Knitting Traditions Winter 2011

Knitting Traditions Winter 2011

I am so pleased to welcome you to PieceWork magazine’s second special issue of Knitting Traditions. As with the first, published in 2010, the stories and projects offer historical context for the art and craft of knitting.

Our focus here is on colorwork, texture, and lace. We explore some of the world’s oldest knitting: fi nely knitted blue-and-white cotton stockings dating to the eleventh century from Islamic countries south of the Mediterranean; whimsical figure purses made by Andean artisans; intricate gloves created by knitters in England’s Dales; surprisingly colorful wedding stockings made by Amish women in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; nålbinding, a looping technique that predates knitting by centuries; late-nineteenth-century American lace knitting by a man serving a life sentence for murder in Arizona and a woman doctor and Utah pioneer; and much more.

You’ll also find the story behind some of knitting’s more obscure techniques, such as—to cite only two— haute couture designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s “Armenian Knitting” and shagging, a New England knitters’ method of adding resilience and warmth to mittens and gloves.

The contents of Knitting Traditions comprise articles selected from PieceWork’s seventeen-year archive and our favorite Interweave books as well as new stories and projects from some of today’s best designers. The projects include mittens, gloves, and cuffs; bags and purses; stockings and socks; bedspread and quilt squares; edgings; shawls and scarves—plenty to keep your needles busy!

Beginning on page 134 are illustrations and text describing techniques, sources of materials, and a list of the abbreviations used in the projects. Many of the authors who contributed to this issue provided lists of books and articles for those seeking additional information. The complete list may be accessed on the PieceWork website:; click on “Resources” in the list on the left, then on “Knitting Traditions Further Reading,” then on the article title.

I hope you enjoy this celebration of knitting’s rich history and the knitters who came before us. Just think: Each of us who knits today is contributing to that history for the benefit of tomorrow’s knitters!