Hi folks. Thought this might interest you:
Thanks for sharing this, David. I'm saddened to learn that Bishop Rutt isn't able to knit anymore. His book has some interesting history and it would be great if someone could do an update for it.
Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.
Thanks for that, David. I've just ordered his book from my local library. They have the original from 1987 as well as a 2003 reprint with a forward by Meg Swansen. I'm very much looking forward to reading it. Thanks!
I'd forgotten there was a reissue of his important book. Thanks for reminding me.
I’m very interested in seeing what he has to say about the origins of knitting as we know it now. I’m currently reading “Knitting in the Old Way” by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson. Here are a couple of excerpts on the history of knitting that kind of shivered my timbers a bit. (In a good way, of course!)
“Many people believe that knitting originated among Arabian nomads, who in turn carried the craft into Egypt. Was it a craft of the Mamluks, descendants of the Mongols [rulers of Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517 when they were replaced by the Ottoman Empire]. Did it originate in Central Asia? We may never answer these questions. That the craft has its roots in Islamic art is doubtless, and that it spread across North Africa and into Spain along with Islam is questioned by few...
“Regardless of where or when it started, knitting swept across the European continent relatively quickly. During medieval times knitted garments became highly prized. Professional guilds soon controlled the market, and the craft belonged in the domain of men. Knitted garments became the fashion of the wealthy class - silk gloves and stockings were a prerogative of the rich. Demand became so great that knitting turned into a cottage industry, with the peasantry subsidizing their meager livelihoods by knitting woolen caps and socks for the gentry. Thus the craft passed into the hands of women, who also began to knit garments for their own families, possibly as early as the fifteenth century.
“By the early eighteenth century, knitting was practiced throughout the civilized world by entire populations, young and old, male and female, in widely diverse cultures....”
A good discussion question might be: how does it make you feel to practice a craft that has a history like that? Apparently all of us have great, great, great... grandfathers who knitted. How does that make you feel? Can you imagine yourself knitting with them? Talk amongst yourselves.
This was great reading. People are always amazed when I tell them that Man knit garments first and that there were guilds with standards of admission...... The evolution is incredible.
I'd love a copy of this myself! It feels necessary!
I have read the book and it is a delight. I did not know there was a reprint but will certainly add it to my library. I had borrowed it from the public library when it was not possible to buy it.
I had seen this book many long years ago, and only read small excerpts from it. I would like to get my hands on it, but to find one for sale is nearly impossible! It does make for some interesting reading. We should all know about your past history, and about the history of our activities, to have a better understanding of how it fits into our lives now. At least, I always find I have a better grasp on things when I can see how it has evolved into the form it has now, and why it is done this way currently, but also with looking at how it can change to suit our needs in the future. I use this principle with many procedures at work, and can see how it can be applied to my knitting as well.