Wednesday, July 21, 2010

History Lesson

I finished up the first Tsunami sock from Judy Sumner's Knitted Socks East and West. Actually, except for the kitchener stitch it's been done for a little while. I don't think kitchener is hard, I just find it hard to remember and have to look it up every time so I end up with socks that aren't quite finished. Silly, I know.

While I was writing this post, I got to wondering where the name came from. I decided to do a little poking around on the internet. As best as I can tell, kitchener stitch is named after Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. He was British military hero during WW I. It looks like he got involved with a Red Cross scheme to get US women knitting for the soldiers. Along the way, he designed the Kitchener Sock which had a squared off, grafted toe. We still use his technique today.

While I was digging around, I also found that there are a couple more common knitting term that have their roots in the British Army. According to, "The 7th Earl of Cardigan 1797-1868 led the Charge of the Light Brigade into battle. The long sleeved knitted worsted military jacket his army officers wore was trimmed with fur or braid down the front. Later it was a garment knitted at home with a buttoned band and long sleeves".

The last one I ran across was the raglan sleeve. Lord Raglan was another Crimean war guy. He lost an arm during the war. To make dressing easier his tailor made a short coat with a simple diagonal sleeve seam setting that extended from the neck to the underarm. It allowed much more mobility for Lord Raglan and so was named after him.

History aside...I liked knitting this sock. It's a really simple pattern to remember and made a good TV project. It's also a pretty unisex sock, especially in a color like Cookie's Deep Dark Secret.

The color on this photo isn't the greatest representation of Cookie's Deep Dark Secret, which is a very, very deep blue. But, in order to make the stitch pattern show up, I had to futz with the color a little more than I'd like. I decided that was better than having it look like a big dark blob.

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

Awesome history lesson! One scarf I had made for my daughters' godfather was knitted in a stitch pattern called Polperro Northcott. I found out this:
Polperro was at one time, an isolated fishing community, where smuggling was a traditional occupation. The Props Cottage of those days boasted a secret staircase leading from the river and is rumoured to have been party to much of the illegal goings on.

Crushana Northcott, one of many local characters lived in “The Props”. It is said that she used to warn smugglers of the approach of “Preventive Men” by adding a doll dressed as an Englishman to those in her shop window. (