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Query about gloves

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:23 pm
by Mad Mab
Does anyone have any sources for knitted hancoverings (gloves/fingerless gloves/mittens etc) in the mid C16th in Britain? I'm after something to keep me hands warm and was trying to find out whether it would be likely to have knitted stuff (and what form that would take) or whether I'd be better off sewing meself some sturdy mittens.
Just a random query as to whether anyone has found any evidence out there or if they could point me in the right direction.
Anyhow, thank you,

Re: Query about gloves

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:02 pm
by Karen Larsdatter
See -- there's a few examples. :wink:

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:33 pm
by Mad Mab
Cool! Many thanks. :D
Will have a rummage through that lot tonight and see if I can find something that suits.

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:02 am
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
'Spin Off' magazine, Spring 1996 had an article "Early Mitteyns: Two Bags" by the late Deborah Pulliam. She also worked out a pattern for a pair of fulled mitts with long gauntlets which was included.

She was aware of the lone pre 1600 child's mitten in the London Museum, but recreated her 16thC/17thC mitts using a combination of the few picture sources she could find and her own knowledge of historical knitting. I'd guess the issue is long sold out, so if anyone would like a scan of Deborah Pulliam's *17thC style mitteyns*, I'd be happy to send it - as I imagine Deborah's best guess was as good as anybody's. She dedicated her life to reconstructing historical knitted garments.

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:23 pm
by Sophia
Some of the Kentwellies make scoggers (as per the Mary Rose find) which are a sort of knitted oversleeve. They then cheat by making them a bit longer and putting in a thumb slit just after the garter stitch welt.

Not sure how entirely authentic they are but they were much appreciated over Easter by those who had them.

Soph :D

P.S. Are you Kentwelling this year Mab or just sticking to reiving?

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:32 pm
by Mad Mab
No, I'm sticking with the reiving. Too many things to do, not enough money/time to do it in/with.
You seamstressing again?

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:45 pm
by Sophia
Curiously enough I may well be being a hose knitter this year (I have spent most of the winter experimenting with variations on a knee length version of the Gunnister hose) though have also indicated that would be happy to be tailoring again.

Good luck with the reiving - pity I am so far away as it looks like a great group and a fabulous site.

Soph :D

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:28 pm
by Mad Mab
Sophia wrote:Curiously enough I may well be being a hose knitter this year (I have spent most of the winter experimenting with variations on a knee length version of the Gunnister hose) though have also indicated that would be happy to be tailoring again.

Good luck with the reiving - pity I am so far away as it looks like a great group and a fabulous site.

Soph :D
Cool! :D
Definitely having fun with the reiving but will miss folks down south as well.

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:13 pm
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
Don't know a lot about the bit of knitting called 'scoggers' but the little I gathered was that it's more honestly an unidentified fragment of knitting - no real way of knowing what it was and off the top of me head can't recall anything that would back it up for that use. So when I see medieval folk in 'Fame' legwarmers, only seen them worn on the legs not arms blimey - either way I have me doubts)....I makes me worry.... :D

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:22 pm
by Sophia
Vd'A - there were definitely knitted sleeves at this period (see Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe unlocked) and this item is still referred to as a scogger or sleeve in the most recent Mary Rose publications I have seen (unfortunately I do not own the relevant books so can't give a quote).

I can't give a definite yay or nay on the absolute authenticity - but an additional plain woollen knitted sleeve seems perfectly reasonable to me. I was at Kentwell for most of Easter Weekend (early retirement forced by illness) where I was working in the kitchen and was wearing when it was at its coldest, knitted woollen hose, High neck shift (1584), linen petticoat, woollen petticoat, woollen kirtle (no sleeves due to work type), worsted gown (no sleeves due to work type). I was also wearing start ups and pattens to insulate me from the stone floor.

My compatriots in places such as the dairy (where it got so cold the enzymes in the milk wouldn't work for cheese and once the butter came in it was too cold to shape properly) were having a really interesting time and I know they were very grateful for their knitted sleeves/scoggers/fingerless glove sleeves which could be rolled/pushed up in a way which you simply can't do with a narrow woven sleeve. People do not tend to wear them except when the weather is very cold/wet and the best among them are knitted from handspun worsted wool.

There were almost certainly coarse woollen hose available by this date, particularly in Suffolk. Sudbury, to which Kentwell Hall at Long Melford is very close, is mentioned in Rutt as having become a major centre of hose/stocking knitting.

There are Kentwellies who are much more knowledgeable about knitting history than I am and next time get hold of one of them I shall quiz them on the subject.

Sophia :D

Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:23 pm
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
Just found a pic of that pre 1600 mitten here:

Also an interesting pic of a 'felted' vest.

The text isn't so useful - she says about there being no such thing as purl stitches at that date, despite the fact about an inch away from her statement is the photo of the mitten - the mitten starts with garter stitch which, done in the round, means you have to purl alternate rows! Another case of someone repeating received wisdom untested, rather than using their own eyes.

Useful pics, though. Deborah Pulliam's article in Spin Off (above) will give you a similar pattern but there are also very similar patterns in The Batsford Book of Traditional Scandinavian Knitting, by Sheila McGregor. OOP but maybe libraries still carry it. Off the top of me head, think the Lovikka mitten is identical in structure.

This mitten is also two colour knitting, not unlike the later Gunnister purse.

I think I'm probably anti scogger because I was around in the 80s, where legwarmer = prat. :lol: I worked in the dairy too at the 17thC 'village' we built down south in the 1980s - we literally built the houses, then worked in them. Dairy work not for me, despite coming from long line of dairy owners on dad's side and dairy farmers on mum's.

My great-grandparents, then grandparents owned a dairy in North Leeds from 1890s - 1960s, and all the photos I have of my grandma in her work clothes, she is sleeveless. Their dairy was cold too - in fact, for some time it was little more than an outhouse (now someone's garage!) near Roundhay Park. Later they had a purpose built dairy, better equipped but also cold. I know my grandmother worked sleeveless as they were well off enough to have cameras from the start of the 20thC and take lots of informal photos of the family - dunno how true the lack of sleeves was throughout history but certainly how they often worked in the late 19thC/early 20thC. People were made of tougher stuff then, eh? :D

Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:09 pm
by Sophia
Well aware of both those items and of the Scandinavian patterns book (my mother has been knitting me a pair of mittens from there forever - something to do with a tension problem on the second mitten).

I can understand the anti-legwarmer thing - having said that back in the 80's I did knit several pairs for my sister who was a serious ballet student (classes everyday type).

Interesting that you have historical photos of dairy work showing people working without sleeves. Any chance of a peep at the photos?

Another thought I had about scoggers for outdoor workers who need flexible but tight sleeves is that if the wool is work in oil they are spendidly waterproof.

Soph :D

Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:27 pm
by sally
There is a nice picture of a mitten on the Museum of London Medieval Gallery website, I'm hoping to start work on some similar ones soon :)
The Mary Rose book does indeed confirm scoggers as being 'real' items of clothing, not modern made up versions based on fragments.

Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:43 pm
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
I dunno if the scoggers are putative or not but can see that anything knitted is a lot more comfortable and easier to live with, than its equivalent that is tailored, so can well believe it... Anyone whose worn knitted hose for the 17thC would not willingly go back to cloth, methinks! Drama students still had legwarmers when I was at uni. It was about the same time as Kids from Fame... Not a good look but you always knew it was the drama dept from some distance, because of the leg warmers... :wink:

My feeling is for working in a real dairy (as opposed to re-enactment), they'd be problematic as too unhygienic. You'd roll sleeves up, which would defeat the object of wearing detachable ones, I'd'a thought. But then a lot of rustic cheeses are pretty rank... Buggered if I'd get cold, re-enacting, though - wear whatever it takes. :lol: In fact that woolly vest I got the pic of above, is giving me ideas....

I dunno how to put a pic up here, and it might take me a while to track down the right part of our mountain of photos - but can certainly put summat up to show you... when/if I find it! She had a hat and everything! My grandmother was a very fashionable lady - in most pics she looks like a film star, dripping with furs and bling and carrying cute little dogs... It's hard to imagine her agreeing to be photographed in work clothes - and yet she did it more than once! That's why I remember the pics as you don't get many earlier 20thC photos of folk in their work clothes in family albums.

They had no workers - although it was one of the largest dairies in Leeds, they ran the whole thing themselves. Dad remembered watching his mum make the cheeses etc, hanging them from the ceiling. I'm presuming my great grandmother did it before her although no photos exist of her, sadly.

When WW2 was declared my grandad was off the next day so my dad, aged only 13, left school and he and his mum ran the business to keep it going during the war and from what I hear, my dad did a roaring trade on the black market despite only being a teenager. My grandmother kept the whole business afloat til the War ended, latterly on her own as dad joined up when he was 17, leaving her to run it entirely alone. They sold kosher milk for years. :lol: My grandad still had the dairy and stables - all closed up and disused - when I was a kid. I used to love playing with the milk bottles cos they had my name on - how cool was that!