Early instructions · History · Knitting · Terminology

More knitting geography

As discussed in a previous post, there is no demonstrable geographic or historical basis for categorizing the knitting of fabric primarily with twisted stitches as “Eastern,” or knitting with predominantly open stitches as “Western.” Similar conditions apply to the terms “English” and “continental” when used to designate the two most widespread methods for holding yarn. Most… Continue reading More knitting geography

Cross-knit looping · Early instructions · Knitting loom · Techniques

Methods for looping wire

Instructions for knitting tubes of thin metal wire on a small peg loom were published in 1822 in the Dutch periodical Penélopé. They describe a technique that is referred to in instructions for a loom-knitted purse that appeared in an 1823 issue of the same publication. I’ll translate the wirework instructions extensively in a separate… Continue reading Methods for looping wire

Crochet · Early instructions · Tools

Flat-hook crochet in 1833

The instructions for the three crocheted purses in the 1823 volume of Penélopé provide the first known written description of crochet in its modern form. The 1833 volume of the same periodical includes a section headed “Something more about crochet” with no comparable document having appeared in the interim (again, that has yet come to light).… Continue reading Flat-hook crochet in 1833

Early instructions · Tunisian crochet

Long-hook crochet in 1858

NOTE: The following text is pending modification to reflect subsequently noted references to the simple Tunisian crochet stitch before its first appearance in the British press. The first description in British publication of what is now commonly called ‘Tunisian crochet’ is generally attributed to Matilda Marian Pullan, who illustrated a long hook used to form a “new… Continue reading Long-hook crochet in 1858

Crochet · Early instructions

A Cinderella-style purse

The last of the three instructions for crocheted purses in the 1823 volume of Penélopé — a Cinderella-style purse — introduces crochet that is worked in a flat spiral. This is in contrast to the cylindrical construction of the other purses considered here thus far. A disc crocheted in this manner requires regular increases in the number of… Continue reading A Cinderella-style purse

Crochet · Early instructions

A purse in semi-openwork crochet

The second of the three instructions for crocheted purses in the 1823 volume of Penélopé — a Charlotte-style purse in semi-openwork — includes structural elements that are not shared with any other craft. It therefore documents crochet in its present-day form without the latitude for discussion about classification that attaches to chain stitch mesh. That is… Continue reading A purse in semi-openwork crochet

Crochet · Early instructions

A purse in simple openwork crochet

The 1823 volume of Penélopé is frequently cited as the first document that has yet come to light using the word crochet to designate the craft now commonly known by that name. Preceding occurrences of the term in similar contexts designate a hooked tool. Earlier fabric structures that would now be identified as crochet were categorized in the literature of… Continue reading A purse in simple openwork crochet