Friday, February 05, 2016

Old Needles

I was flipping through Weldon's Practical Knitter, First Series and got to looking at the drawings in the Details of Knitting. I noticed (with the aid of my linen tester) that the ends of the needles looked very much like the ends of the needles in sets of antique needles that I have.  Some are flat, some are pointy, some are blunt, and some seem to have just been cut with a wire cutter, leaving a sharp wedge at the end of the wire.

This suggests that artist doing illustrations for Weldon's used whatever needles were available as the illustrations were being drawn. Likely, the available needles were those owned and used by the knitters that knit the examples in the illustrations.

Since many of the cuts show needles with rounded or blunt or flat ends, and flat or rounded ends do not work nearly as well when hand-held as when used with a knitting sheath,  and blunt needles work better then pointy needles with a knitting sheath,  I  deduce that many of the fabric samples were knit using a knitting sheath. Then, the fabric and needles were held in the Weldon fashion as a model for the illustrations.  After all, knitting sheaths were tools of professional knitters, and the artist was likely to hire professional knitters to make the knitting samples and then use the same knitter as the hand model.  Oh, yes, objects like the Ladies Knitted Under-vest, Child's Shetland Sleeveless Vest were clearly drawn from real models, and it would have taken a professional knitter or group of professional knitters to produce the examples of the various articles to meet the publishing schedule.

Thus, I conclude that the various knit objects illustrated in Weldon's were in fact knit using knitting sheath(s) and were not knit using hand-held needles as shown in the illustration. In comparison, I would say that the examples in Mary Thomas were knit with hand held needles and those in Gladys Thompson were knit with a knitting sheath.

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