Two very different studies on the history of knitting are available online. One taps a vein of research that had been hardly explored before, the other re-visits a popular topic of knitting literature, but both dispel old assumptions.
‘Myth: Black People Donâ€™t Knit â€“ the importance of art and oral histories for documenting the experiences of black knitters’ by Lorna Hamilton-Brown can be read and downloaded here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-RM7D5lhgCYV2xHcnljX2g3UzQ/view. Her MA dissertation moves beyond facile ethnic stereotypes, examining art and using oral history from living knitters to record firsthand the experience and culture of knitting among people whose stories are often marginalised or misrepresented. Lorna spoke at the Knitting History Forum meeting last November and her lively presentation both informed and entertained.
Roslyn Chapman’s PhD thesis, ‘The history of the fine lace knitting industry in nineteenth and early twentieth century Shetland’, is available in an edited form on the University of Glasgow website http://theses.gla.ac.uk/6763/. Roslyn’s continuing examination of Shetland lace knitting and its many imitations sheds light on how knitting traditions are created, emulated and sometimes inaccurately disseminated. Her much-anticipated presentation at the Knitting History Conference in 2016 highlighted that traditional narratives of knitting should be evaluated against the historical record.
‘Groundbreaking’ is an adjective rarely applied with sincerity, but the work of both Roslyn Chapman and Lorna Hamilton-Brown genuinely breaks new ground in knitting history scholarship, challenging preconception not by deliberate provocation but research that speaks for itself.