Knitting is one of the world’s most popular crafts and not at all difficult to learn, together with its close relation, crochet. Both construct a fabric from interlocking loops of yarn rather than woven threads on a loom. The great advantage of knitting and crochet is that you can carry your work anywhere you go. And the fabric takes shape as you progress – no paper patterns or cutting out – all you have to do at the end is seam the pieces together.
Of course there are certain methods and techniques that a knitter needs to master before his or her creativity can really take flight. This book has been prepared with beginners in mind. The basics of knitting are here, with step-by-step illustrations to guide you, plus sections on equipment, how to read printed patterns, four simple projects and a glossary. The book also aims to be useful to those who first learned to knit as children and would like some quick revision in order to get started again. The terminology used throughout is UK-standard, together with the relevant US terms alongside in square brackets [ ] to make this a practical guide for all readers.
European knitting developed into a marketable skill, recognized by the setting up of professional knitting guilds. The only women admitted to these medieval guilds were widows who inherited their husbands’ membership. It’s interesting to note that knitting in the old days seems to have been a male occupation, while women were involved at the start of the process with carding and spinning the yarn fibers.
When the machinery of the Industrial Revolution replaced hand workers, hand knitting survived as a cottage industry and was the sole means of support for many poor families. During both World Wars people of all ages answered the call to Knit for Victory and produced thousands of socks, gloves, mufflers and sweaters for the troops. Whether for a livelihood, charity or leisure activity, knitting continues to provide clothes, toys and items for the home, and it all starts with one ball of yarn and a pair of knitting needles.