Knitting is the craft process of forming a type of fabric by using yarn. It started out as a craft that many women learned in order to make clothing for the brutal winter months, but over the generations has become the hobby of choice instead.
The Lowly Beginning of Knitting
Knitting originated around the 3rd century AD. The oldest recorded knitting artifact is a sock. Many believe that socks or stockings were the first and most essential items created with knitting. Knit stockings is also where the idea of Christmas stockings was derived from. Europeans are known to have the first knit items that were created by Muslim knitters. Knit items were originally reserved for those families of wealth before it became a product of basic necessity. There are even a variety of European paintings that show wealthy families receiving knitted gloves. Archaeologists have found knit items all over Europe that date back to the 14th century.
Knitting – a Necessity for Warmth
During the 17th century, knitting was a primary task completed by those who lived in the Scottish Isles. These families made sweaters, stockings, socks and other accessories in order to earn money to survive on. Many of today’s different knitting techniques were developed by this culture. This pattern continued until the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. During this time period most of the knit cloth production was completed in factories. This increased overall product output but also eliminated the need for at home artisans to make items. Many of them were forced to join the factory working world.
When Sweaters Became Socks
During World War II knitting was promoted by the American Red Cross as a craft to help supply socks to the troops at war. Due to the fact that wool was in short supply during these harsh times, women were encouraged to unwravel those knit items they owned that were no longer wearable and use them to make socks.
In the 1980s knitting took a nose dive in production. The craft was seen as old fashioned and with the boom of factory produced clothing that used machines instead of people, there were few to carry on the tradition of this talent. This dawn of the technological age also meant that consumers could purchase a factory made knit item for a fraction of the cost of making it themselves.
The Ancient Craft Revived as the Hobby of Choice
By the early 21st century knitting began to make a comeback as the hobby of choice. With more people choose natural fibers such as alpaca and angora. Now knitting classes are regularly taught at the local craft store and public library in many areas. People choose knitting as a craft that is relaxing and yields outstanding products. Knit sweaters, scarves, gloves, stockings, socks and other items can be sold for a small profit or given to friends and family as gifts for any occasion. If you are new to knitting, there are kits that come organized with all the tools and instructions you will need to get started on your first knitting project.