We may know our purl stitches from our cable cast-ons, but when it comes to the history and heritage behind our favourite pastime, how much do we really know? To give you a little glimpse into the secret world of knitting, Ajanta Studios let you in on our top 5 favourite things you didn't know about knitting.
The Origins Of Knitting Are A Mystery
The genesis of knitting dates back to Egypt - 11th Century CE - but it's a technique that could be even older than was previous thought. Although weaving remains the grandfather of yarn work, archaeologists struggle to pinpoint the exact origins of knitting due to the natural deterioration of fabrics such as wool and silk over time. Although pointed objects that resemble knitting needles have been excavated, it's difficult to determine what these sharp edged tools were used for.
Knitting Is A Mental Workout
Knitting is a powerful and engaging cognitive activity that exercises and focuses the mind. Studies show that doing tasks that challenge the mind helps to enhance brain activity, improving memory and mental acuity as well as staving off dementia symptoms and general aging of the mind.
We all know that feeling of accomplishment at the end of a big project and it's no wonder knitting is such a great way to boost your mood - attributing to the majority of us feeling happy and mentally healthy. Furthermore, us knitters are a social bunch and there's a real sense of community and companionship that keeps us fulfilled and content whenever our needles are close by!
It Was A Male-Exclusive Hobby
Although knitting tends to be thought of as an activity enjoyed by women, in the 1500s it was a completely different story. The first knitting union in 1527 was founded in Paris for an exclusively all-male membership where women were prohibited. At that time, knitting was regarded as more of a vocational skill, but over time, it has completely shifted to more of a relaxed craft hobby that anyone can enjoy.
Early Needles Were Very Different
Nowadays knitting needles are made to be light, easy to use and ergonomic, manufactured from aluminium, bamboo, or wonderfully decorated wood - however things weren't always so user friendly... The earliest knitting needles used to be crafted from ivory, bone, tortoiseshell and even iron. Other offbeat materials used to create needles include glass and even an ingredient in milk called casein - offering an even smoother and more effortless knitting experience, free from static and derived from eco-friendly, sustainable resources.