medieval knitting

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leonturner
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medieval knitting

Post by leonturner »

Can anyone give me a brief guide as to what forms of knitting were used in the 15thC please. I dont see, or even hear of, many knitted woollen items around, but its hard to beleive they didnt exisit...
I only ask cos my mum just made me a really comfy woolly hat, and I want to wear it!
Cheers,
Leon.

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Sophia
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Post by Sophia »

There are some knitted hats around in C15th - however they are all knitted and then felted, almost hiding the actual stiches in some cases. They were also in specific styles, so beware of using a generic woolly hat for re-enactment.

Good examples of period knitted hats can be found on the sites of the following traders Sally Pointer[/ur] and [url=http://www.qualitycaps.co.uk/]Kirstie Buckland who trade at ILHF and Soutares and Clercs events respectively. They have a done a great deal of research and will be able to advise you on the right sort of hat for your period and role.

Other knitted garments do not appear to be common in this country until mid to late C16th.

The most accessible information on this can be found in "A History of Handknitting" by Richard Rutt, Batsford, 1987, ISBN-13; 978 1-931499-37-8, ISBN-10: 1-931499-37-8, should you wish to start doing your own research.

Hope this helps,

Soph :D
Last edited by Sophia on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ViscontesseD'Asbeau
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Post by ViscontesseD'Asbeau »

See if your library has 'A History of Hand Knitting' by Richard Rutt. You can find what you need to know, there.

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Post by Tuppence »

You could also try to get hold of a copy of knitting before mass production, though it may be a bit - um - dry - for what you're after - it's bit of a dweeb's book :D
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Alexander Borum
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Post by Alexander Borum »

im fairly sure that knitting wasnt around in the 15th century, but rather much later - needlebinding was however around much earlier so it would likely be the safer way to go - if you want to make sure, it is authentic.

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sally
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Post by sally »

Alexander Borum wrote:im fairly sure that knitting wasnt around in the 15th century, but rather much later - needlebinding was however around much earlier so it would likely be the safer way to go - if you want to make sure, it is authentic.
knitting is most definately around in the 15th, as already recommended above Rutts book is an excellent start- though beware one or two minor eccentricities in some of the patterns- the research itself is fine though. You are really looking at a limited range of hat styles though for this country.

What hat heve you been knitted? Post a pic and I'm sure one of us can give you an indication of whether it looks likely for the styles at that time:)

leonturner
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Post by leonturner »

I will indeed post a piccy of my hat, possibly with me in it, possibly not.
It is basically similar to the Monmouth cap style. No rolled brim, and as simple a pattern as you could hope for.
All of the above helps immensely by the way, thanks.
I did think it odd that knitted wool seems to be largely absent from a time when really complex brocades and wotnot were all the rage. I guess that there isn't much in the way of surviving artifacts from the period.
Leon.

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Post by sally »

it will depend how close it is to a Monmouth, if you have the double cast off brim, loop and other 'diagnostic' details, then you may be a bit early for it, but if its got just a simple double brim or is effectively an acorn cap, then you ought to be fine for that date as long as its just plain stockinette with no purl or other decorative stitches. How heavily felted is it? So far every extant cap I know of from any early date seems to be fairly heavily fulled after knitting. Will look forward to seeing it.

leonturner
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Post by leonturner »

No felting at all.
Any clues as to how I could perform said felting?
Leon.

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Ghost
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Post by Ghost »

didn't roman soldiers wear knitted wollen socks ?

which begs another question - if socks were around circa 400AD why aren't they accepted as being around in the late middle ages - you would not "forget" something so useful ! would you?

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Post by sally »

Ghost wrote:didn't roman soldiers wear knitted wollen socks ?

which begs another question - if socks were around circa 400AD why aren't they accepted as being around in the late middle ages - you would not "forget" something so useful ! would you?
The Romans had naalbinding, not knitting. Where it gets confusing is that there is a naalbinding stitch that looks exactly like knitting. has led to some confused reporst over the years

leonturner
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Post by leonturner »

And now with added picture..
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Hat and wearer
Hat and wearer

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sally
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Post by sally »

Hm, you have a single layer rib edging there don't you, that wouldnt come in for quite some time as we really don't see purl stitches being widely used until into the Tudor period. Whether that will be less obvious after felting I'm not sure, but I wouldnt recommend any hat with purl stitches in any form until quite a lot later I'm afraid.

Doesnt stop it being a fine hat that will keep your head warm admirably after the public go home :D , but in my opinion its not going to work as part of kit with any level of accuracy for fifteenth century. I would guess by seventeenth century its probably fine, though I can't think of any extant early hats with a rib edging at all at this precise moment. I'll try to work out when that first comes in, the overall profile of the hat looks like the sort of thing that would cross a lot of years, and you might be ok with it for a later period, its just that rib edging that leaps out a bit at first glance.

leonturner
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Post by leonturner »

Thanking you. Hat consigned to the civies bin!
Next one wont have the edging.
How bout that felting, any clues as to how to that works?
Cheers,
leon.

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sally
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Post by sally »

Once your hat is made, (a little larger than first needed), dunk it in hot water, add some soap, then agitate it, rub it, twist and scrub at it until it shrinks. Ask your mum if she ever remembers shrinking a wool jumper by accident in the wash, thats what you are aiming todo. It will thicken and close up the knit, making it more wind and waterproof and much more substantial. :)

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Post by vlasta »

There is a really nice book by Polish autor Irena Turnau "History of Knitting before Mass Production", and some 15th century items were mentioned there as well.
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Post by vlasta »

and one more page
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Post by Nigel »

vlasta wrote:There is a really nice book by Polish autor Irena Turnau "History of Knitting before Mass Production", and some 15th century items were mentioned there as well.
yes mnetioned above
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Post by Tuppence »

im fairly sure that knitting wasnt around in the 15th century, but rather much later - needlebinding was however around much earlier so it would likely be the safer way to go - if you want to make sure, it is authentic.


Naalbinding would be quite archaic by the fifteenth century - it's been estimated that knitting arrived in this country during the thirteenth entury, but has been suggested that it may have been much earlier - though obviously it'd take a while to catch on and become universal.

The real reason it took over from naalbinding is simoply because knitting is much much faster.

Offhand I think one of the cappers guilds was established during the fourteenth century, though I forget which town.
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Post by Sophia »

Coventry cappers can be traced to C13th and actual Guild was established 1424. Cappers mentioned at Hunderd Court Monmouth in 1449. (for this and further English dates see Rutt p.58 ff).

Soph :D
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Post by auldMotherBegg »

And don't forget knitted chain mail...

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Post by Sophia »

:roll: :P :twisted:
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Alicia
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Post by Alicia »

Hello,

Following an enquiry from a new member, I've been trying to pin down when knitting came into general circulation in England and whether it was restricted to caps or also extended to stockings (which I've always been told were naalbound) or other garments.

I've found a lot of web pages that mention that knitting came in any time between 1200 - 1500, but nothing that mentions sources or evidence supporting this.

Can anyone help? I'll have a look in the library for the books mentioned above, but I don't really need an in depth study, just an evidence based yea or nay.

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sally
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Post by sally »

Depends what you mean by general. There are fragments of 14th century knitting in the collections of the Museum of London, and they think they represent simple caps knitted in the round, this is also supported by images of knitting Madonnas from the continent, shown knitting in the round, and there are continental items that survive to help flesh out the picture, by the late 15th century you should be fine with a wider range of styles, but still, all in the round and you don't tend to get purl stitch used, its all done in stockinette.

Pouches are ok, especially relic pouches, and ecclesiastic gloves move to being knitted fairly early. Most stockings are sewn wool by the medieval period, naalbinding is early and goes out of use in Britain fairly fast as best we can tell.

knit stockings in England are relatively late, they seem to get them in part sof the continent a bit earlier, but if you are pre Henrician I would give them a miss.

The medieval gallery at teh Museum of London also has on display mittens and ababy vest, but I think they are 1500ish in date, so again, relatively late for medieval

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Post by Karen Larsdatter »

Check out http://larsdatter.com/knit.htm and also (in addition to Rutt's History of Hand Knitting) Hosiery and Knitwear: Four Centuries of Small-Scale Industry in Britain c. 1589-2000 by Stanley Chapman, and The Rural Economy of England by Joan Thirsk (there's a chapter on the English stocking-knitting industry in the 16th & 17th centuries).

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Post by Alicia »

Thanks Sally, We do Edwards 1 - 3 so are on the early side of medieval.

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Post by Simon_Diment »

Alicia Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:35 am Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Sally, We do Edwards 1 - 3 so are on the early side of medieval.
Medieval runs from circa C5th to 1485ish ( Richard III last medieval king )
Early Medieval - C5th to 1000AD
High Medieval - C11th to C13th
Late Medieval - C14th C15th

So technically if you're Doing Eddies I to III you're Late High and Early Late Medieval :lol:

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sally
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Post by sally »

Alicia wrote:Thanks Sally, We do Edwards 1 - 3 so are on the early side of medieval.
Stick to just a few plain knitted round or acorn style caps, (the Saint Denis cap is the right shape in Karens links for example )and the odd knitted reliquary style pouch then. You should be safe with those as long as not everyone in the group is sporting them. Caps should be well fulled to the point where its not immediately obvious they are knitted, that also helps get the right shape when you block them after manufacture.

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