antique textiles


I’ve been bowled over by the interest in the General Carleton hat – especially from 18thC living historians and re-enactors.  (If you’d like the pattern, it is in Piecework, Jan/Feb 2014). But one question keeps coming up: how do you thrum?  I thought I’d tackle this here on the blog. In the 17thC, English sailors […]

antique textiles ganseys guernseys History Knitting swaving Textile Arts West Riding

Knitting The Old Dales Way: Workshops

Knitting the Old Dales Way. How To Use a Knitting Stick or Shetland Knitting Belt: workshop A rare chance to learn this brilliant, simple but obscure method of knitting. Let’s keep this old Yorkshire craft alive! For its opening weekend, the Yorkshire Museum of Farming is holding a Country Crafts event, and I’ll be doing […]

antique textiles Boreray

Dyeing With Cochineal & Logwood

“January 27. All Dye pans in use, pretty well off for work this week… Feb 3. Wild soft morning… Saw John Fairbank [who] arrived from America about a fortnight ago- Says he thinks there won’t be a War between this country and America; the poor people are very much out of work at New York; […]

antique textiles Hand spinning handspinning History Re-enactment spindle whorls Textile Arts

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Yesterday, I was watching the incomparable Abby Franquemont’s  video download, ‘Respect The Spindle’. I’ve had the book since the week (hour?) it came out but finally got round to getting the video recently, as despite my thirty odd years’ worth of spinning, knew I’d learn something new from it. And I did. At one point, […]

antique textiles ganseys Hand spinning History Knitting

The General Carleton Hat

Knitting history is a special corner of textile history, for me, as it tells the story of ordinary people.  Knitting was – and remains – something seen as disposable; comparatively cheap to make, so gets used up, worn out and discarded. Pieces of knitting turn up in the archaeology, and finding out about and reconstructing […]

antique textiles Knitting Norbury

Knit Is a Feminist Issue

Years ago, the fact I knitted horrified some of my feminist friends. They saw crafts, especially things like cooking, baking and needlecrafts, as conformation to some male imposed stereotype: knitting was a form of being suckered by the male hierarchy. This view was common to the point, I felt unable to knit when at some […]

antique textiles handspinning Knitting

In Praise of Midge and Fly

Yet again, I find myself reverse engineering a pair of Dales gloves and once more, knitting the ‘filler’ pattern known as ‘Midge and Fly’. So thought I’d write a bit about it. ‘Midge and Fly’ pattern was a common motif in two-colour knitting, and can be found on the palms, thumbs and fingers of Dales […]

antique textiles History West Riding

The Mad Knitter of Dent

“…remains without material change. July 28 .. She still knits away with a piece of string and pieces of wool and needles producing only a tangle—if she cannot get anything to employ herself in this manner with she rubs her hands together all day long till she rubs the skin off then she rubs away […]

antique textiles Brontes Hand spinning Textile Arts West Riding

Sticking It

Here is my first knitting stick, and the only one I currently use. At some point, I was sent some kind of knitting stick by a hobbyist, thinking of making them for sale, I guess  – but it did not look like any stick I have ever seen – and I’ve seen hundreds.  Nor did […]

antique textiles Hand spinning handspinning spindle whorls Textile Arts

Tour de Fleece 2013 – mojo and mojitos.

The Tour de Fleece runs every year, for the duration of the Tour de France, hand-spinners all over the world set their own wheels spinning, like the cyclists, setting themselves challenges and try to spin yarn daily, even if it’s just for ten minutes.  Some people use the Tour to expand their skills, others just […]