November 20, 2016

Knitting by royal appointment – then and now

Jane presents her early modern knitting research

Margery Trollope, aka Jane, presented her early modern knitting research in Copenhagen recently. She was part of the Centre for Textile Research’s 10-year jubilee celebration attended by Her Majesty Queen Margarethe of Denmark. Margery wore a reconstruction of a c16th knitted cap with brim, neckflap and separate red lining made by Sally Pointer based on data Jane has gathered from more than 15 extant examples.

This prototype is still a work in progress because while the shape is good, the fulled finish is not quite as dense or silky as on the originals. But Tudor Tailor workshops in the US in June experimented with different heritage yarns, Sally is now cultivating teasel plants from seeds that fell from the special Italian ones we used on the reconstruction, and Jane is doing microscopic analysis to see if we can more precisely identify the characteristics of the original yarn.

The Queen was very complimentary about the jubilee event. Her lady-in-waiting wrote: “The Queen spoke in very enthusiastic terms about her visit to the CTR. The Queen found that the event was very well planned, the speeches very interesting and delivered by people who truly had the ability to communicate the material. The Queen had a great afternoon with you and asked me to send her best wishes.”

Knitting is in the news for other reasons too – The Tudor Tailor has printed a second edition of Ruth Gilbert’s Knitting Unravelled. It is available at here for £5 plus P&P.

There is also a new and impressive exhibition of “renaissance” knitwear inspired by the anniversary of Christian IV’s celebration at Kolding Castle in December 1616 at which he appointed a new order of chivalry. The 25 designers documented their work from idea to finished model. There is a video of their creations here. The exhibition runs until 26 February 2017.

Click the gallery thumbnails to view the full images