Knitting outside Europe

The hand knitting in some Asiatic and north African countries will be mentioned in Chapter X concerning the peasant's knitting. The little information known deals only with the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The hand knitting was known in the United States of America. Stockings and other parts of knitted garments were very useful in the rude living conditions of the first settlers of North America, but only rural Pennsylvania clothing has been studied more systematically, by E. J. Gehret. She wrote: "Stockings worn during the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century were created in one of three ways: hand knit, loom made, and fabric sewn [...] In former times mothers and daughters were always busy at their knitting. They were proud to knit their own wear well [...] They also made coarser ones stockings for the boys and servants made of thread and woollen yarn. If in large families they could not do it all, they hired a woman to help knit them." The women knitted both linen and woollen stockings. The linen stockings were worn in summer; they were knitted by hand and bleached on the meadow lawn - giving white linen stockings. Quite a number of homespun hand knit stockings of both linen and wool have survived to the present day, and are available in local history museums. The authoress listed the old instructions about knitting the stockings.89

The rich American museums have collections of knitted garments from seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But these were mainly made from fabrics imported from Europe. It is, of course, impossible to find mention of guilds, but hand knitting was widely diffused amongst the settlers from different European nations mainly from England and Germany.

Diffusion of the Knitting Machine in England and France from the End of the Sixteenth to the End of the Eighteenth Century

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