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Knitters, Framework Knitters and Stockingers

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  • Joseph Henry Turner (1851 - 1893)
    Joseph Henry Turner (Joseph Henry Turner , Turner ) was born on 22 May 1851 in Needham, Norfolk, Massachusetts. He died on 13 Dec 1893 in Somerville, Middlesex, Massachusetts. In the 1870 census he was...
  • Nellie Cameron (1887 - d.)
    1901 Scotland Census about Nellie Cameron Name: Nellie Cameron Age: 14 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1887 Relationship: Daur (Daughter) Mother's name: Jane Shaw Cameron Gender: Female Where born: Gk...
  • Sarah Ellen Linn (1880 - d.)
    Sarah Ellen Spicer was born on 20 Nov 1880 in Needham, Norfolk, Massachusetts. In the 1900 census she was living at 89 Sinden St., Newton Upper Falls, Middlesex, Massachusetts. In the 1910 census she w...
  • William Taylor (1801 - d.)
    Residence, 1841, Arnold, Nottinghamshire, England. Residence: Derrymount Road, 1851, Arnold, Nottinghamshire, England. William was a framework knitter.Residence: Framework Knitter, 1861, Derrymount Roa...
  • Thomas Taylor (1801 - d.)
    Thomas Taylor was born on 28 Aug 1801 in Belper, Derbyshire, England. He was baptized on 11 Sep 1801 in Belper, Derbyshire, England. In the 1841 census he was living at Barr Lane, Hockenwell, Southwell...


Knitters, Framework Knitters and Stockingers

The purpose of this project is to gather the GENi profiles of those who were involved in the occupation of knitting . This is a universal project. Please link the profiles of knitters, framework knitters, "stockingers" and related related occupations to this project. Notable knitters can be added to the list further down in the project.

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Knitting is a method by which yarn is manipulated to create a textile or fabric. It is achieved by using two or more needles to loop yarn into a series of interconnected loops in order to create a finished garment or some other type of fabric.


The word is derived from knot, thought to originate from the Dutch verb knutten, which is similar to the Old English cnyttan, to knot. Its origins lie in the basic human need for clothing for protection against the elements, although today hand knitting is more a hobby than a necessary skill.

Knitting may be done by hand or by using a machine.

a Knitter is someone who knits

Framework Knitters - the stocking frame was invented by William Lee of Calverton near Nottingham in 1589. See WIKI bio. Its use, known traditionally as framework knitting, was the first major stage in the mechanisation of the textile industry, and played an important part in the early history of the Industrial Revolution.

A Stockinger was a knitter, weaver, or dealer in stockings, usually a hand frame work knitter, hand frame worker, hand knitting machine worker, who set up the yarn in a hand frame by inserting bobbins and threading thread through guide, and operated it by turning a handle or with treadles.

Stockinger or Sox Hand, was a general term for workers who were engaged on sock knitting frames, e.g. Cotton's patent frame hand, automatic seamless machine hand, XL hand.

Reference "A Dictionary of Occupational Terms"


It is believed that socks and stockings were the first particles made using a knitting style technique. They were worked in Nålebinding, a technique of making fabric by creating multiple knots or loops with a single needle and thread.

Most histories of knitting place its origin somewhere in the Middle East, spreading to Europe by Mediterranean trade routes and later to the Americas with European colonisation. The earliest known examples of knitting have been found in Egypt and include colourful wool fragments and indigo blue and white cotton stockings, which have been dated between the 11th and 14th centuries CE.

The earliest known knitted items in Europe were made by Muslim knitters employed by Spanish Christian royal families. Several items were found in the tombs in the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas, a royal monastery, near Burgos, Spain. They include knitted cushion covers and gloves found in the tomb of Prince Fernando de la Cerda, who died in 1275. The silk cushion cover was knitted at approximately 20 stitches per inch. It included knit patterns reflecting the family armory, as well as the word baraka ("blessings") in Arabic in stylized Kufic script. Numerous other knitted garments and accessories, also dating from the mid-13th century, have been found in cathedral treasuries in Spain.

Archaeological finds from medieval cities all over Europe, (London, Newcastle, Oslo, Amsterdam,and Lübeck, as well as tax lists, prove the spread of knitted goods for everyday use from the 14th century onward. Most finds are only fragments of knitted items so that generally their former appearance and use is not known. One of the exceptions is a 14th or 15th century woollen child's cap from Lübeck.


// knitting - Shetland Knitting was an important occupation among those living on the Scottish Isles during the 17th and 18th centuries. Whole families were involved in making sweaters, accessories, socks, stockings, etc. Fair Isle techniques were used to create elaborate colourful patterns. Sweaters were essential garments for the fishermen of these islands because the natural oils within the wool provided protection against the harsh weather encountered.

// Fishermen// Sweater Production //

Wool was in common use for knitting fishermen and sailors took to the art and produced warm, weather proof jerseys. This in turn led to the development of many intricate cable stitches which added bulk and warmth to the garments. Many elaborate designs were developed, such as the cable stitch used on Aran sweaters, which was developed in the early 20th century in Ireland.

Mechanisation - Industrialisation

The stocking frame or mechanical knitting machine was invented in 1589 and subsequently improved. The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters was incorporated in 1657 London. Framework knitting was predominantly performed at home, often with the entire family participating.

The Nottinghamshire district known as Lace Market was a major producer of machine-knitted lace. Leicestershire and neighbouring counties were associated with the hosiery industry for a long time. Machines could be hired and worked from home rather than relying on a large stocking frame or the much slower hand knitting. One manufacturer of these machines was Griswold, resulting in such work often being called Griswold work.

Some framework knitters were among the Luddites, who resisted the transition to factories. By the middle of the 19th century, the knitting industry had not yet made the transition to factories, but the improvement of steam-powered knitting machines in the mid-19th century resulted in machine knitting moving to factories in order to accommodate the larger machines.

Hand knitting was declining by the mid 19th century as part of the knitting industry and was more a hobby. Printed patterns and yarn were produced for leisure as well as for industrial use by authors such as Jane Gaugain. WIKI

Famous or Notable Knitters

  • Fassett Kaffe Fassett (born 1937 as Frank Fassett), is an American-born artist who is best known for his colourful designs in the decorative arts [WIKI bio.]
  • Elizabeth Zimmermann

References and Sources


  • Dr. Denise Amos publisher=Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire and contributors. "Framework Knitters". Retrieved at WIKI16 July 2015.
  • Rutt, Richard (2003). A History of Hand Knitting. Interweave Press, Loveland, CO. (Reprint Edition ISBN)
  • Zimmermann, Elizabeth. (1972). Knitting Without Tears. Simon & Schuster, New York. (Reprint Edition ISBN)

// this project is in History Link