About the beginning
Knitting was already known in ancient times in Europe.
Today we are familiar with various knitting works from both the Roman Empire and ancient Greece.
This handicraft technique was first forgotten and it was not until the 13th century that knitting was rediscovered in Italy and Spain.
Here, too, various works have been handed down. If we only think of the gloves of Pope Clement V. The Moors were probably the ones who taught the Spaniards to knit.
For a very long time, knitting was not known north of the Alps.
It was only known and introduced by Italian artisans. In the Middle Ages, knitting belonged to the guilds. At that time, not only women, but also many men knitted.
There was then a great deal of enthusiasm for knitting in the Biedermeier period. During this time, however, not only items of clothing were knitted, but also a large number of items for the apartments, such as tablecloths and doilies.
From the 19th century onwards, knitting was mainly a woman's business. The first knitting instructions appeared in women's magazines. In the later years of the war, knitting was more practical because the women were forced to knit clothes for their families.
But knitting was not only done for one's own family, but also for others in order to earn a little money for the household budget.
In the twenties of the last century, many of the knitted garments were manufactured industrially. Knitting by hand was becoming more and more of a secondary issue. It was not until the 50´s that knitting became fashionable again. It was no longer practiced for financial reasons, but much more for a hobby. It has remained that way to this day.
The first hand-knitted stocking
It was a long way to the first hand-knitted stocking that we would like to take a look at here.
The first knitting work was carried out using the two-needle technique, so that parts were knitted for the first stocking that were later sewn together.
Circular knitting on several needles was only developed later. From the year 1254 there are a couple of knitted silk stockings that were knitted in one piece. Other works of this kind are known from Switzerland from the 13th and 14th centuries. The Italians were probably familiar with knitted stockings as early as the 13th century.
The first document in Germany for knitting with at least 4 needles can be found on the Buxtehude Altar, on which Mary knits a little dress for the Baby Jesus.
The first English stocking knitter who can be named is William Rider. He is said to have introduced knitted stockings for men in 1564. For a long time, hand-knitted stockings were still too expensive. It is reported that Henry VIII owned at least 6 pairs of the hand-knitted stockings.
In Switzerland, the first knitted stockings with five needles are mentioned in 1560 and in the middle of the 16th century such stockings were also used in Germany.
Most people at the time wore stockings made of wool. Silk stockings were reserved for kings and the nobility only.
Even the knitted woolen stockings were so expensive at the time that very few could afford this type of leg wear. If he had such stockings, he usually only wore them on Sundays or on public holidays.