This is PieceWork’s seventh annual Historical Knitting issue!
A few highlights from this issue:
Armenian Knitted Socks
Working with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts was a dream come true. Both of us are indebted to the Martin Fellows Hatch family for lending us the stunning Armenian sock (circa 1840-1860) for study and photography. Priscilla’s colorful adaptation of the original graces our cover; complete instructions and charts are provided.
The History of Polka Jackets
I’d always wondered about polka jackets. Were they named for the dance? Who wore them? When? All these questions and more are answered in Helen Bonney’s article on the polka knitting craze. By 1849, a polka jacket, a tiny waist, and a voluminous skirt covering layers of crinolines were the pinnacle of fashion. Helen transcribed instructions for a knitted polka jacket from an 1849 pattern. Carol Rhoades rewrote the instructions for today’s knitters and knitted our sample.
The Earliest Known Knitting Pattern
NATURA EXENTERATA: OR NATURE UNBOWELLED By the most Exquisite Anatomizers of Her. Wherein are contained, Her choicest SECRETS, digested into RECEIPTS, fitted for the Cure of all sorts of Infirmities, whether Internal or External, Acute or Chronical, that are Incident to the Body of Man is a thick compendium of household advice published in London in 1655. Among its remedies, recipes (including medicinal ones), gardening advice, beauty tips, and guidelines for restoring wine that has become ‘Sowre,’ are instructions for knitting stockings: the earliest known printed knitting pattern. Author Chris Laning relates her efforts to knit from this pattern and offers her adaption for you to knit your own.
Galina Khmeleva once again shares her extensive knowledge of and love for Orenburg knitting, this time with traditional mittens for men and boys. And when we learned of the adventures of the English Captain Burnaby on his unauthorized trip to Russia and his encounter with Orenburg knitting in 1875, we knew we had to include it here.
There’s much more. Each article and project in this issue adds to knitting’s illustrious history. Have a glorious time discovering it. I certainly did! -Jeane Hutchins, Editor