Un-Convention 2020 is the Knitting & Crochet Guild’s first virtual convention. Running from this Wednesday 9th September to Tuesday 15th September 2020, the convention has a broad range of free events across the seven-day schedule, including speakers familiar from KHF conferences. Videos with closed captions (subtitles) will be available on Youtube and you can also join in on the Guild’s Facebook group, Ravelry KCG or follow the hashtag #unconventionkcg on Instagram.Â Visit the Un-convention 2020 website to see the exciting programme in full.
Saturday 7th November 2020
In order to recognise the extraordinary circumstances of the 2020 global coronavirus pandemic, the Knitting History Forum has decided to stage an online event on Sat 7th November. This event will be free to attend and open to all, following registration, and will comprise speakers, discussion groups/show and tell and opportunities for research students to give short presentations or present posters online of their current work-in-progress.
Watch this space for further announcements!
This has been an extraordinary year. Many have been affected by the events of the past ten months and it seemed in poor taste to continue posting. Indeed, mentions of the date of the next conference here and on social media received some objections and though made last year, were removed to avoid giving offence. Now as we return slowly to the new ‘normal’, it seems appropriate to resume. KHF is pleased once again to confirm Saturday 7th November 2020 as the date of this year’s Knitting History Forum Conference. We are working towards an event that is safe and accessible. Further information about the conference will be released in due course and we will post additional details here on the Knitting History website and on Twitter, Instagram andÂ Facebook when they are available. We hope you will feel able to join in and look forward to seeing you in November.
Join us in beautiful Leiden for a weekend of Knitting History! We welcome scholars, knitters and everyone with an interest in knitting.
The Knitting History Forum Conference 2019 with the culmination of the TRC Leiden Texel Stockings Project is on Saturday 2 November at De Tuinzaal (The Garden Room) at the Grand CafĂŠ de Burcht in the historic city centre (at Burgsteeg 14). On Sunday 3 November Prof Sandy Black will chair our AGM for KHF members and we have a special visit to Het Leids Wevershuis (a textile workers’ house built circa 1560). The knitting exhibition ‘Socks & Stockings: A world full of surprises’ at the Textile Research Centre will open especially for conference delegates on Friday 1 November from 12.30pm to 2pm and again on Sunday 3rd November 10am to 12.30pm.
You can register for the conference and pay on the door (âŹ25 or âŹ15 for KHF members).
If you prefer you can pay in advance via PayPal using the âDonateâ button on the home page of the Textile Research Centre â scroll down the right-hand column) or via PayPal directly to the TRCâs email address (email@example.com). Please visit our membership page for more information about Knitting History Forum and apply to join if you wish. You can also register for the conference online using this form if you are a KHF member or use this form if you are not. The conference hotel is Hotel Nieuw Minerva and a discount is available – email firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning KHF2019.
The full conference programme is available here. Speakers and papers for the Knitting History Conference will include
Keynote speaker Chrystel Brandenburgh: ‘Knitting for science. The reconstruction of the 17th century Texel Stockings by a citizen science community’
Lesley O’Connell Edwards: ‘A hidden workforce: hand knitters in 17thcentury England’
Sylvie OdstrÄilovĂĄ: ‘Early modern stockings from the Czech Republic and neighbouring countries’
Hannah BĂ¤ckstrĂśm: ‘The earliest printed knitting patterns’
Art Ness ProaĂąo Gaibor: ‘Dye-experiments on the Texel Stocking’
Geeske Kruseman: ‘Wearing 17th century knitted silk stockings’
Sally Pointer: ‘Clues from the deep: Reconstructing for the re-enactment-market -silk stockings based on the Texel project’
Susan North: ‘How not to Knit: Sourcing silk, research and reconstructions reviewed’
Jane Malcolm-Davies: ‘Modern Slavery and the early modern work ethic: Lessons learned from volunteer participation in knitting in early modern Europe’
Panel discussion with Katrin Kania, Heleen van Londen and Roeland Paardenkoper: ‘Knitting leads the way! The perils and potential of citizen science in textile research’
It is not too late to register for the conference and book last minute flights, Eurostar tickets or even drive to Leiden to enjoy a knitting history event which, in a way, is itself historic. We look forward to seeing you this weekend.
A new exhibition, ‘Socks & Stockings: A world full of surprises’, has opened at the Textile Research Centre in Leiden , tying in with the Texel Stockings Project and our 2019 Knitting History Forum conference. On display are the original seventeenth century Texel silk stockings, the hand-knitted reconstructions made by the team of volunteers for the project as well as many socks from around the world in knitting and nalbinding, including some from Annemor SundbĂ¸’s “Ragpile-collection”, in an informative and fascinating array of techniques, patterns and colours as inspirational to knitters as scholars and students of knitting history. The exhibition runs until 19 December 2019 but is also opening especially for us on Friday 1 November from 12.30pm to 2pm and again on Sunday 3 November from 10pm to 12.30pm, so Knitting History conference delegates may enjoy viewing at leisure.
The text boards accompanying the exhibits are also available to read in PDF format, English language and Dutch language formats. More information and images of some of the items are available on the TRC Leiden website.
The weekend of the KHF Conference & AGM 2019 approaches quickly : Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd November 2019. For those who still might be considering joining us for the weekend here is a reminder of the registration details.
The Knitting History Forum Conference is on Saturday 2nd November and a copy of the conference programme is available here https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc/images/stories/pdf/full%20programme%2020190918.pdf
Conference delegates are also encouraged to support the Knitting History Forum. The annual fee is ÂŁ25 and you can join via the Membership page.
Please register for the conference (Sat 2 Nov) and/or participation in the AGM (Sun 3 Nov) using this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd_LmFUjpddmZ5LRvhJ_7fTipc1pgZpM3L4cVSK4L5U4sxN1w/viewform?
Then, pay for your ticket for the conference via PayPal using the âDonateâ button on the home page of the Textile Research Centre (https://www.trc-leiden.nl â scroll down the right-hand column) or via PayPal directly to the TRCâs email address (email@example.com).
Normal entrance fee is âŹ25, but for KHF members this is reduced to âŹ15. This is the link for members of KHF to register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd_LmFUjpddmZ5LRvhJ_7fTipc1pgZpM3L4cVSK4L5U4sxN1w/viewform?
If you have any problems registering via the google form or payment to the TRC Leiden, please email the TRC directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
On Sunday 3rd November, Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Director of the Textile Research Centre in Leiden, will host us at the TRC, for the Knitting History Forum Annual General Meeting, followed by a visit to the Wevershuis Museum.
You are welcome to arrive from 10am and we will start the AGM promptly at 10.30am, dealing with KHF business and planning for the year ahead. The meeting will close by 12 noon and we recommend everyone finds their own lunch in the old town centre (minutes of AGM 2018, more info and suggestions of places to eat will follow a fortnight before the event).
In the afternoon there will be the opportunity to visit the Wevershuis Museum (The Weaver’s House), Middelstegracht 143, 2312 TV Leiden. http://www.wevershuis.nl
Geeske Kruseman has kindly offered to give tours; the museum is very small and has an interesting collection showing the “other side of Leiden”, located in the old town centre and less than one kilometre from the Textile Research Centre.
The tours will last 45 minutes and cover Leiden textile history, the buildingâs history, and some social history. The first tour will be at 1.45pm and the second at 3pm and we will meet outside the museum 10 minutes before the start of the tour so that we can all go in as a group. (i.e. 1.35pm and 2.50pm).
If you are with us on Sunday please email KHF Membership Secretary Tricia Basham (email@example.com) as soon as possible to let her know which tour you’d like to attend so that we can finalise arrangements.
The conference hotel is Hotel Nieuw Minerva and a discount is available – please email firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning KHF2019 to book your room.
We look forward to seeing you all in Leiden.
This year’s Knitting History Forum will be venturing out to picturesque Leiden in The Netherlands for a special event focused around seventeenth century knitted stockings. Please join us!
Knitting History Forum Invitation to Leiden 2019
Held jointly with the Textile Research Centre Leiden, the conference will include a full day of lectures about the Texel shipwreck reproduction silk stockings project, stocking production, studying historical knitting and textile research. The date of the knitting history conference is Saturday 2nd November 2019, with the KHF AGM held on Sunday at the TRC. Click on the images or download the PDF to learn more. Further information will be available on the Knitting History Forum website once details are confirmed.
“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.
Further information and booking enquiries should be directed to MEDATS at their website http://medats.org.uk/events/wool-cloth-clothing-and-culture/
This knitted item, found in a crypt in a Danish manor church, was photographed on the day it was recognised as an Early Modern cap by Jane Malcolm-Davies during examination at the National Museum of Denmarkâs store in Brede in May 2014. It is recorded in detail in the forthcoming Archaeological Textiles Review issue no. 60 by Maj Ringgaard, together with another cap found in Copenhagen. Click on the image for a larger view.
Available by subscription, the 2018 volume of Archaeological Textiles Review will focus on knitting in the Early Modern period, with 99 pages devoted to knitted fragments and garments with many colour photographs and detailed specifications. Collaborating authors and articles are as follows:
Ruth Gilbert â reviews published evidence for Early Modern knitting
Susanne Lervad â contributes to terminology for studying knitwork
Helena Lundin â reports knitted items from the c17th Kronan shipwreck
Jane Malcolm-Davies â introduces the issue and proposes a protocol for reporting Early Modern knitwork
Rosalind Mearns â discusses crowdsourcing for experimental archaeology to reconstruct knitted items
Lesley OâConnell Edwards â discusses c16th stockings in the Museum of London
Sylvie OdstrÄilovĂĄ â surveys c17th silk stockings in the Czech Republic
Maj Ringgaard â reveals the remains of two Early Modern knitted caps found in Denmark
Annemarieke Willemsen â reports mittens found in a c17th Dutch shipwreck
There will also be an article on Karen Finch, our late Honorary President, by her colleague, Rosalind Janssen.
The print deadline has been extended, but only until after the weekend, so if you prefer a print copy, reserve yours soon. Subscriptions for the 2018 issue of Archaeological Textiles Review cost DKK250, approximately âŹ34, ÂŁ30 or US $38, and are available from the University of Copenhagen website http://www.webshophum-en.ku.dk/shop/2018-subscription-archaeological-2310p.html.
BREAKING NEWS! The 60th edition of Archaeological Textiles Review has finally been published. This long-awaited diamond issue is devoted to the study of Early Modern knitted items with more than ten articles focussing on extant evidence, including two sixteenth century caps (one being the earliest known example of Danish knitting), sixteenth century wool stockings, seventeenth century silk stockings, items recovered from shipwrecks including mittens from the Netherlands and Sweden, and the full version of the proposal for a new protocol for recording evidence for knitting (read more here). One of the articles is an obituary of Karen Finch, our late Honorary President. A major outcome of the Knitting in Early Modern Europe (KEME) project, funded by a Marie SkĹodowska Curie Research Fellowship, the volume contains 99 pages devoted to knitted fragments and garments with many colour photographs and detailed specifications such as the tension or gauge, yarn and fibre for each item.
This issue is available by subscription and the University of Copenhagen is now deciding how many copies to print. Don’t delay! The print deadline is today (12th December 2018). Volume 60 of Archaeological Textiles Review costs dkk250, approximately âŹ34, ÂŁ30 or US $38. Visit the University website to subscribe: http://www.webshophum-en.ku.dk/shop/2018-subscription-archaeological-2310p.html.
Emmy Sale won the undergraduate student Design History Society Essay Prize with an essay based on her BA dissertation examining hand-knitted bathing suits in the 1930s, particularly how they were made and worn by young working women. She wrote a shorter essay, ‘The 1930s Hand-Knitted Bathing Suit: Cost, originality and adaptation’, based on the collection of Worthing Art Gallery and Museum, as part of their joint Objects Unwrapped research project with University of Brighton. A downloadable PDF is available on the Objects Unwrapped website https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/objectsunwrapped/essays/.
Emmy has also written a post for the Association of Dress Historians, discussing her research and showing images of knitted bathing suits in other British museum collections. ‘Homemade Garments in Museum Collections: 1930s HandâKnitted Bathing Suits’ is available on the ADH website https://www.dresshistorians.org/single-post/2018/10/23/Homemade-Garments-in-Museum-Collections-1930s-Hand%E2%80%93Knitted-Bathing-Suits.
In the twenty-first century, Dr Tahani Baakdhah of the University of Toronto makes models in crochet to illustrate her research on stem cells in the retina and promote science literacy. She has just published a book of patterns, ‘Crocheting Neuroscience: The Retina’. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries British chemist and mathematician, Alexander Crum Brown (1838-1922), also made teaching models using a variety of techniques including knitting. Some of Dr Crum Brown’s models, including multi-dimensional knitting demonstrating his mathematical work on inter-penetrating surfaces, are shown in this article from the National Museums of Scotland blog https://blog.nms.ac.uk/2017/11/15/alexander-crum-browns-mathematical-models-interpenetrating-models-of-beknottedness/, and it is really encouraging this connection between textiles and teaching science continues today.
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 Donât 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.
Sewing & Stories is an interactive event in Leeds this Thursday 29th November. The organisers would like to gather memories of knitting, crochet and sewing, personal, domestic and industrial, from the Windrush generation and anyone from the wider community in Leeds and the surrounding area. Those can’t knit, crochet or sew are also very welcome. KHF only just received notice, but it’s a brilliant idea and looks like a lovely event. See the flyer for more information.
Following on from Jana Trepte’s presentation on Saturday, ‘Piecing the Bremen waistcoat together: an everyday knitted garment of the early 1600s’, Pat Poppy has pieced together her own helpful overview of knitted waistcoats and jackets of the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries. The post lists details of select recent scholarship on early knitted waistcoats and jackets, both ordinary and elite, with links to online records of several examples in museum collections. Pat is herself an historian as well as a long-standing member of Knitting History Forum and her post is a sound springboard for further research. Visit her blog to read more https://costumehistorian.blogspot.com/2018/11/early-modern-knitted-waistcoats-and.html.
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.
The latest newsletter from the TRC Leiden Silk Stockings Project to study and reproduce those recovered from the Texel shipwreck, shows the progress of the knitters, on course to finish their work by the end of March 2019. Read the newsletter here, in Dutch and English. The group were also recorded for television, which may be viewed here, starting at 7.30 minutes in. Ravelry users can also follow the progress of the knitters on their group, Texelstockings.
The Center for Knit and Crochet (CKC) is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to preserve and promote the art, craft, and scholarship of knitting, crochet, and related arts. One result of this aim is the establishment of a digital repository of knitting and crochet. The new CKC Collections Resource is an online-only collection bringing together items from different sources such as museums, galleries, libraries, archives and other public and private entities.
More than 5000 items relating to knitting and crochet may now be browsed in the Library and Museum Collections. Currently in an experimental phase, the database is drawn from the Digital Public Library of America. Other contributions are to be found in the Crowdsourced Collection, which is being used to refine the design, features and functionality of the online interface before continuing expansion. The CKC are in search of further partner organisations willing to share their collections of knitting and crochet.
We are pleased to publish an aid to knitting terminology by Ruth Gilbert, available now for downloading from the Knitting History website.
Entitled ‘Words for recording knitting and knitted fabrics. An introduction to important distinctions and concepts’, Ruth’s concise but precise paper aims to avoid confusion by promoting the use of clear and accurate terms in the description of knitted fabrics and artefacts, many of which are already used in machine knitting and in the knitting industry. Please visit our Knitting History Resources and scroll down the page to view or download Ruth’s paper.
It is part of a wider movement towards improving understanding and will undoubtedly become essential to future knitting history research. More information will be available in the forthcoming and much-anticipated 60th edition of Archaeological Textiles Review, to be published this Autumn. As the Archaeological Textiles Newsletter website explains : “Issue 60 will primarily include articles on evidence for knitting in Early Modern Europe, and we hope our readers will appreciate the importance of this long needed initiative and embrace the scientific impact and upgrade of this over-looked research direction.”