19th century knitters, From the Archives

From the archives: knitting while she works

Habitus et cultus Matronarum Nobilu et Rusticarum (Clothing and Manners of Noblewomen and Countrywomen) 1619 – 1623. From collection at Rijksmuseum (here)


In North Wales the women are very industrious; they are always knitting…

Another short extract today for the ‘always knitting’ series, which features 19th century commentary about European women’s apparently ubiquitous and incessant knitting. (See here for part one of series and see menu for From the Archives – always knitting).

The extract below is taken from an article in a Manchester paper in 1846 (itself extracted from the Sunday Times) and describes some pretty impressive multi-tasking by a Welsh knitter.


MAKING THE MOST OF ONE’S POWERS – In North Wales the women are very industrious; they are always knitting stockings at least, and sometimes doing more. We passed a sturdy-looking dame yesterday, who was knitting stockings, of course; had a load of wool on her head, a child tied on her back, and a cudgel under her arm, with which she was driving four cows before her. Nor was her tongue idle, for she scolded the cows in Welsh if they dared to swerve from the path she meant them to pursue. – Sunday Times.

The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Wednesday 23 September 1846. From the fantastic British Newspaper Archive- see more here


Over to you: Are you a fan of knitting on the move or while you work? I’d love to hear about your experiences or any memories of similarly industrious family members or friends.



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