Implements of Constructions: The Origin of Knitting Needles

Most articles like this start with a history of the subject.  I have found this more difficult than expected to pull together. When looking for historic references of the origin of the knitting needle, they aren’t specifically called out.  

The origins of knitting, on the other hand, is quite commonly referenced.  The oldest knitted artifact is said to be a pair of socks dating back to 11thcentury Egypt.  Since the definition of the verb knit is to form by interlacing yarn or thread in a series of connected loops with needlesand it is distinguished from other fiber crafts as using 2 or more needles, it only makes since that knitting needles originated at the same time as the trade.  I could find no reference to ancient found knitting needles.  Google it… I dare you.

Some evidence of the origin of knitting needles is the often-cited paintings know as the collectively as the Knitting Madonnas.  Several paintings from Europe portray the Virgin Mary knitting and date from the 14th century, including the popular Our Lady Knitting by Tommaso da Modena and The Holy Family by Ambrogio Lorenzenti.  In Our Lady Knitting, Mary is portrayed using a set of four Double-Pointed Needles to work on a shirt collar.  

The Holy Family by Ambrogio Lorenzenti
Our Lady Knitting by Tommaso da Modena

Double-pointed needles are a configuration I would have never imagined as being that old.  Who knew?!?

No matter the configuration, materials or size, the origin of modern knitting needles is as old as the craft itself.

Next up: More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Modern Knitting Needles


On Designing

Designing knitwear patterns is something I have thought about for years but only recently started attempting.  This new venture is not what I expected.  I certainly didn't think it would be easy but didn't realize how hard for me it would be.

I have always been the type of person who has to have a pretty solid understanding of how to do something before I am willing to try it.  Maybe it is a fear of failure or embarrassment that holds me back, but I don't typically dive in head first.  The thing about pattern designing is that there isn't necessarily a step-by-step guide book or recipe for success.  That's likely why it took me so long to start.

I understand patterns.  I know how to knit.  I have ideas about garments I would like to create.  All of these things are essential to designing.  Don't get me wrong, it's more complicated than that but these are some basics that can get you going.  My biggest issue was figuring out on my own how to fit these pieces together.

Sometimes, designing for me looks like this...

Idea Sketch
Pattern Scribble
and, sometimes like this...

Light Ash Blocking
It's kind of a mess.  I am just starting to down the designing road and am not sure where it will lead.  I am still trying to fit all the pieces together and find a method that works for me.  I will keep you all posted on this little adventure and keep my fingers crossed that I find my mojo.  For now, I am having fun with it and hopefully someone besides me enjoys making what I create.


Implements of Construction: Why?

All too often I find myself distracted by the pretty colors, interesting textures, and varying hand of the materials we use in our crafts and trades.

So many tools, no little time.
It wasn't until recently that I truly realized the importance of the tools needed to execute these crafts.  Last year, when I packed up my household and headed west, I carried with me only the most basic tools of the trade.  I brought a complete set of interchangeable knitting needles, two sets of five (yes, just two) of double-pointed needles in the socks I was working, and a small notion bag with a hand full of other items I might need for crafting in the short term.  I had a small pair of scissors, darning needle, a crochet hook, and stitch markers.  Granted, I did pack ALL of my spinning wheels and spindles, but only to make sure they were transported safely.

Now, I anticipated being in a temporary living situation for 6 weeks or so.  Six weeks turned into 6 months.  All the while, the entirety of my craft room was in storage.  I came into a handful of situations where I had to improvise where I had once had the exact right tool for the job at my disposal.  It didn't take me very long to realize I had been taking my tools for granted.  It was a sheer pleasure to once again have access to the little joys such as a darning egg and yarn swift.

Don't get me wrong, I love a beautiful cotton print fabric, a tweed yarn, and exotic spinning fibers as much as the next girl.  However, I want to share my renewed appreciation for the tools of our trade with you.  I plan to share more than you ever thought you wanted to know about these tools.  If nothing else, I hope to present a unique take on the "Implements of Construction"
(TM) we know and love.

First up: Knitting needles!


Series: Implements of Construction

I am a maker.  This is what I do.

I recognize that I can't do it all on my own.  Sometimes it takes help.  That is where they come in.

I am slowly but surely building my stockpile of Impliments of Construction.  Right now, I am at a place in my life where I have some extra cash and plan, in the very near future, to transition out of my current career.  I feel the need to make sure I am ready to make or build anything once I get to where I am going.

In the weeks to come, I plan to share my love for these amazing tools and pieces of equipment.  Stay tuned for more Implements of Construction.


Altitude Adjustment

In October, I got an Altitude Adjustment.

I drove 1500 miles west from Maryland to my new home in Colorado.

It was a necessary change my entire family needed.  Maryland had really became toxic and it was starting to show.  We made a relatively snap decision to pack up and head West.

My brother lives in Colorado Springs, so we are currently shacked up in his basement.  This is a short term solution until the rest of our lives settle out.  I should get a job, for instance.  I am learning that this is not an easy task.

I focus everyday on the steps needed to establish our life here and try to soak in the beauty around us.  Already I am very happy here even if the situation is stressful at times.

I am thankful to be living in the shadow of Pikes Peak.  I soak in as many sunsets and sun rises as possible and I am looking forward to experiencing winter here.

In the days to come, I should be recording and editing a podcast episode so I can share the entire story.

For now, I look forward to finding my place here and sharing the adventure with you.



 2017 is a rebuilding year for me. With my recent transition out of the military and in to a professional career, a lot of stuff has fallen off my plate. I need to get my shit together. 

I have a lot of goals but haven't made a plan or any progress toward achieving any of them. I think it is time to at least get it all in writing. 

That is where I plan to start. 



Back in the Sewing Room

It feels really good to get back to the sewing room. I love knitting and spinning but, they don't offer the same level of instant gratification. 

I get so out of control and lost on the process that I often produce far more then I could ever use... hence the Etsy shop: http://etsy.me/1RbHifz

I can't help myself. I start sewing and end up with more then enough to go around. I am about 4 sales away from the award of my trademark and getting excited. 

I'll keep you posted on the progress.