Research Guide: Knitting History and Techniques

Research Guide: Knitting History and Techniques

For a recent class, I needed to create a beginner research guide for a topic that interests me. So of course, I chose knitting history. Below is the rough content of my research guide. Enjoy!


The Textile Technology Complete database includes records covering the uses and technology involving the textile industry, such as apparel, carpeting, upholstery, and construction.

Textile Technology Complete

The Art & Architecture Source database is a large art-based research database. There are many references for knitting history and knitting technique history.

Art & Architecture Source


YouTube can be a great resource for knitting techniques and instruction; however, finding quality information can be a challenge. Look for video providers with a reputation for quality information, such as Roxanne Richardson. She is a certified master handknitter and teacher with years of experience.

Richardson, R. (Retrieved April 8, 2024). Roxanne Richardson. Youtube.

Another excellent source for technique information is Suzanne Bryan, also a certified master hand knitter. Her YouTube channel focuses on teaching solid techniques.

Bryan, S. (Retrieved April 8, 2024). Knitting with Suzanne Bryan. Youtube.

Ravelry is a user-based collection of knitting groups, patterns, yarn brands, and other information databases. It has become the default internet home for knitters and crocheters to track projects, find patterns, and converse with other crafting hobbyists. is a great resource that provides details about a particular yarn and possible substitution yarns based on various attributes. The website’s author, Wendy Peterson, also writes a wonderful email newsletter that discusses the yarn world, book reviews, and more.

Useful Search Keywords

  • Knitting
  • Knitting history
  • Fair Isle Knitting
  • knitting technique
  • Mittens
  • Latvian Mittens
  • Stockings history
  • Estonian knitting
  • Ogee Lace
  • Lace
  • Lace making

Subject Headings (Call Numbers)

Library of Congress

Knitting [TT819-TT829]

  • Fancy work (Broader Terms)
  • Cable knitting (Narrower Terms)
  • Color in knitting
  • Entrelac knitting
  • Knitted Lace
  • Machine knitting
  • Spool knitting
  • Tuck knitting
  • Yarn bombing.

Dewey Decimal

746.432 Knitting (Yarn Crafts (746.43), Needlework (746.4), Textile arts (746))

Print Resources

Nancy Bush, in “Folk Socks: The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear,” covers the known history of knitted footwear and the various iterations in the first half of the book, then the second half shares knitting patterns for modern interpretations of cultural and historically relevant knitted footwear from various cultures.

Bush, N. (1994). Folk socks: The history & techniques of handknitted footwear. Interweave Press.

In “The Art of Fair Isle Knitting,” by Ann Feitelson, she covers the known history of the Fair Isle and Shetland style knitting traditions. The book is full of beautiful museum and historical photographs as well as educating the reader on Fair Isle knitting techniques and some modern day Fair Isle stranded-colorwork patterns.

Feitelson, A. (1996). The art of Fair Isle knitting: History, technique, color & patterns. Interweave Press.

“A History of Hand Knitting,” by Richard Rutt, is a primary research-oriented history of knitting. It is an important academic work covering the long history of knitting and textile arts.

Rutt, R. (2003). A history of hand knitting (U.S. ed). Interweave Press.

“The Ultimate Knitting Book,” from Vogue Knitting is an excellent resource covering basic techniques to aftercare. It is large, colorful, and well-indexed.

Vogue knitting. The ultimate knitting book (First edition). (2018). Sixth&Spring Books.


The Knitting Guild Associate , is one of two organizations offering training and certifications for hand knitters covering Technical Editors, Knitwear Designers, Knitting Judges, Knitting Instructors, and Master Hand Knitting.

The Craft Yarn Council , is an organization representing many large yarn manufacturers. The Craft Yarn Council sets standards for yarn sizes, yarn band notation, needle sizes, and other important standards. They also offer certifications for instructors and teachers.

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