Show Notes: Knitting

Tracy Wilson

Family from Bareges, French Pryenees, in traditional dress. The woman is knitting as she walks. Tinted lithograph from Nouvelles Suite de Costumes des Pyrenees (Paris, c1840). Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images

After innumerable listener requests, we're finally doing a podcast on the early history of knitting. We talk about why those origins are a little hard to pin down, then trace it through history to stocking frames, the Luddites, the Irish Potato Famine and some famous regional knitting styles.

Listener mail is from Nikki, who tells us a bit about La Befana. The book we talked about is "The Legend of Old Befana" by Tomie dePaola.

Episode link: Knitting's Early History

Holly's research:

  • "Company Heritage." The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters.
  • "History of knitting, from knotted nets and knitted socks to knitting guilds." Knit-a-Square.
  • "New Discoveries Reported at Peru's El Paraiso." Archaeology. Jan. 25, 2016.
  • "Spurned Love Leads to Knitting Invention." BBC Nottingham. Nov. 13, 2014.
  • "The History of Knitting Pt 1: Mysterious Origins." Sheep and Stitch. Feb. 16, 2014.
  • "The History of Knitting Pt 2: Madonnas, Stockings and Guilds, Oh My!" Sheep and Stitch. Feb. 18, 2014.
  • "The Ladies' Penny Gazette; Or, Mirror of Fashion, and Miscellany of Instruction and Amusement." E. Steill. 1832. Accessed online:
  • Grass, Milton N. "A History of Hosiery." Fairchild Publications Inc. New York.1955
  • Hutchinson, Elaine. "Sprang - The history, origins, construction and use of thread twisting." Regia Anglorum. April 8, 2003.
  • Love, Judy. "Patron Saint for Knitters." The Times-News. Henderson, North Carolina. March 17, 1969.,5344647&hl=en
  • Lurie, Allison. "The Sweater Curse." The New Yorker. Aug. 28, 2013.
  • Marks, Ruthie. "History of Crochet." Crochet Guild of America. 2009.
  • Rutt, Richard. "A History of Hand Knitting." Interweave Press. 2003.
  • Silver, Carly. "Dura-Europos: Crossroad of Cultures." Archaeology. Aug. 11, 2010.
  • Turnau, Irena. "History of knitting before mass production." Warszawa. Akcent. 1991.

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