Spinning a Circular Yarn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Between the 12th and 15th centuries wool created huge wealth in the British Isles. Knowledge and skills from early weaving clusters, combined with that of indigenous domestic textiles provided the core knowledge and skills that fuelled the British Industrial Revolution in the 1700s.
Wool was also important in the development of knitting in Britain. Because knitting has inherent stretch it was ideal for stockings; important fashion item for hundreds of years. Even after the invention of the knitting frame (1589) and subsequent industrialisation of knitting, hand knitting retained its place as a heritage craft skill using indigenous wool. Today, with a few notable (and high cost) exceptions, hand knitting is limited to hobby status, despite the skill involved. Yarn fashions are however common across hand and machine knitting, and current fashion requires perceived luxury for low prices. To meet this demand, machine and hand-knit yarns feature blends of merino wool, cashmere and alpaca with synthetic and ‘eco’ fibres; British wools do not figure significantly in these blends. Merino, cashmere, alpaca and bamboo; fibres that are prevalent in knitting yarns, do not originate in the British Isles and have a substantial carbon footprint.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2020

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