Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

15 June 2007

Idiosyncratic Knitter's Library

My root interest is textile history. I wonder about every fiber art I learn, "How old is this? Where did it start? Who did it and when?"

In a lot of cases, the answers to those questions are obscure, not to mention confused by myths repeated in and out of books.

It only takes one author writing down a theory on, say, the origin of tatting, to generate ten books that quote that theory as an incontrovertible fact, which then spawn scores of tatters who will angrily argue that tatting WAS given to us by Erich Von Daniken's alien astronauts, because they read it in a book. And if it's in print, it is therefore true, facts notwithstanding.

Some of these books contain some of those theories, and some of them even are the origin or first appearance of the theory. I take the theories with a grain of salt, or salt shaker if necessary.

My newest addition, The Art of Knitting, edited by Eve Harlow, repeats the idea that an illumination of Daniel in the Book of Kells is supposed to depict Aran knitting. Good thing I wasn't drinking coffee when I read that, or my nice new-to-me book would have gotten sprayed.

But fortunately I didn't buy the book for the theories (or the 1970's patterns) -- I bought it for photos of items like the knitted "masterpiece" carpets, the 16th century altar glove (color! and close-ups!), and the snippet of the possibly Dutch petticoat in the V & A.

(If you go to the V & A's image search and enter the Museum Numbers, there are photos of these items:

  • Carpet, the color background of The Art of Knitting dust jacket, Museum Number T.375-1977

  • Pair of gloves, 437&A-1892

  • Dutch petticoat, T.177-1926

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    Blogger Julie said...

    Ooooh. Must buy. Mmmm.

    7:59 PM  
    Blogger Bells said...

    you have some lovely books Alwen. I must look out for books such as these. I have sooo much to learn.

    8:12 AM  

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