Tuesday, 6 September 2011

18th Century Pin Cushion

From Eve Harlow's book The Art of Knitting - a knitted pin cushion from the 18th century. This one was knitted on fine steel needles, using silk thread. The braid was probably hand-woven on a loom.

Harlow says that in 18th century England, knitting was a very fashionable past-time, with knitters competing with each other to create ever more elaborate designs, using finer and finer yarn. Despite the elaborate designs, there was a real elegance and constraint to 18th century hand knitting. As the 19th century dawned, however, elegance and constraint flew out of the window and florid colours became all the rage - probably a precursor to the colourful acrylic days of the 1970s...

A knitted pin cushion could be a good starter project for someone taking the first steps in designing their own patterns - a simple rectangle with initials worked in larger gauge yarn would be in the spirit of the 18th century cushion but without the tiny needles.

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