The History of Knitting is a long and complicated story. This article will share a few of the highlights of that story!!
The origin of knitting is placed somewhere in the Middle East, from there it spread to Europe, and then to the Americas. The earliest known examples of knitting have been found in Egypt.
In America, the mid-nineteenth century saw the beginnings of knitting as a hobby. Printed patterns began to be produced, yarns began to be produced specifically for the domestic market.
1920….The 20’s saw a vast increase in the popularity of knit-wear in America. Knit-wear , especially sweaters/pullover’s became essential part of the new fashions of the age for men, women and children.
The hardship experienced by many during the Great Depression meant many turned to knitting through necessity. It was much cheaper to knit your own garments. Some knitters took on part-time work, hand knitting for extra income.
1930…The 30’s also saw a rise in popularity of commercial knitting machine, which saw a large shift in consumers towards cheaper machine knitted products.
1940…From 1939-1945 there was a “Make do and mend” mentality during the war years. Wool was in very short supply, women were encouraged to unpick old woolen items in order to re-use the wool.
1950-1960… After the war years, 50’s-60’s, knitting had a huge boost as greater colors and styles of yarn were introduced. Girls were taught to knit in school, as it was thought to be a useful skill, not just a hobby. In fact it was in this time period that I myself learned to knit at my Grandmothers knees!!
1980…The 80’s saw a decline in popularity of knitting in the Western world. Sales of patterns and yarns slumped, as the craft was increasingly seen as old-fashioned and children were rarely taught to knit in school.
1990…By the late 90’s many of the supplier to the home knitting market had disappeared. Local wool shops supplying the same market had also suffered. but home knitting still had a strong and loyal following.
One of the most influential changes was the internet in enabling knitters to share advice, patterns and experience, but also it meant that home knitters had direct access to supplies rather being reliant on local sources. These trends have continued.
The 21st century has seen a resurgence of knitting. This resurgence can be noted in part to coincide with the general “Handmade Revolution”.
Natural fibers from animals, such as alpaca, angora, and merino, and plant fibers, chiefly cotton, have become easier and less costly to collect and process.
I am proud to say I am part of this knitting history and am also a part of the new “Handmade Revolution”…Are you a part of this knitting history, this new “Handmade Revolution”? When did you learn to knit or crochet? Are you one of the many proud knitters of the world!!!