Scope & Context

The scope of this project is limited to examples of hand knitting prior to the 19th century when the popularity and need of machine knitting outweighed the craft of hand knitting. Overall the collection is meant to draw  attention to the various items required of journeymen to become master knitters. In turn, I wanted to track the changes in types of fibers anI wand aesthetics as knitting migrates throughout Europe. 

The invention of the knitting frame by William Lee in 1589 brought a level of ease to knitting but still did not stop the appreciation or affection fo the people for hand-knitted objects. With the invention the steam power knitting machine in the 1820s (using the same elements of William Lee’s frame some 250 years prior), the need for hand-knitting switched focus with simple “stocking knit” hosiery or hats replaced by the machine. No longer was hand knitting a necessary skill for production fo clothes, but now a simpler skill for gentlewomen and children to be done at home and not for profit.

The examples included in this collection either pre-date Lee’s frame or exhibit a level of mastery surpassed by the machine. Beginning with the Nålbindning (sewing stitch) from the 2nd century, this collection will track the earliest examples of major knitting stitches and techniques through the stocking stitch and advances colorwork still used by hand knitters today.