A history of knitting from the Tudor period onwards

Friday 8 September 2017


The course

A brief practical history of knitting in Britain, looking at the products, techniques, and social history of knitting and knitters from the 16th to the 20th century. We shall be learning to ‘knit in the round’ and to use a knitting sheath, and trying out a number of different techniques. Pictures, samples and items from the Knitting and Crochet Guild Collection illustrate the wealth of resources. This is a course that we hope will inspire you to have the confidence to raid the past in your future knitting projects. Some previous knitting experience would be helpful on this course, but is not essential.

The tutor

Ruth Gilbert is a hand weaver and textile historian. She studied textile history at the Textile Conservation Centre, awarded an MPhil for her thesis on the construction of early knitted garments in 2010. Ruth has been the weaver at Kentwell Hall’s Tudor events for twenty years and actively encourages appropriate textile techniques among historical re-enactors. Her publications include ‘A Knitted Cotton Jacket in the Collection of the Knitting and Crochet Guild of Great Britain’, in Textile History 43 (1), 90-106 and the entry on ‘Knitting and related non-woven structures’ in Encyclopaedia of Dress and Textiles in the British Isles c. 450-1450, 1220, Leiden: Brill.

Participant information

Places are limited to 8 participants.
Please bring warm outdoor clothing as the course will take place in one of the Museum’s exhibit buildings.


£60 per person, to include tuition, teas and coffees. The Museum café will be open or you can bring a packed lunch.

The Museum

The Weald & Downland Living Museum has over 45 historic building exhibits. It is also home to the award winning and innovative Downland Gridshell, which houses a conservation workshop and artefact store, and is also used for many practical courses. The Museum runs a full programme of courses in historic building conservation and traditional rural trades and crafts, along with MSc programmes in Building Conservation and Timber Building Conservation validated by the University of York. Please telephone for further details.