Knitting Traditions Fall 2011
Do you crave travel? Reading PieceWork’s third edition of Knitting Traditions may temper your urge to be off and away—or possibly make it even stronger.
The journey begins in the United Kingdom and travels through continental Europe, Asia, Oceania, South America, and North America for a global view of knitting’s glorious past and present. Along the way, you’ll meet the “terrible [formidable] knitters e’ [of] Dent,” women and men who produced prodigious quantities of intricate knitting in mid-nineteenth-century England; the knitters of Estonia’s Kihnu Island, where knitting incorporating traditional motifs is still the main handcraft; Lydia Gladstone from Bukovina, Ukraine, who knitted beautiful stockings while in the care of Catholic nuns in Germany during World War II; Andean male knitters noted for their superior workmanship and complex designs; and many more. Their stories are rich; their work, exquisite and inspiring.
You’ll find information on the history and application of several techniques. Two examples: the development of the common heel from its origin in sixteenth-century European knitted stockings along with the step-by-step instructions to make your own stockings and “Toasty” gloves that take you through the basics of Sweden’s twined knitting. And then there are the Mongolian Gobi Desert Socks. The traditional socks are made with plied heels and toes because traditional camel- or yak-hide boots often don’t have a right and a left, “making that extra bit of padding most welcome.” Believing that most readers will not need the extra padding inside their non-Mongolian footwear, we opted to use a uniform camel yarn in two colors in our version. (Gobi Desert camels are amazing; see the photograph on page 79!)
We’ve also included a gift section. Highlights are an Orenburg warm shawl, “the ultimate expression of love and respect for a Russian woman”; a delightful flock of Estonian sheep; and miniature mittens for holiday decorations or package ties.
Although several of the articles and projects originally appeared in PieceWork magazine, most were written expressly for this issue by some of today’s preeminent knitting historians and designers. Each of them is a champion of knitting’s vibrant traditions. I hope that this edition of Knitting Traditions feeds your own wanderlust and provides you with all the tools you’ll need for your own knitting journey. Bon voyage!