Knitting Traditions Fall 2012

Knitting Traditions Fall 2012

Imagine: you’re twenty-seven years old, you leave your family and the only life you’ve ever known, take a few meager possessions (but do include your beloved spinning wheel), and embark on an 8,000-mile journey to the unknown. This is what Jeremina Robertson Colvin did in 1885 when she left her home in the Shetland Islands for Cowichan Station in British Columbia, Canada. When Jeremina met Mary Edwards, a Cowichan, the two women formed a bond that remained steadfast throughout their lives: knitting played a major role in their friendship.

Jeremina and Mary’s story (see page 122) is just one of many compelling accounts in this fifth edition of PieceWork’s Knitting Traditions. Other passionate knitters whom you’ll meet include Cornelia Mee (page 93), a nineteenth-century English author of knitting books and certainly one of the first knitting entrepreneurs, and the American poet and knitter Virginia Woods Bellamy (page 22), who received a patent for her “Number Knitting” in 1948.

You’ll also learn how the surprise discovery in an antiquarian bookshop of a color illustration from a nineteenth-century French book led Donna Druchunas to develop her Bavarian Leg Warmers project (page 68). It seems that knitting traditions and connections are everywhere, sometimes in the most unlikely places. Sprinkled throughout are projects taken from PieceWork’s collection of vintage magazines (look for the word “vintage” in the title of each project). All instructions are reproduced exactly as they appeared in the originals, warts (and errors) and all. A group of intrepid and talented knitters worked the projects from the original instructions using modern yarns and needles. Photographs of the finished articles give you an idea of what to expect.

A few of the vintage patterns incorporate crochet. Although the magazines in which they appear were published in the United States, many of the patterns originated in England and use English crochet notation. The “Crochet” box in Techniques on page 141 demystifies the differences between English and American notation.

I welcome you to this installment of PieceWork’s Knitting Traditions. It’s packed with historical context on the craft’s rich history, stories about extraordinary knitters, and projects for new and lifelong knitters. Enjoy!