Oldest Western Knitting Images

 

Most representations of knitting in art have been produced from the 18th century on. The earliest ones are knitting Madonnas.  The Holy Family, by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, c. 1345, shows Mary knitting, but what she might be making is not clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3c8e17f881dba2917b93bcdbb016c9f6This is a detail from a polyptich by Tommaso da Modena, whose dates are 1325-1375). Mary is knitting something in the round using four needles. I believe this is in Bologna.

 

The next painting, by Meister Bertram von Minden, Germany, was done c. 1400-1410, in
the right wing of the Buxtehude Altarpiece.  Titled “The Madonna Knitting Christ’s Seamless Garment”,  it represents the Virgin Mary making a tunic in the round, using 4 needles. The tradition of the seamless garment describes a scene at the crucifixion, when the Roman soldiers cast lots to win possession of it, not wishing to tear up such a valuable item of clothing. Two churches, the cathedral at Trier and the parish church of Argenteuil, claim to have possession of the actual garment. Trier claims that it was brought to them by the Empress Saint Helena, who also is supposed to have found the True Cross. The French believe that theirs was brought there by Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor. Both claims date from the 1100’s. Most probably, Christ’s clothing was woven, not knitted. But it’s a lovely painting and a lovely thought.

 

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The Madonna appears to be knitting a sock in this altarpiece painted by Nicolás and Martín Zahortiga, c. 1460 for the Museo de la Colegiata de Borja in Spain.

Does anyone know what the other two women are working on?

 

 

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Optical Illusion Crochet

This is amazing. I was just surfing around randomly this evening and hit upon this ingenious 3 dimensional pattern, which in reality is a simple mat/potholder. The pattern reminds me of the magnificent marble floors

in the grand Italian churches, which in reality are flat but convey the illusion that each block is a stairstep beneath your feet.

Link to pattern

Fiber Arts: A Little Poetry

Autumn — overlooked my Knitting —

1482 Leber de Natura Rer

Dyes — said He — have I —
Could disparage a Flamingo —
Show Me them — said I —

Cochineal — I chose — for deeming
It resemble Thee —
And the little Border — Dusker —
For resembling Me —

Emily Dickinson

O, fellow! come, the song we had last night.

Mark it, Cesario; it is old and plain;

The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,

And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,

Do use to chant it: it is silly sooth,

And dallies with the innocence of love,

Like the old age.

Shakespeare
Twelfth Night. Act ii. Sc. 4

Quilts

(for Sally Sellers)

Like a fading piece of cloth

I am a failure

No longer do I cover tables filled with food and laughter

My seams are frayed my hems falling my strength no longer able

To hold the hot and cold

I wish for those first days

When just woven I could keep water

From seeping through

Repelled stains with the tightness of my weave

Dazzled the sunlight with my

Reflection

I grow old though pleased with my memories

The tasks I can no longer complete

Are balanced by the love of the tasks gone past

I offer no apology only

this plea:

When I am frayed and strained and drizzle at the end

Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt

That I might keep some child warm

And some old person with no one else to talk to

Will hear my whispers

And cuddle

near

by Nicki Giovanni

Knitting as Art: Extreme Knitting, 1000 Strands

What, you may ask, is Extreme Knitting? Apparently, it’s using gigantic (fence post size) wooden needles and hundreds and hundreds of yarn skeins. Other than creating an art piece, and a very large one at that, there seems to be no other practical use at this time. The leader of this new movement is Rachel John of England, who runs an organization called Extreme Textiles. The following video shows a record breaking knitting feat performed at the Unravel festival in 2006. It runs about 6 minutes. I wonder how much the final product weighs…..

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Rachel John, Extreme Knitting, 1000 S…“, posted with vodpod

Knitting as Art: Sounds

For me, one of the pleasures of knitting is listening to the quiet click of the needles. It’s a very soothing sound, probably because of childhood memories of lying in bed at night, hearing my mom’s needles clicking away in the living room. This afternoon, an article on the net from the Washington Post caught my eye. Entitled Weaving a Tapestry of Sound, it tells about a Baltimore artist, Laure (pronounced Laura) Drogoul, who also has positive associations with the sounds of knitting.

A few years ago, she became curious about what it would sound like to amplify those sounds, and devised a method to do so. Laure was so pleased with the result that she presented an activity at a music fest, inviting up to 10 knitters at a time to provide what she titled “Orchestral Knitting.”

Fascinating. Here’s the article:

Weaving a Tapestry of Sound – washingtonpost.com

Who woulda thought?