knit-stockngs-msg - 12/5/04
Period knit stockings.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 19:41:17 -0800
From: Lilinah biti-Anat <lilinah at grin.net>
To: lilinah at grin.net
Subject: 12th Century Muslim Egyptian stockings
Wednesday i sent a message about my first pair of socks, based on a
pair found in Egypt made sometime between the 11th and 14th centuries.
For folks who didn't get the first message, these can be seen at
[link updated - 12/5/05 - Stefan]
They are blue and white, have diamond-star toes, and patterns of
diamonds, zigzags, and bands of Kufic script saying "Allah."
They are my third knitting project ever. I didn't make them in a
completely authentic manner, partly because i didn't know how.
However, all the patterns and the method of making the heel are
I have now gotten my attempt at instructions for making them in a
historically accurate manner on line at
[link updated - 12/5/05 - Stefan]
Since some folks noticed this page, i want to let them know that i
have completed the directions for the short-row heel.
I thank those who have sent encouraging messages. They have been very
Additionally, i have since gotten more information and have been
experimenting with actually knitting from the toe up and with making
a second kind of historic heel. I have finished one sock, scanned it,
and again supplied directions. This sock is an anklet, unlike the
first pair, which are knee socks. Ankle high socks have been found in
Egypt. This sock is entirely an invention of mine, unlike the first
pair, which are my take on an actual sock. It has two bands of Kufic
script that say "baraka," that is, "blessings." This pattern is
derived from a piece of 13th century Andalusian knitting. All details
are on the page.
The pictures and directions for the "blessed" anklet are at:
[link updated - 12/5/05 - Stefan]
As i'm a novice knitter, i welcome any feedback about my
instructions, and i'll answer any questions anyone may have about my
process... Also, if there are any problems with the pages, display,
etc., please let me know, as i'm trying to make this information
accessible and i will gladly attempt to correct any glitches.
Anahita Gauri al-shazhiya bint-Karim al-hakim al-Fassi
From: noramunro at aol.comclutter (Alianora Munro)
Date: 23 Sep 2000 14:47:06 GMT
ghelena661 at aol.com(Ghelena661) writes:
> I am wondering how many knitters we have wandering about the Knowne
Lots. There is even a mailing list for us, on eGroups, called Historic Knit.
> I want to attempt to document what kind of heel was used. Eleanora of
>Toledo's stockings have deteriorated at the very bottoms. With a magnifying
>lens, it looks like there is a gusset in on the side, below the ankle. This
>gusset shaped bit is indicative to me of a turned heel. I put in a nice dutch
>heel on my stockings, but have already been queried as to "is that how they
If you can lay hands on a copy of Rutt's _History of Handknitting_, take a look
at the photo of the silk stockings of Barnim XII of Pomerania (1549-1603) on
page 73. The heels on those are well-preserved, and show a heel which is not
turned in the modern way, but has a heel flap which is decreased, with the last
stitches under the heel cast off together, forming a welt. There is a gusset
shaping on those as well, and the stockings were probably knit in a way similar
to that described in the first known English knitting pattern, from 1655. This
pattern, which Rutt includes in an appendix, gives directions for the heel
which produce the same shaping. According to that pattern, once the heel flap
is worked and cast off, the knitter picks up stitches along the edges and
across the instep to work the foot, as with a modern heel turning.
Unfortunately, pattern is incomplete, so we don't have the description of how
to shape the toe.
I've knit a sample foot from the 1655 pattern to show people what the period
turning was like, but for stockings I intend to wear I use a modern turning,
since having that welt under your heel can be uncomfortable
Alianora Munro, Bright Hills, Atlantia
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 17:10:26 -0500
From: "Daniel Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>
Subject: Re: SC - OT-Stockings
Was asked by Eleanor d'Aubrecicourt:
>Stockings! Do you have a good resource for information on making
My lady you might check the back issues of TI there was an article on the
making of a knitted pair in period fashion within the last 5 years. I
believe that a version of the article also appeared in a commercial magazine
which caters to those of that craft as well. I suggest finding the TI
article and contacting its author.
From: "Patricia Collum" <pjc2 at cox.net>
To: <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
Subject: Fw: [HistoricKnit] Knitting before 1601,
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 19:42:23 -0700
I printed this out to include with my info on egyptian period socks, and then realized you might be interested, too.
----- Original Message -----
From: lilinah at earthlink.net
To: HistoricKnit at yahoogroups.com
Sent: Sunday, December 08, 2002 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: [HistoricKnit] Knitting before 1601,
>soon I will be the Egyptian socks
>While I'm thinking of it, Anahita, where did you find
>the pattern for turning the heels of the socks on your
Uh, errr, i don't quite remember...
I think the best source for this kind of information is:
Ethnic Socks & Stockings: A compendium of Eastern design & technique
Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts
XRX, Inc., Sioux Falls SD: 1995
Chances are good i got much of my information from this book.
I don't think any of Gibson-Roberts' toes is like either of the two
kinds of Mamluk Egyptian toes, but she has both of the Mamluk heel
She discusses two Mamluk socks - in fact, they're the first ones in
her book. They both have the same kind of heel and the same kind of
toe. I'm not convinced that the toe type she ascribes to them is what
they really have and i did something different from what she says.
Also, Gibson-Roberts does say that the Mamluks are descendents of the
Mongols, which is incorrect. But that doesn't decrease in the
slightest the amazing value of this book.
There is another toe (what i call the diamond toe) which
Gibson-Roberts doesn't describe. What she calls a diamond toe is a
very different technique from the Mamluk one.
And there's another heel - the short row heel - in many Mamluk socks,
which she does describe elsewhere in her book, but without reference
to Mamluk stockings.
Nancy Bush's book, Folk Socks, has little photographs of several
Mamluk stockings, socks i haven't seen in any other source. I
originally bought her book in hopes of learning how to make the socks
from it, but found it was nearly useless for my purposes. None of her
socks is a re-creation of the originals - which would actually have
been useful - to learn "traditional" techniques.
Her ankle socks based on a Mamluk knee-high stocking are very little
like any Mamluk stockings. She has graphs of a few Mamluk patterns -
which is useful, but Rutt has them too - as well as graphs that
purport to be from them but are nothing like any of them. I graphed
many patterns from photos in Rutt, since while he has graphs of many,
he doesn't have graphs from all the Mamluk examples in his book.
Bush's sock heel is also different from any Mamluk heel i've seen.
Her "diamond" toe, however, has some things in common with the Mamluk
kind, and can be adapted to be more Mamluk.
While most of Bush's versions of "ethnic" socks are lovely, few
reproduce the actual techniques used in the originals. Many that are
knit from the toe up in the originals, not just the Mamluk one, she
knits from the top down. All in all, i found her book disappointing.
I am heartened to hear that in the most recent edition she has
corrected some of the historical inaccuracies in the edition i have.
So, I unequivocally recommend Gibson-Roberts' book and think it is an
essential book for any knitter's library. Really. Get this book!
But I have many reservations about Bush's book. It's good for modern
knitters and modern sock fanatics, has nice but small photos of
"ethnic" socks, but is disappointing as far as techniques go. So i
cannot really recommend it for re-creators or knitters interested in
learing about "traditional" techniques.