History is Fun!

Laura Ricketts’s faithful re-creation of
the little red sweater that belonged to
three-year-old Crown Prince Harald
of Norway

My favorite issue of PieceWork is here—the historical knitting special! History is my jam, as the kids say, and knitting history? Double jam!

I just adore knowing that my favorite craft has a rich, long tradition that connects me to the knitters of the past. I really enjoyed the article about a little prince escaping the *** while on a fake ski trip, and the sweater he wore on that trip. That "trip" ended up lasting for five years as the royal family of Norway avoided capture.

Here’s editor Jeane Hutchins to tell you more about this wonderful issue of PieceWork.

Knitting Through History

The back of an Eesti müts, a beautiful Estonian bonnet

We embarked on devoting one issue per year to historical knitting with the January/February 2007 issue. Each issue has provided a glimpse into the rich, centuries-old, and sometimes poignant history of this beloved craft. We’ve met fascinating people and explored knitting skills that are quite simply beyond the extraordinary. These issues provide us with the opportunity to learn about those who wielded two or more metal, wooden, bone, or ivory pins, sticks, or needles together with yarn or thread to create a textile.

The tradition continues. In this issue, Nancy Bush describes her discovery of “Eesti Tanumüts: A Symbol of Estonian Nationality” (tanu, “coif” or “bonnet,” + müts, “hat”). Nancy says, “Incongruous as it may seem to place ‘knitting’ in the same thought as ‘war,’ ‘displaced persons,’ and ‘exile,’ knitting can bring solace, provide covering and warmth, and can offer an escape from the rigors of daily life in difficult, even dangerous, circumstances. I believe that these Estonian hats helped their makers and wearers in these ways while offering a connection to home in a time of hardship.”

Beautiful arm warmers, modeled
after the traditional sweaters
of Vörå, Finland.

In “A Crown Prince, a Knitted Sweater, and Escape from Nazi Invasion,” Laura Ricketts tells the story of the “ski trip” that wasn’t for three-year-old Crown Prince Harald of Norway.

Carol Huebscher Rhoades designed her project based on sweaters found in the Myrbergsgården Museum in Vörå, Finland (“Sweater Traditions from Finland: Vörå-Inspired Arm Warmers”), so that they “can serve as a wearable gauge swatch” for making a traditional Vörå sweater.

And in “Fashion for All: Garments Knitted from Wool Yarn in Elizabethan England,” Lesley O’Connell Edwards cites a 1583 letter from Richard Hudsoun to Sir William Heyrick in which “Richard asks William to have a purse with a lock hinge made for him from a pair of worsted stockings.” Yes, the Elizabethans were into recycling!

These are just a sampling of what’s in store for you in this issue.

So here’s to our ninth annual historical knitting issue and to 2015. I hope that both bring you joy.

—Jeane Hutchins, PieceWork magazine

Good stuff, right? I've learned so much from PieceWork over the years, and I look forward to each new issue with much enthusiasm. Subscribe to PieceWorknow so you don't miss out on any of the super content that PieceWork excels in providing!


P.S. Do you enjoy knitting history as much as I do? Share your enthusiasm in the comments!

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