Is Social Networking History for Fiber Artists?

Did you know social networking was a thing of the past? It's true! Social networking goes back hundreds, even thousands of years, and fiber artists of all stripes have been in the thick of it, from quilting bees to sewing circles to knitting patterns and traditions that are passed from one family member to another.

In fact, the latest issue of PieceWork magazine has a fascinating article on this kind of social networking, along with some other goodies I was surprised to learn. So I asked Editor-in-Chief Jeane Hutchins to tell you more about it.

Happy New Year, 

I'm really excited to tell you about PieceWork's 5th annual historical knitting issue because I know a lot of you love to knit and quilt! One of my favorite articles is by Ingrid Murnane, who reveals the connections made through a knitting pattern that's been in her family for three generations.

Like quilters, who often have a "family" baby quilt pattern, sampler, or other handmade stitching tradition used to create gifts or pass on a sewing or fiber art skill, Ingrid's family has the Bestway glove pattern. Ingrid's grandmother first used it to knit gloves for the troops during World War II. Ingrid's mother learned to knit with the same pattern, making a pair of gloves for her father to wear to work.

Later, she taught a friend to knit the pattern, and they made "dusting" gloves out of cotton yarn. And, like a spin on the old shampoo commercial: they taught their friends, and they taught their friends, and so on, and so on. Ingrid illustrates the connections with a colorful chart in the magazine.

Of course, Ingrid learned to knit with the Bestway pattern, too, and the networking continued. In fact, we include the pattern in this issue, so you can continue the network, yourself.

When I read that article, I think about how threads of all kinds have helped women to make connections with each other. Could "Pattern book" be considered the original Face Book? I don't know, but I do know that now whenever I see a vintage pattern in an antique store or flea market, I'll wonder how many people have gotten to know each other through the rich heritage of needlework.

I feel exceedingly lucky and grateful that the centuries-old technique of knitting continues to enthrall us into the 21st century. I welcome you to learn more of it's fascinating history in PieceWork magazine.


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One thought on “Is Social Networking History for Fiber Artists?

  1. I agree that social networks of today certainly are creating an unsocial world. However, in my observation, both quilters and knitters are still gathering in full force in their own “live” social networks. I work next door to a yarn shop and whenever I go in, there is always a group of 4 – 8 ladies sitting at a table knitting and socializing. Our local quilt store has gatherings several afternoons and evenings a week with quilters working on different kinds of projects – together in a live setting. We do A LOT of socializing in these networks!