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Jasvinder Kaur

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It is adamantine to accept that knitting, a favourite amusement of women in the subcontinent during winter, came to India alone during the British Raj. Christian missionaries helped in overextension this accomplishment as girls were accomplished knitting in schools. Gradually, it became accepted amid women and replaced spinning as added bodies starting cutting hand-knitted sweaters and socks.

Cottoning on to wool

In the 19th century, bodies in Punjab were not in the addiction of cutting sweaters, alike back it was absolutely algid in the winter. The affluent adopted Pashmina shawls and the poor acclimated woollen lois — for wrapping about oneself, as able-bodied as for bedding. Baden Powell (in 1872) writes, ‘It is a arresting actuality that in the plains during the algid acclimate citizenry do not like woollen goods, it is alone the poorer chic that resorts to kambal or blanket. Anybody who could allow it, abundant prefers cutting several thicknesses of affection bolt and coats bedlam with affection absolute are universally worn.’

Sir George Watt and Percy Amber additionally bidding agnate thoughts in 1904 that, in general, cotton, rather than wool, was adopted throughout India. This has additionally been corroborated by added writers and gazetteers of the period. Hand-spun khaddar was thicker and warmer than mill-made affection and women acclimated it to stitch their suits. Men generally acclimated a khes as a blanket instead of a balmy chaddar. This convenance was accepted in Punjab alike in the 1990s and ability still be accustomed at assertive places by the earlier generation.

a brand of Dewan Chand Atma Ram, a acclaimed abundance in Shimla.

History of knitting

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The shown is graphic within Slobbery Knit Vest Pattern regarding Knitted Vest Start to Finish – Vest Tutorial Knitting – How To Knit A Vest

The action of knitting is believed to accept originated in Egypt and developed in the easily of a Christian camp accepted as the Egyptian Copts, acclaimed for their skills. It advance with the amplification of Christianity, extensive as far as Peru in the 16th century.

There are abounding theories absorbed with knitting and its spread. According to one theory, knitting was accepted in Italy and Spain afore it accomplished England. Initially it started in Shetland Island in Scotland, afore overextension to England in the 16th century. The adventure goes that the Spanish Armada endemic by the Duke of Medina-Sidonia was ashore at Fair Isles (part of Shetland Isles). The rescued sailors were the ones to advise knitting to Fair Isles’ natives. From there it boring advance to England. Alike today, Shetland absolute is advised to be of above affection and sweaters with a lot of patterns are alleged Fair Isle sweaters. These accept patterns that are created by use of assorted colours.

Fair Isle sweaters were, beat by Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII). He was the Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Fife. In 1922, for The British Open, he wore a soft-collared white shirt, a tie with a geometric pattern, a Fair Isle sweater and additional fours. He appropriately started not alone the appearance of this Scottish knitting style, but was additionally amenable for popularising additional fours (baggy knickerbockers extensive beneath the knee, aforetime beat by men for hunting and golf). These acquire the name from the actuality that additional fours are cut four inches beneath the knee. Although this appearance was accurately advised for golf, yet it became fashionable for breezy daywear for men in the 1920s and was accurately articular with the Prince of Wales. Some of the maharajas of Punjab as able-bodied as affluent bodies additionally wore these casually.

There is yet addition approach area the Scots affirmation to accept invented knitting. This is added so because the aboriginal ‘Knitting Guild’ founded in Paris, took for their angel saint, St Fiacre, the son of a Scottish King.’

Spreading the skill

Sir George Watt and Percy Amber in their archive of the ‘Delhi Exhibition’ of 1903 beam that ‘knitting seems to accept been alien in India above-mentioned to the efforts of the missionaries’. It was accomplished in best changeable schools and girls initially learnt to affiliate socks or jorab. Knitting accordingly came to be accepted as jorab-bunnana as it was the aboriginal commodity that best girls learnt to affiliate although they were not in the addiction of cutting them.

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Malcom Lyall Darling (1934) writes about a academy in Moga area every babe at the aerial academy had to accomplish a bootleg apparel for their anniversary government inspection. Darling observes that while best girls fabricated items that were ill-fitted to apple life, yet some girls fabricated knitted socks admitting they rarely wore them.

Socks get mentioned in books and gazetteers from the third division of the 19th aeon avant-garde and it was consistently said that bodies wore white socks. Baden Powell, anecdotic the dress of the bodies of Lahore and Amritsar, mentions them as cutting white stockings forth with abstract shoes. It can be accepted that back the shoes were embroidered, they were of Indian style. William Crooke, autograph at the alpha of the 20th century, describes an official —‘his continued white stockings mark the ‘baboo’ as acutely as abbreviate deer-skin socks analyze Afghan.’

For a continued time the socks beat in Europe were white and back these were alien in India, best bodies wore alone white socks. In Europe, white was the accepted colour for socks admitting actinic dyes were alien in 1860s. Although socks were accessible in India, not anybody wore them. Initially, it was alone the affluent and the western accomplished that acclimated them.

We acquisition that whenever knitting is mentioned by writers, it is consistently in the ambience of authoritative socks. John Webster mentions that a woman in 1884 learnt to affiliate socks and gloves from a teacher. Baden Powell (1872) lists jails and orphanages of Punjab affianced in knitting. He lists the Mission Orphan Academy in Ludhiana, the Amritsar Changeable Orphanage, and the Changeable Penitentiary, Lahore, area knitting was taught.

A missionary practice

A. Latifi, columnist of ‘Industrial Punjab’ (1911), writes that ‘It is a amount for congratulation that women accept taken to socks authoritative in Ludhiana as able-bodied as Wazirabad’. Autograph some decades after in 1929, Darling mentions that in Ambala the wife of a missionary would appointment the villages about and advise women how to affiliate affection and woollen socks.

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Knitting additionally advance to Punjab hills (now Himachal Pradesh). Missionaries accept been accustomed with bringing knitting there as well. The Moravian Mission in Kyelang (Keylong), Lahaul, beneath Rev Heyde was accustomed in 1854. Addition abode in Basahir (Simla district) was set up. They additionally set up schools at Peo (Reckong Peo) and Kyelang (Keylong) that had 10 girls and who learnt singing, sowing & knitting stockings, etc. The girls learnt how to affiliate gloves and socks. The mission popularised knitting amid the locals, and boring added and added girls took to it in the region. Knitted articles in Lahaul alike today accept multi-coloured patterns, agnate to the Fair Isle designs, which could possibly reflect the aboriginal access of missionaries. The accoutrement for the gloves and the socks were at one time handspun by the women from bounded wool. The colours acclimated were grey, brown, black, or white with multi-coloured patterns.

Rise of the machines

Along with duke knitting, apparatus knitting was additionally alien in India. As technology avant-garde in Europe, knitting anatomy developed in the backward 16th century. Machine-knitted socks in the 18th aeon replaced those fabricated of cloth. Earlier socks and stockings were fabricated with bolt that had to be cut according to the appearance and admeasurement of the leg. Machine-made knitted woollens were fabricated for the aboriginal time at Sialkot. Ludhiana became a above centre of assembly in the aboriginal 20th aeon and by 1911, there were 150 machines for authoritative socks and eight for vests in the city.

In the cities of Punjab, affluent men had started to abrasion sweaters afore they did so in the villages. For women, sweaters came in abundant later. However, about the 1920s and 1930s, as knitting acquired popularity, girls and women took to knitting alike admitting they themselves ability not accept beat sweaters.

Making it to magazines

Knitting magazines, books and pamphlets were accessible in bounded shops and women carefully followed patterns provided in these. This enabled women to affiliate application European patterns and colours as alike colour blueprint were given. Some magazines like ‘The India Ladies Magazine’ gave patterns for knitting cardigans. As some magazines were expensive, abounding women affected the arrangement and the instructions.

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Knitting all-overs and absolute came from England initially and were advertised in the bounded newspapers like The Tribune for auction of knitting yarn and needles. Abounding bounded shops additionally had access away and got their food from there and advertised about it in magazines and newspapers.

Knitting was not as accepted as adornment assignment primarily as not anybody wore sweaters. However, with time, the acceptance of adornment assignment beneath and in post-Independent Punjab, knitting became popular. Slowly, as added and added bodies took to cutting sweaters, knitting became a call as readymade sweaters were not readily accessible and alike if they were, they were actual expensive.

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