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July 28, 2011



They look fabulous!


Wow, lovely stockings. I didn't know that garter stitch was originally for garters - duh. Your version of sock knitting history was very interesting to read.


They fit for Elizabethan. I've had Rutt's "History of "Hand Knitting" out of the library for the last week as I prepare to spin stocking yarn for an SCA A&S competition. Notes from my documentation:

Records of George Medley of Tilty’s account books show that he purchased knit hosen for his nephew in 1550 and his kitchen boy in 1572. (Rutt)

In 1552 Parliament under Edward VI passed Acts of Parliament pertaining to
“knitte hose,” implying they had some economic importance by this time. (from Rutt and also Turnau's "Knitting Before Mass Production")

Knitting schools were established under Elizabeth for the poor as well. (Rutt & Turnau)

And Elizabeth herself wore handknit silk stockings, though those were imported from Spain.



Thanks for your comments! I'm always interested to hear more about Elizabethan-era knitting -- what there is of it, any way!

I think that kitchen boy's stockings will go high on my list of things I wish I could actually see. Obviously a kitchen boy wouldn't have especially fine stockings, so they must have been fairly everyday by then -- and yet we don't know what they looked like.

When you say "they fit for Elizabethan" did you mean Eleanor's or mine? I thought it was surprising, the difference in silhouette between the two, even taking into account the differences in wool, gauge, etc.


I said they fit for Elizabethan in response to:
"I say "Elizabethan" as there is apparently no evidence that hand-knitted stockings were worn quite so early as that in England, although I'm still waffling about their period authenticity."

Because knitted wool stockings actually go back about a decade before Elizabeth. For knitting, there wasn't a non-hand knitting option yet, though the knitting machine was invented during Elizabeth's reign. Supposedly she refused a patent on it because it'd harm the poor who made money by knitting wool, but told the inventor that if he could make one that'd work on something so fine as silk, she'd give him a patent for THAT (silk stockings generally being imported meant it wouldn't be harming her subjects' livelihoods). In any case, it didn't come into much usage until the 17th century, and in France at that.

I've heard that stockings in that time were knitted at a considerably tighter gauge than modern knitters would use. That'd make them sturdier, so it makes some sense, and if the people of the time just plain weren't used to stretchy fabric, they'd probably expect to work with something rather more solid than we do. The 1640s stockings in the Victoria & Albert Museum have 140st at the knee, which to me implies about 10st/in.

My highest-gauge handknit socks (so far) are 8st/in. Hm, that gives me an idea of how fine I need to spin that yarn, though those socks are a bit "airy" when stretched over my foot, so I probably shouldn't go thinner than it. Those socks are done from Classic Elite Mountain Top Vale, which is 14wpi. It could certainly be knitted at 10st/in, probably with size 0 needles.

Paula Fletcher

"There is no record, of course, as to the size of Eleanora's calves, but the proportions look a little off to me" That's because you were blessed with long, skinny legs :) My figure skater calves (on my 5ft body) require socks that look a lot like Elenora's https://www.ravelry.com/projects/paulaayn/little-cable-knee-highs

I love the sock you made. They look great.

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