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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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KNITTING (from O.E. cnyttan, to knit; cf. Ger. Kniitten; the root is seen in "knot"), the art of forming a single thread or strand of yarn into a texture or fabric of a loop structure, by employing needles or wires. "Crochet" work is an analogous art in its simplest form. It consists of forming a single thread into a single chain of loops. All warp knit fabrics are built on this structure. Knitting may be said to be divided into two principles, viz. (1) hand knitting and (2) frame-work knitting (see Hosiery). In hand knitting, the wires, pins or needles used are of different lengths or gauges, according to the class of work wanted to be produced. They are made of steel, bone, wood or ivory. Some are headed to prevent the loops from slipping over the ends. Flat or selvedged work can only be produced on them. Others are pointed at both ends, and by employing three or more a circular or circular-shaped fabric can be made. In hand knitting each loop is formed and thrown off individually and in rotation and is left hanging on the new loop formed. The cotton, wool and silk fibres are the principal materials from which knitting yarns are manufactured, wool being the most important and most largely used. "Lamb's-wool," "wheeling," "fingering" and worsted yarns are all produced from the wool fibre, but may differ in size or fineness and quality. Those yarns are largely used in the production of knitted underwear. Hand knitting is to-day principally practised as a domestic art, but in some of the remote parts of Scotland and Ireland it is prosecuted as an industry to some extent. In the Shetland Islands the wool of the native sheep is spun, and used in its natural colour, being manufactured into shawls, scarfs, ladies' jackets, &c. The principal trade of other districts is hose and half-hose, made from the wool of the sheep native to the district. The formation of the stitches in knitting may be varied in a great many ways, by "purling" (knitting or throwing loops to back and front in rib form), ".slipping" loops, taking up and casting off and working in various coloured yarns to form stripes, patterns, &c. The articles may be shaped according to the manner in which the wires and yarns are manipulated.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Knitting'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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