Winter Warmers

The weather is starting to turn colder and we are all reaching for our favourite knitwear to make those cold winter days bearable.  For centuries we have been turning to wool and the art of knitting to keep out those Winter chills.

Melanie Gardner, Curator of Art, has been delving into our extensive collection of knitted items and here are just a few examples:

This little Staffordshire pottery child’s mug is inscribed ‘A Gift for Knitting Well’. It has transfer blue printed decoration and dates from the Victorian period.

Staffordshire Pot

This lovely miniature knitted jug is called a ‘pence jug’ and dates from the 1850’s. It was used as a purse for storing change or small items. It is knitted in blue and red cotton. Knitting was a popular leisure activity in the 19th century and a wide variety of items were knitted from patterns.

Knitted Jug

Another small knitted purse in the collection this time used for holding a sovereign. Sovereign purses were very popular during the 19th and early 20th century.

Knitted Purse

This amazing ‘flapper’ style dress dates from about 1925 and was probably worn for special occasions. It is crocheted in grey silk with very long silk tassels at the hem and has a matching grey silk under-slip. This style of dress was the height of fashion in the 1920’s.

Flapper Dress

This pair of child’s brown wool socks date from the Second World War. Although they are unworn they were made for practicality and warmth. The mark ‘CC41’ stamped on each sock refers to the utility scheme introduced in 1942 during wartime rationing. Clothes with the utility mark were made from standard designs from a regulated amount of material with no superfluous decoration.


This little girl’s cream lambswool knitted dress was worn by the donor in 1946. Knitwear was hugely popular during wartime and a wide variety of knitting patterns became available to meet demand.

Baby Dress

This gents patterned knitted tank top dates from the early 1970’s when knitwear went through a revival and was hugely fashionable.

Tank Top

This stylish purple wool bat-winged jumper was knitted by Mabel Bateman from Carlisle for her daughter Jackie to wear in the 1970’s.

Batwing Jumper

Written by – Melanie Gardner, Curator of Art

Do you have any home made knitwear master pieces or even disasters lurking in your cupboards?

It may be a school jumper that went sadly wrong and you paid the price all term long! A balaclava that mum insisted you wore when the weather took a turn for the worse.

Take a picture and send it to us or share your knitwear stories.


Posted on December 30, 2015, in Collections. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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