Crochet · Examples · History · Structures

Shepherd’s knitting in 1780

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I’m currently preparing an article for publication about the broader topic covered by this post. When the article has appeared, I’ll place a link to it here, with the initial text of the post edited to provide supplementary information.

2 thoughts on “Shepherd’s knitting in 1780

  1. I have been doing my own brand of research into the history of crochet and have been somewhat frustrated at the lack of modern interest in the subject. I was therefore delighted to come across your blog a few months ago. Up until now, I have not felt qualified to comment but a minor point you make in this post didn’t quite follow through for me. You suggest that the pattern of wear on the crochet soles of the bootee indicate that the leather sole is a repair. I wonder if you could elaborate where exactly the wear has occurred. I have in the past worn knitted slippers with a leather sole attached to the outside (bought fully constructed) and the way the soles wore is similar to the way the lining of many slippers that I have owned has worn. The knitted sole or lining tends to wear from the inside under the big toe and under the heel due to friction with the foot or sock while the more robust outer sole remains intact for longer. I haven’t been fortunate enough to examine the bootees myself but I wonder if there is a possibility that they have worn in the way I describe and that the leather sole could have been added at the initial construction. This of course does not affect any judgement in the nalbinding vs crochet debate but I thought it was worth considering.

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    1. Thank you very much for the detailed comments. The wear appears just as you describe it. The real problem in explaining it is that the socks are far too small to have been worn by someone who might wear through them by extensive walking. They are of infant size and it is surprising to see signs of their having been worn by a toddler, much less someone capable of subjecting them to significant wear. An alternative suggestion might be that the wear is a cumulative effect of the socks having been handed down from child to child a large number of times.

      The soles were likely affixed by a separate hand, in any case. The thread with which they are attached appears younger than the yarn itself, nor is there any sign of wear on either the inside or outside of the leather. That’s what raised the question of their being repairs rather than a service requested of a local cobbler or leather worker when the socks had been freshly shepherd’s knitted.

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