Medieval Knitted Textiles

This display represents an effort to show the amazing variety and sophistication of knitted textiles between the years 1000 (the earliest estimation of truly knitted extant relics) to 1700.  (I expanded the later range in order to include several well known/spectacular relics.


Each sample of knitted in the form of a pouch in order to create a fairly neutral medium to allow the knitting itself to take center stage.  Each pouch is based on a particular relic, whether stocking, waistcoat, fragment or pillow.  Where possible, my notes include a photograph of the original piece.


I strove to use the same fiber as the original, whether wool, silk, or cotton.  Every attempt was also made to create a pouch to the same gauge as the original.  Where the original dimensions and/or gauges could not be ascertained, I used as fine a fiber and needles size as I could find, since knitted textiles in the Middle Ages were generally knit at a very fine gauge.


This particular display includes:


  1. Two Color Sheep’s Eye Islamic Stocking, c. 12-1500.

  2. Curvilinear Multicolored Islamic Designs, c. 12-1500.

  3. Fernando de la Cerda’s Diaper Pattern Cushion, c. 1275.

  4. Flat Knitted Multicolored Fragment, c. 13-1400.

  5. Silk Damask Waistcoat of Charles I, c.1649.

  6. Gunnister Stocking, c. 1680.


I hope to add samples of the Dresden Yellow Trunk Hose, one of the Fustat fragments, several of the Fatimid fragments, Fernando’s sibling’s cushion, and the elusive 30-stitsches-to-the-inch silk stocking at which the Spanish knitters excelled.


Baroness Susanna

January 2004


Useful Knitting Techniques

Stranding Through a Solid Color