Concept

History of knitting

Summary
Knitting is the process of using two or more needles to pull and loop yarn into a series of interconnected loops in order to create a finished garment or some other type of fabric. The word is derived from knot, thought to originate from the Dutch verb knutten, which is similar to the Old English cnyttan, "to knot". Its origins lie in the basic human need for clothing for protection against the elements. More recently, hand knitting has become less a necessary skill and more of a hobby. Knitting is a technique of producing fabric from a strand of yarn or wool. Unlike weaving, knitting does not require a loom or other large equipment, making it a valuable technique for nomadic and non-agrarian peoples. The oldest knitted artifacts are socks from Egypt, dating from the 11th century. They are a very fine gauge, done with complex colourwork and some have a short row heel, which necessitates the purl stitch. These complexities suggest that knitting is even older than the archeological record can prove. Earlier pieces having a knitted or crocheted appearance have been shown to be made with other techniques, such as Nålebinding, a technique of making fabric by creating multiple loops with a single needle and thread, much like sewing. Some artefacts have a structure so similar to knitting, for example, 3rd-5th century CE Romano-Egyptian toe-socks, that it is thought the "Coptic stitch" of nalbinding is the forerunner to knitting. Most histories of knitting place its origin somewhere in the Middle East, and from there it spread to Europe by Mediterranean trade routes and later to the Americas with European colonisation. The earliest known knitted items in Europe were made by Muslim knitters employed by Spanish Christian royal families. Their high level of knitting skill can be seen in several items found in the tombs in the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas, a royal monastery, near Burgos, Spain. Among them are the knitted cushion covers and gloves found in the tomb of Prince Fernando de la Cerda, who died in 1275.
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