashion industry. The Knitwear Revolution (Bell and Hyman,1983), a book by respected fashion writer Suzy Menkes, featured knitwear patterns from 20 designers with my own Vase of Flowers angora coat on the cover. I have continuallly championed the practice and study of knitted textiles and knitwear and curated the exhibition The New Knitting which toured the UK in 1997 and from 2000-2002.

After 15 years in business, I entered the higher education sector, first directing the undergraduate academic programmes in textiles and fashion at University of Brighton, then joining London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, to develop and lead the multi-disciplinary MA Fashion Studies programme. For the last decade I have focused on supervising PhD research and developed research projects on design for sustainability and knitwear design using advanced technologies. As part of my Considerate Design initiative in 2007-2009, I researched personalisation and fit of knitwear towards reducing waste, a project exhibited at the Science Museum London 2010-11. In spring 2015, I undertook a Leverhulme International Academic Fellowship at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, investigating the application of mathematical concepts to 3D knit contruction, an ongoing project.

Knitting History Conference 2017 Reminder

Reconstruction Knitted Sanquhar Glove courtesy of Kirstie Buckland. PLEASE DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION!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!

History of the East Midlands Knitting Industry Lecture

Colin Moss will speak on ‘A History of the East Midlands Knitting Industry’ this Thursday, 19th October 2017. Cromford Mills near Matlock, Derbyshire are hosting the talk as part of the Discovery Days Festival, in celebration of the historic Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. The lecture begins at 7.30pm but cheese and wine will be served from 7.00pm.

Further information and tickets available from the Cromford Mills website.

10th Knitting History Conference 2017

Knitting History Forum the international society for the history of knitting and crochet. Eight-pointed star, a common motif in knitting across many cultures.
Knitting History Forum, the international society for the history of knitting and crochet.

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 ‚ÄúWools for the World‚ÄĚ – 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 morning’s Show and Tell. There will be more time for questions and general discussion from 5.15pm, after all the speakers have delivered their papers.

We welcome members and non-members alike! Conference tickets cost ¬£35 to non-members and are available in advance or on the door, but please contact us or email ‘KHF Events & Bookings’ beforehand to let us know if you are coming. Admission is also included in Knitting History Forum membership, currently ¬£25. If you have not joined KHF as a member, you can use the PayPal button below to buy your ticket. See payment methods page for alternative ways to pay.

Knitting History Forum Conference 2017 Non-members’ Ticket

A Brief Look At Georgian Knitting

The University of Glasgow’s Knit History blog has posted a piece by graduate student Qiaoyun Peng, on knitting in Georgia, the nation and former member of the Soviet Union, not the US state. Georgian knitting has been described by Sofia Tchkonia, founder of Tbilisi Fashion Week, as “the Missoni of the mountains” and the president of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, is himself a knitter but, as Peng notes, “Georgian knitting is far from being famous outside the country itself.” A brief but revealing glimpse into a lesser-known but important knitting tradition

KEME Seminar – August 2017

Strickersvej – Knitters Way is hosting a seminar in August to discuss the KEME project and its findings. There will be speakers on topics ranging from early modern knitted stockings from burials in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, 3D modelling, the significance of the spin angle in knitted fabric, knitted items in the Design Museum, Eramus’s caps and comparing sheep fleece characteristics as well as workshops and broader discussions on the KEME project and citizen or crowd-sourced science.

The KEME Seminar will be held at the Centre for Textile Research in Copenhagen on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August 2017. Further details are available from the Strickersvej – Knitters Way seminar page on Facebook.

People Knitting: A Century of Photographs

Sojourner Truth from 'People Knitting A Century of Photographs' by Barbara Levine
Sojourner Truth from ‘People Knitting A Century of Photographs’ by Barbara Levine

Hyperallergic, the arts blogzine, posted a review of ‘People Knitting: A Century of Photographs’ a compact book by Barbara Levine,¬†an artist,¬†collector and curator. Published in 2016 by Princeton Architectural Press, the images in People Knitting¬†are drawn mainly from Barbara Levine’s collection. Shown here is Sojourner Truth, the African-American women’s rights activist and abolitionist.

Click here to read the review

Knitted Gloves: KHF/KCG Joint Meeting

Angharad Thomas, Textile Archivist for the Knitting & Crochet Guild, is speaking on Knitted Gloves, their history, design and knitting. Angharad’s work was recently exhibited at the Bankfield Museum in Halifax, together with items from the KCG Collection.

This joint meeting of Knitting History Forum and Knitting & Crochet Guild Central London Branch will be held on Saturday, 18th March 2017, at the London College of Fashion, 20 John Prince’s Street, just off Oxford Street. The event is open to all and costs ¬£15, or ¬£10 for KHF/KCG members.

For further information and to book a place, please contact Tricia, our Membership Secretary, or email ‘KHF Events & Bookings’.

The Historic Knit: Joyce Meader Open House 2017

Please mark your diaries for Wednesday 29th March 2017. Joyce Meader of The Historic Knit is holding another open house event at her home in Hampshire, UK.

'Knitskrieg: A Call to Yarns! A History of Military Knitting from 1800s to Present' by Joyce Meader
‘Knitskrieg: A Call to Yarns! A History of Military Knitting from 1800s to Present’ by Joyce Meader

Joyce is an expert on historical knitting and an historical and vintage hand knitter for film, television, museums and re-enactors. Her collection of original knitting patterns, books and knitted items from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries is wide-ranging and full of interest. Joyce is also an entertaining and engaging speaker with a talent for making the past come alive. Last year saw the publication of her book ‘Knitskrieg! A Call To Yarns’, a history of military knitting drawing on Joyce’s collection and extensive expertise.

For more details, please contact Joyce directly by emailing her via The Historic Knit website, on Ravelry or via Facebook.

We will post an update with further information when we know more. The chance to hear Joyce Meader and see her extraordinary knitting collection close-up is a wonderful opportunity and well worth the trip to Hampshire!

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