The evolution of hand knitting

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The term knitting describes the technique of constructing textile structures by forming a continuous length of yarn into columns of vertically intermeshed loops.

It relies heavily on the availability of fine, strong, uniformly spun yarn. The term 'knitting' dates from the mid-sixteenth century, earlier words such as the Saxon 'cnyttan' and the Sanskrit 'nahyat' being less precise, indicating that knitting probably evolved from sources such as the experience gained by knotting and Coptic knitting.

In Coptic knitting or Nalbinding, an upside-down looped structure is produced using a single-eyed needle (like a sewing needle) containing a short length of yarn. Normally, crossed loops are formed. The technique can achieve fashioning, closing, circular knitting and stitch patterning. Leicester's Jewry Wall Museum possesses a sock of cross stitch construction from the Antinoe site in Roman Egypt dating from the fifth century AD [1].

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