Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 275

The History of Knitting

 

Hello Everyone

 

 

My Auntie Alice has been knitting again this week and so there are some more knitting patterns on this blog post for you.

 

The knitting club at the Rocky Bay Primary School run by Mrs MacNamara is a great success. The children were getting on really well – before their school was shut up in March.

 

Do you have a knitting club at your school?  Have you been learning to knit during lock down?

 

When you are a beginner, you really need to have easy patterns to practise on. Very long scarves may look easy but they are a long slog and very boring for knitting newbies.  And l can guarantee you will have dropped quite a few stitches along the way.

 

You might have not even noticed that the little perishers slipped away from you until you see them many rows below where you have got to – it is very disheartening, isn’t it?

 

Much better to use the knitting patterns on this blog, l think!

 

How long have you been knitting?

 

Some people find it easy to learn and some people find it more difficult.

 

lf you have picked up how to knit by now, you may well have become addicted.

 

But have you ever asked the question ‘how long have people been knitting’?

 

The answer may surprise you.

 

The word we use comes from an old word that meant ‘to knot’ (and it is amazing to think how many different patterns and textures you can make with just two ways of wrapping a long length of yarn around one needle with another).

 

We know that knitting in some form has been around for at least a thousand years.  lt started in or around Egypt (like a lot of other things) around 1000 AD.

 

lt was brought to Europe via Spain by crusaders or Arab invaders and the idea spread across the rest of Europe from there.

 

Knitting in those days was usually done by people who had the time to do it, like the very rich or people in the Catholic Church who used it to make religious garments or accessories – like pouches to put the bones of saints in.

 

By the 1500s, knitting was a popular way of creating knitted stockings which were hugely fashionable at the time.

 

ln the Middle Ages, knitting guilds were set up by men who wanted to train workers and promote their craft.  These guilds were the forerunners of the kind of professional organizations we have today.  An apprentice would take six years to qualify.  They would spend three years learning technical skills and three years travelling to collect knowledge and patterns from other countries.

 

ln 1589, an Englishman called William Lee invented a knitting machine.  ln the centuries to follow, many more machines that could do the work of human hands much more quickly, were invented and improved until the lndustrial Revolution would totally change people’s lives forever.

 

Knitting was taken to the Americas by the colonists.

 

ln the 17th and 18th centuries, knitting was a very important industry in the Scottish lslands.

 

Fair lsle patterns have beautiful patterns worked in stripes across the knitting in various colours, at the same time the yarn is woven into the back of the work.  This kind of knitting is not easy to do until you are more experienced.

 

Fair lsle is a remote island between Orkney and Shetland in the seas near the north of Scotland.  The patterns show the influence of Scandinavian designs.  Garments using these patterns were very popular from the 1920s onwards – a fashion probably triggered by the Royal family and a lady called Coco Channel who was a clothes designer.  Jumpers were especially worn for sport like tennis, golf and cricket.

 

On these islands, the weather can be severe, and farmers are limited in what they can grow and the animals they can keep.  Sheep can survive on poor ground and sheep in this area produce very thick wool to keep themselves warm.

 

Lace could be knitted too and this type of work could be made into beautiful shawls and scarves.

 

The Aran lslands are situated off the west coast of lreland.  They are now known for a particular style of knitting but it may surprise you to learn that the Aran jumper is a 20th century invention; so not that old.  By the 1930s, they were being sold in shops in Dublin and soon became popular across the world.

 

Hand-knitted, Aran jumpers are still more valued than machine-knitted ones. 

 

The pattern in an Aran jumper is very attractive.  The jumpers are thick and warm.  The type of wool used to knit them makes them wind-proof.  They are good clothes to wear on a cold day.  The traditional, dark-coloured, oiled wool was used to make fishermen’s jumpers.  They allowed the men to move and work but were warm to wear – they were like a second skin.

 

You often find that fishing communities and knitting go together. 

 

ln the 19th and 20th centuries, poor people often knitted at home in their small cottages and sold their work in order to add to their income when the rest of their daily work was finished.  Both men and women would knit, and children would learn the skill from an early age.  They would knit blankets, caps, gloves, stockings, shawls and other garments.  lt was a simple practice not requiring a lot of equipment.  lt is what we call a cottage industry.

 

lt was especially important in the Scottish lslands, where whole families would sit together and knit and in Yorkshire too where sheep were also an important source of income.

 

During the two world wars and the Great Depression, knitting became fashionable because of shortages and the need to clothe troops going off to war.  By this time, it was mostly women who knitted, and girls were taught at school.  People were encouraged to unpick old garments that perhaps had holes in them and use the wool to knit new garments in order to recycle the wool.  ln this way people could contribute to the war effort.

 

Knitting was still popular after World War ll but by the 1980s it was considered old-fashioned and young people stopped wanting to learn to knit.  Sales of patterns and yarn slumped.

 

But at the beginning of the 21st century, knitting started to become popular again.  ln fact, alongside the explosion of new technologies, a new handmade revolution began.  People loved to knit as a hobby rather than as a necessity or to make money.

 

Knitting cafes were started up.  People could join social groups, learn, chat, swap ideas and eat cake.  Free patterns and advice along with how to videos could be found online.

 

And there are new materials to use too. Alpaca wool, angora wool and even yak wool is available as well as wool from many different breeds of sheep.  Specialist breeders can sell their wool online to a huge, worldwide market rather than the small local area that a market or high street shop could reach.

 

Cotton is widely available and you can also knit with silk and even bamboo fibres.

 

Famous celebrities such as actors and models have helped to make knitting popular.  They find it something to do when they are waiting to be called onto a film set or runway (catwalk).

 

lt has also become more popular with men and boys than it was last century.

 

So has yard bombing, which is a kind of graffiti – without permission, knitters cover the trunks of trees, bridges, steps and street furniture with knitting or crochet.

 

So if you are learning to knit, you can consider yourself part of a revolution that is just one more chapter in the history of knitting.

 

 

Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

 

Love and kisses

 

 

Salty Sam

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www.christina-sinclair.com

 

 

 

Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke

 

Bill: That is a cool pair of odd socks you have on Bob. 

 

Bob: l know, and l have another pair just like them at home!

 

 

Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com

 

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Picture Gallery

 

(Scan.org)

 

Fairisle knitting

 

(Aranislandsinfo)

 

Aran knitting

(Murray clans,com)

 

The stocking frame

(Gopixpic.com)

1920s

 

1940s knitting pattern

 

BNPS.co.uk 
‘Yarn bombing’ involves people leaving knitted reminders on objects as varied as trees, lampposts & even a bus. The craze that started in America has now spread to the UK.
Magda Sayeg from the all female guerilla knitting group ‘Knitta Please’ has covered an entire bus in Mexico City

A knitting covered bus

 

Knitting pattern from Salty Sam’s Blog

 

 

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  desk   THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESKdesk

 coffee

 

We can’t have a blog post about knitting without some knitting patterns, so here is another animal to add to your little knitted animal collection.

This time it is a rabbit.

 

 

NEWSDESK MINIMAKE

A LITTLE KNITTED RABBIT

 

RABBIT BODY (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and blue dk yarn cast on 20 stitches

Knit 24 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off – instead run a length of yarn through the stitches so that you can take them off your needle

 

RABBIT LEGS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and blue dk yarn cast on 10 stitches

Knit 12 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off – instead run a length of yarn through the stitches so that you can take them off your needle

 

RABBIT ARMS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and blue dk yarn cast on 8 stitches

Knit 8 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off – instead run a length of yarn through the stitches so that you can take them off your needle

 

RABBIT EARS

Using 4mm knitting needles and blue dk yarn cast on 5 stitches

Knit 6 rows of garter stitch

(Continue knitting in garter stitch)

Knit 2 together knit 3

Knit 2 together knit2

Knit 2 together knit 1

Knit 2 together

Cast off

Run the yarn around the upper rim of the ear and pull in slightly to make a neat shape

Fold the bottom of the ear and sew corners together so that there is a trough in the centre of the ear

 

 

TO MAKE UP

  1. Sew up the centre back seam of the body right sides together and turn body right way out
  2. Sew up the bottom seam wrong sides together
  3. Sew up the leg inside seams with right sides together
  4. Turn the legs the right way out and pull in the ends of the feet and slip the yarn up the back seam to the back of the ankle and secure into the back seam
  5. Bind yarn tightly around the bottom of the legs to make ankles
  6. Lightly stuff the legs and sew the tops onto the bottom of the body by laying the legs onto the stomach and sewing from behind (place the leg seams facing each other)
  7. Sew up the under arm seams with right sides together
  8. Turn the arms the right way out
  9. Bind yarn tightly around the arms to make wrists in the same way that the ankles were made
  10. Lightly stuff the arms and sew the tops onto the sides of the body by laying the arms onto the chest and sewing from behind
  11. Stuff the body and pull in the top of the head to close it up then take the yarn down the back seam and secure into the back seam at shoulder level
  12. Bind some yarn tightly around the body twice above the arms to make a neck
  13. Sew the ears into place
  14. Sew a pink nose onto the centre of the face using a few stitches then the eyes onto the front of the face using black dk yarn – make the eyes with French knots (wind the yarn around the needle three times)
  15. Give your rabbit a bow with coloured yarn
  16. Sew a bobble onto the bottom of the back seam to make a bunny tail using sewing thread
  17. If you are making your rabbit into a decoration for a bag or key ring, sew the chain to the top of the head

 

 

TIP

When you sew up the seams take the yarn to the outside of the knitting ready to make the ankles, wrists and neck

 

 

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Quick Quiz

 

Of course, in order to follow a knitting pattern, your counting skills need to be good.

Just for fun…

Can you put the right number into these sayings?

 

  1. lt knocked me for ___
  2. _____ time lucky
  3. Having ______ thoughts
  4. l am all at _____ and ______
  5. lt is ______ to none
  6. At the ________ hour
  7. ___ a penny
  8. Once bitten _____ shy
  9. _____ come _____ serve
  10. ln ___ minds about it
  11. l was in _______ heaven
  12. l was on cloud ____

 

And do you know what they mean?

 

 

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lt’s the Weekend!

 

 

HOW TO MAKE A PAlR OF STRlPED HAND CUFFS

These gloves are very striking and would be fun to wear on a cold day.  They will keep your hands warm but your fingers will still be free to get your pocket money out in the sweet shop.

 

HANDCUFF GLOVES (KNIT TWO)

LARGE CHILD

Using 3¾mm knitting needles and green dk yarn cast on 34 stitches

Slip 1, knit 2 (p2, k2) to last 3 stitches, p3

Repeat this last row 15 times (16 rows of rib)

 

Change to 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row (35 sts)

 

Knit to the end of the row

 

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row (36 sts)

 

Purl to the end of the row

 

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to green yarn

Knit 1 row

Knit 1 row

 

Change to red yarn

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to green yarn

Knit 1 row

Knit 1 row

 

Repeat the last 6 rows 3 times so that you have 5 green stripes

 

Change to red yarn

Knit 10 rows of garter stitch (knit every row)

 

Sew up inner side seam 8cm from the bottom and 6cm down from the top to leave a gap for your thumb to poke out.

 

HANDCUFF GLOVES (KNIT TWO)

SMALL CHILD

Using 3¾mm knitting needles and green dk yarn cast on 26 stitches

Slip 1, knit 2 (p2, k2) to last 3 stitches, p3

Repeat this last row 11 times (12 rows of rib)

 

Change to 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row (27 sts)

 

Knit to the end of the row

 

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row (28 sts)

 

Purl to the end of the row

 

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to green yarn

Knit 1 row

Knit 1 row

 

Change to red yarn

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to green yarn

Knit 1 row

Knit 1 row

 

Repeat the last 6 rows 2 times so that you have 4 green stripes

 

Change to red yarn

Knit 6 rows of garter stitch (knit every row)

 

Sew up inner side seam 6cm from the bottom and 3cm down from the top to leave a gap for your thumb to poke out.  Stitch around the thumb hole using over sew stitching to neaten the edge.  The knitting around the thumb hole is stocking stitch which means that it will curl up and fold in around the thumb.

 

TIP

Try the gloves on to see whether the thumb hole is in the right place for you before you finish sewing up the gloves.

 

 

Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand

 

 

Quick Quiz Answers

 

  1. lt knocked me for six – it hit me really hard
  2. Third time lucky – trying it for the third time might/did work
  3. Having second thoughts – you might change your mind
  4. l am all at sixes and sevens – l am upset/confused
  5. lt is second to none – it is the best
  6. At the eleventh hour – just before time ran out
  7. Ten a penny – cheap
  8. Once bitten twice shy – keen not to make the same mistake again
  9. First come first serve – the first person in the queue gets served first
  10. ln two minds about it – can’t make a decision
  11. l was in seventh heaven – very happy
  12. l was on cloud nine – very happy

 

 

 

For an Embroidery Stitches Chart

Check out Blog Post 3

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