Hand knitting, to date, has received relatively little attention from textile historians. In this full history of the craft, the author offers a definition of the process in relation to other yarn crafts such as crochet. Literary evidence is drawn upon and the social aspects of knitting are a main concern. Well-known legends about knitting history are re-evaluated and the development of techniques and tools is covered, together with the history of the craft from before 1500 to the present day. Some local traditions of the British Isles are investigated, including the knitting of Shetland, Aran, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Yorkshire Dales. Knitting tradtions east of the Adriatic and in the Americas have separate chapters, and the book includes a historical glossary and a transcription of the earliest English knitting pattern. Richard Rutt's previous books have been about Korean and Chinese literature.
It's difficult to imagine a more thorough examination of the history of knitting than this one. Scholar Richard Rutt has put together a detailed description of the craft itself, including definitive opinions about the origins of knitting and in-depth explanations of particular garments worn throughout history. Narrator Melissa Hughes's light, musical voice lends a bright note to what is most certainly an informed, if occasionally exhaustive, narrative. Her ability to pronounce the titles of obscure texts and vocabulary in a variety of languages without interrupting the narrative flow is laudable. Casual knitters may find this account tedious, but textile specialists and serious knitters will find the details intriguing, perhaps listening while practicing their craft. B.H. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine