Knitting Traditions Spring 2012

Knitting Traditions Spring 2012

Here we go again! Welcome to the fourth edition of PieceWork’s Knitting Traditions. The focus this time is on Useful Articles, Adornments, and Vintage. Much of knitting’s rich history is shrouded in mystery precisely because so many knitted articles from the past were used until there was nothing left to pass on to later generations. In Useful Articles, you’ll find everything from socks, hats, and bags to a counterpane square, a seventeenth century undershirt, and a nineteenth-century petticoat. While each has a utilitarian purpose—to warm, protect, transport—each also is beautiful and has a compelling story to tell.

Adornments are articles that we may not need but so appreciate when we have them. And although some may have served a useful purpose, they weren’t necessities. Among the examples presented here are exquisite three-panel bead-knitted bags, wedding gloves steeped in Russian tradition (and worn even in summer), ceremonial cloths, and gossamer shawls and scarves.

For our Vintage section, we asked a group of talented knitters to make projects from PieceWork’s trove of vintage publications, including Peterson’s, Needlecraft, and Modern Priscilla magazines, using the original instructions. Included are Dahlia Lace in Tapestry Knitting, a sweet edging; booties and mittens for baby; a Dainty Knitted Frock “for a tiny child” or “. . .[f]or a big child with very fat arms more rows may be added to make the sleeves wider. . . .”; the sure-toplease toddler toy “Toss and Tumble”; and a stunning scarlet Carriage Shawl. The publications from which these patterns derive range in date from 1849 to 1929. Do keep in mind that the introductions and instructions are printed exactly as they appeared in the originals; no alterations or changes were made.

Six of the articles and/or projects in this issue originally appeared in PieceWork or Interweave’s Folk Shawls; the rest were commissioned for this fourth edition. I’m sure you’ll recognize the names of many of your favorite designers and perhaps find a few new ones.

As with our previous editions of Knitting Traditions, all of the stories and projects provide some historical context for the traditions behind the art and craft of knitting. Anna Zilboorg wrote in the fi rst edition of Knitting Traditions: “The beginning of knitting . . . goes back to the unknown beginning of knitting itself as an uninterrupted oral tradition.” Enjoy creating your own knitting traditions!