View Full Version : knitting in ireland, 1936

01-13-2006, 11:44 AM
hello knitters,
i'm researching knitting in ireland (donegal) in 1936.. i'm doing a play where my character makes her living knitting gloves.. any books, websites, etc. that anyone could recommend that would give details would be most helpful... i'm new to knitting and have been learning english style... i wonder if this is wrong for ireland??!! would they have knitted in the round or used two needles?? any other specifics would be great!!

thanks, suzanne

01-13-2006, 12:46 PM
there are a few knitting history type books at the library. Online, most of the historical knit stuff I have seen applies to Shetland Scotland.

01-13-2006, 12:59 PM
She would definitely knit in the round, not knit flat on two needles and seam, if she did it for a living. The traditional way of knitting in the round is to use Double Pointed Needles (DPN's). Wooden or Bamboo (which look like wood) needles would look authentic. I'm not sure when circular needles were invented, it was probably around that time, but I'd say they were used primarily for hats and larger things in the round. I think Magic loop knitting and knitting on 2 circular needles are newer concepts.

So, I'd say if you want to look authentic, watch the video in Advanced Techniques on how to knit with DPN's (it's not that hard, looks harder than it is), and get some bamboo DPN's, which look just like wood. They'll look impressive and also authentic, and be nice to knit with. :thumbsup:

01-13-2006, 01:14 PM
Hmmmm, good question on whether they'd knit "English" or "Continental". I'd guess English. Whatever you see most commonly in Ireland today, is no doubt the same style they did then. Any Irish folk here to answer to that?

Also, be aware that there were areas where it was predominently men who knit, at least into the 1800's. I can't recall the details, but I know it involved english-speaking Europe. I don't think it's directly relevent to whether your character would or wouldn't knit, but I mention it so your character doesn't make a typically modern assumption about knitting being only a female activity. And it would be soooo cool to work in some education about the history of men who knit.

01-13-2006, 03:15 PM

Found this while browsing Amazon for other things, perhaps you can get it at your local library or through inter-library loan.

01-13-2006, 05:24 PM
I recall seeing pictures in some of my Fair Isle knitting books where women wore a hay filled bag attached to a belt in which they stuck a long dpn and worked off of that, switching the one that was stuck in the bag as they went around. I don't know if you need to go into this kind of detail for your play, though, unless it was about knitting.