Skip to main content
Select Source:

knitting

knitting, construction of a fabric made of interlocking loops of yarn by means of needles. Knitting, allied in origin to weaving and to the netting and knotting of fishnets and snares, was apparently unknown in Europe before the 15th cent., when it began to be practiced in Italy and Spain. The Scots claimed its invention and also its introduction into France. Hand-knitting needles are of bone, wood, steel, ivory, or celluloid. Two needles with heads are required for flat or selvage work; three or more, pointed at both ends, for tubular work such as hose; and for larger tubular work, a circular needle. The first knitting machine, invented in England in 1589 by William Lee, was refused a patent by Queen Elizabeth on the grounds that it would curtail the work of hand knitters. Lee's machine, marketed in France, was the forerunner of the warp and circular frames used after 1790; these in turn developed into the two modern types of power machines, the warp and the weft. The springbeard needle of Lee's frame was supplemented in 1847 by Matthew Townsend's latch needle, commonly used for coarse work. In 1864, William Cotton patented a machine by which garments and the heels and toes of hosiery might be shaped. Automatic machines were first introduced in 1889. In weft knitting, which includes hand knitting, the fabric is constructed in horizontal courses with one continuous yarn. The basic stitches are the plain (or jersey), purl, and rib. Either flatbed or circular machines may be used. The warp, or chain-loom, machine, generally flatbed, builds vertical chains, or wales, each having a separate yarn. The wales are tied together by zigzagging the yarns from needle to needle in the basic tricot or milanese stitches or variants of these. The warp-knit fabric is run-resistant but less elastic than the weft.

See B. Abbey, The Complete Book of Knitting (1972).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"knitting." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Jun. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"knitting." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/knitting

"knitting." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/knitting

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

knitting

knitting Hand-weaving of a textile by using rod-like needles to interlace loops of spun yarn. Knitting was apparently unknown in Europe before the 15th century, when the practice began in Spain and Italy, having arrived probably from Arabia. The first knitting machine was invented in England in 1589.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"knitting." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Jun. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"knitting." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/knitting

"knitting." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved June 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/knitting

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

knitting

knit·ting / ˈniting/ • n. the craft or action of knitting. ∎  material that is in the process of being knitted: I put down my knitting.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"knitting." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Jun. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"knitting." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/knitting

"knitting." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved June 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/knitting

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.