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Evolution of Knitting as an Industry

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Samantha Wong

on 4 April 2015

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Transcript of Evolution of Knitting as an Industry

Domestic Knitting - A Way of Life
-17th and 18th centuries: entire Scottish families would work to make sweaters, socks, stockings, etc. as a living
-Fair Isle = beautiful
colorwork; wool
sweaters provided
some protection
against rough weather
while fishing

Knitting for the War Effort
-Great Depression: knitting your own garments was cheaper than buying handmade garments
-knitting became a necessity rather than a hobby; skills to repair existing garments was useful
-WWI and WWII: "Make Do and Mend"
-women unpicked old wool garments to reuse the scarce wool
-made balaclavas (ski-masks) and gloves for soldiers using distributed knitting patterns
-those on the "home front" can contribute to the war effort
Knitting - A Male Profession
-the 1st knitting guild was founded in Paris in the 13th century (guilds still present today)
-only men admitted; 7-year apprenticeships
-knitting schools provided a way for the poor to make money
An Active British Industry
-15th century: knitting arrives in Britain and becomes an active industry
-Queen Elizabeth I passes laws and regulations to protect the knitting industry
-every Sunday and holy day, all men over 6yrs had to wear woolen European caps
-denied the first petition for a patent on the first knitting machine to protect the hand-knitting industry
Evolution of Knitting as an Industry
"Feminism" of Knitting and its Decline
Late 20th century: as gender roles changed (women taking larger roles in the workplace), women saw knitting as too feminine and only for grannies
-machine-made knit garments were cheaper and less time-consuming
-other garments made of synthetic fiber was "fashionable" and cheaper than knit garments

Resurgence of Modern Knitting
Early 21st century: "Handmade Revolution" + tech advances
-internet allows knitters to collaborate and share ideas and difficulties regarding knitting
-yarn made from synthetic, animal and plant sources have become more easily accessible and collected
-Etsy: selling knitting patterns and products
-machine-knit garments still present and cheaper, but it's more gratifying to make your own!

Effects of the Industrial Revolution
-knitting machines eventually overpowered hand knitting, which retreated to the domestic realm and the countryside
-hand-knitting still prevalent in coastal areas of England, Scotland, and Ireland


Knitting in Fashion
-19th century: knitting becomes popular among middle class women
-women's magazines feature knitting and sewing patterns, recipes, and popular literature
-popularity of knitwear allows commercial knitting to include sweaters and pullovers in addition to socks, underwear, and hosiery
-knitting = leisure
Full transcript