Historic knitting, sewing and embroidery patterns

I don’t “do” miniature knitting and my real-life knitting is very slow; however, in the States Friday was apparently I Love Yarn day.  To celebrate, Two Nerdy History Girls posted a link to what is possibly the oldest English printed knitting pattern, from 1655, part of a book called Natura Exenterata: or Nature Unbowelled By the most Exquisite Anatomizers of Her.  The book is here and about three pages in is the first pattern To make Network called the Broad Arrow, and the Diamond.

A sewing machine from 1881
A sewing machine from 1881

That book is on a website called the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics and it’s a treasure-trove of historical pictures, books and patterns on all sorts of fabric-related subjects.

A further collection of digitised knitting patterns and images of historic sewing patterns is provided by the the Visual Arts Data Service, part of the University for the Creative Arts based in the south of England.  Part of their collection includes sketchbooks belonging to Victor Stiebel who was an English fashion designer whose clients included Catharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh and Princess Margaret.

Whatever type of needles you use – enjoy!


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