Ask anybody about knitting and they would be able to tell you the basics of what it entails but ask them where it originated, and you’d soon have a blank face staring back at you. Where did knitting start? Where is it still used today? Let’s answer both these questions today!
Origins of Knitting
With so many materials and historical artefacts surviving throughout time, it’s difficult to pinpoint a time where knitting started. However, examples of what experts would now recognise as knitting can be traced back to as early as the 5th century. According to historians, the technique was first developed in the Middle East before then moving to Europe.
How did it move? Wool traders would traverse the planet and the technique soon spread to different regions. Despite this, early examples of knitting from Egypt used cotton fibres as opposed to wool. During these early days, people would knit materials with various symbols to encourage good luck.
For nearly 1,000 years, knitting continued to bubble underneath the surface. Eventually, fishermen in the 1300s would use knitted textiles to stay warm when out at sea. This includes woollen, thick jumpers. From this, more and more parts of society implemented knitting to produce clothing. Two centuries later, the first knitting machines were developed to make hosiery for the upper classes.
Soon after, knitting reached the Highlands of Scotland and men were employed in factories to make stockings. Over time, the industry grew, and the Scottish factories would send stockings all over Europe. When the 20th century came around, knitwear was available to all classes and became part of the fashion that we know and love today.
Knitting in the Modern World
Technology has changed the face of many industries, and the knitting world hasn’t escaped its clutches. For example, knitting machines are now more advanced and efficient than ever before. Elsewhere, the world of social media has commercialised the hobby even more. Also, the internet has improved the availability of materials for all. One simple order online and knitting enthusiasts can have products delivered to their front door the very next day.
Furthermore, those who love knitting also have access to instructional videos on YouTube as well as podcasts, forums, communities, and all sorts of other resources.
With this in mind, millions of people around the world still knit in the traditional way (including many celebrities). For example, Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley was seen knitting in the stands at the recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
What’s more, knitwear is still popular in the Western world. As soon as the season changes and the days get shorter, more knitwear appears in the shops. Consumers love knitwear because it offers thickness, warmth, and durability. Although knitting might go back many centuries, the technique is so clever that very few improvements have been made to the actual process. It still offers durability, strength, and warmth to all those who wear the material.
These days, lots of people are taking their knitting skills to websites like Etsy and selling their creations. Also, the classic knitting technique is still used for products like knitted berets.
As well as clothing, some manufacturers use knitting for products like blankets. With bamboo cable knit, for example, it offers an eco-friendly product and one that provides comfort, warmth, softness, breathability, and luxury to users. The A World of Bamboo blanket is a perfect example of how to use this traditional craft in a modern way!