Knitting comes of age: the development of a scientific approach to the study of knitwork
Keywords:Textile analysis, Knit, Cap, Early Modern, Terminology, Database
Knitting has received scant attention in the scientific study of textiles despite its continued popularity as a handicraft. As a result, relatively little is published about the evidence for early knitting. It is frequently the victim of mistaken identity: items made by needle binding are often described as knitted; and many more items which are knitted remain unidentified as such. A draft protocol inspired by the Centre International d’Étude des Textiles Anciens’ system for the analysis of woven textiles has been developed as part of a project to investigate Knitting in Early Modern Europe (KEME). A lack of unambiguous terminology was also identified as a challenge to the scholarly scrutiny of knitting’s origins. The evolution of a protocol and terminology and their application to a collection of knitted caps from the sixteenth century (now published online) is reported here.
 Orton-Johnson, K., 'Knit, purl and upload: new technologies, digital mediations and the experience of leisure', Leisure Studies 33(3), (2014) 305-321, https://doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2012.723730.
 Malcolm-Davies, J., 'Project homepage and database', in Knitting in Early Modern Europe (KEME), https://kemeresearch.com/home (accessed 2018-7-27).
 Malcolm-Davies, J.; Davidson, H., '"He is of no account . if he have not a velvet or taffeta hat': a survey of 16th century knitted caps", in Aspects of the Design, Production and Use of Textiles and Clothing from the Bronze Age to the Early Modern Era, ed. K. Grömer & F. Pritchard, Archaeolingua, Budapest (2015) 223-232.
 Kopytoff, I., 'The cultural biography of things: commoditisation as process', in The Social Life of Things, ed. A. Appadurai, University Press Cambridge, Cambridge (1986) 64-91, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511819582.004.
 Botticello, J., 'The conservation of two Tudor knitted woollen flat caps', undergraduate thesis, Camberwell College, London (2003).
 Haase, W.; Weißgraf, T., 'Ausblühungen an Gestricken des 17. Jahrhunderts aus einer Kloake in Lüneburg', in Denkmalpflege in Lüneburg, Lüneburger Stadtarchäologie, Lüneburg (2007) 75-79.
 Rogers, P. W., 'Textiles', in Under the Oracle. Excavations at the Oracle Shopping Centre Site 1996-8: The Medieval and Post-Medieval Urban Development of the Kennet Floodplain in Reading, ed. B. Ford, D. Poore, R. Shaffrey & D. Wilkinson, Oxford Archaeology, Oxford (2013) 197-198.
 Green, E., 'Is Tudor London trendy? Tudor textiles from London: cloth, clothing and status', undergraduate thesis, Bradford University, Bradford (2001).
 Sagona, C., 'Two-needle knitting and cross-knit looping: Early Bronze Age pottery imprints from Anatolia and the Caucasus', Oxford Journal of Archaeology 37(3) (2018) 283-297, https://doi.org/10.1111/ojoa.12141.
 Hiatt, J. H., The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting, Touchstone, New York (2012)
 Stanley, M., Knitter's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Principles and Techniques of Handknitting, David & Charles, Newton Abbot (2001).
 Rutt, R., A History of Hand Knitting, reprinted, Interweave Press, Loveland (1987).
 Black, S., Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft, V&A Publishing, London (2012).
 Buckland, K., 'The Monmouth cap', Costume 13 (1979) 23-37, https://doi.org/10.1179/cos.1922.214.171.124.
 Ringgaard, M., 'The knitted sugar-loaf hat', in Fashioning the Early Modern: Dress, Textiles and Innovation in Europe 1500-1800, ed. E. Welch, Pasold Research Fund & Oxford University Press, Oxford (2017) 313-316.
 Vocabulary of Technical Terms: Fabrics, Centre International d'Étude des Textiles Anciens, Lyon (2006).
 Dury, P.; Lervad, S. 'Synonymic variation in the field of textile terminology', in Textile Terminologies in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean from the Third to the First Millenia, ed. C. Michel. & M.-L. Nosch, Oxbow Books, Oxford (2016) 1-9.
 ISO 4921:2000 Knitting Basic Concepts and Vocabulary, International Organization for Standardization, https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:4921:ed-2:v1:en (accessed 2018-7-27)
 19 ISO 8388:1998 Knitted Fabrics, International Organization for Standardization, https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:8388:ed-1:v1:en (accessed 2018-7-27).
 Emery, I., The Primary Structure of Fabrics: An Illustrated Classification, Thames & Hudson, London (1994).
 Walton, P.; Eastwood, G., A Brief Guide to the Cataloguing of Archaeological Textiles, 4th ed., Textile Research Associates, York (1988).
 Phipps, E., Looking at Textiles: A Guide to Technical Terms, J. Getty Trust Publications, Los Angeles (2011).
 Thomas, M., Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns, Hodder & Stoughton, London (1943).
 Gilbert, R., 'The king's vest and the seaman's gansey: continuity and diversity of construction in hand-knitted bod garments in north western Europe since 1550', MPhil thesis, Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton, United Kingdom (2009).
 Malcolm-Davies, J.; Gilbert, R.; Lervad, S., 'Unravelling the confusions: Defining concepts to record archaeological and historical evidence for knitting', Archaeological Textiles Review 60 (2018) 10-24.
 Sun, N.; Pei-Luen, R.; Ma, L., 'Understanding lurkers in online communities', Computers in Human Behavior 38 (2014) 110-117, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.05.022.
 Malcolm-Davies, J., 'Knitting virtual tribes together: new audiences for cultural objects', in Florence Heri-Tech - The Future of Heritage Science and Technologies, ed. R. Furferi, R. Giorgi, L. Governi, M. Matteini & Y. Volpe, IOP Publishing (2018), https://doi.org/10.1088/1757-899X/364/1/012031.
 Gilbert, R., 'Do you read my signal? An attempt at the application of clear terminology in recording archaeological knitwork', Archaeological Textiles Review 60 (2018) 25-33.
 Ringgaard, M., 'The church cap and the crypt cap: Early Modern knitted fragments found in Denmark', Archaeological Textiles Review 60 (2018) 34-41.
 O'Connell Edwards, L., 'Knitted wool stockings in the Museum of London: A study of 16th century construction', Archaeological Textiles Review 60 (2018) 42-51.
 Odstrilová, S., 'Early Modern stockings in museums in the Czech Republic', Archaeological Textiles Review 60 (2018) 51-63.
 Lundin. H., 'Knitted fragments of clothes excavated from the Swedish 17th century flagship Kronan', Archaeological Textiles Review 60 (2018) 64-74.
 Willemsen, A., 'Two knitted mittens from a 17th century Dutch shipwreck', Archaeological Textiles Review 60 (2018) 75-82.
How to Cite
This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium following no commercial or derivatives, provided the original author and source are credited.
Copyright remains with the authors.