I was cranking away on the second Marshmallow Ho last night, doing the cable thing, and I started thinking about all the different techniques that I’ve learned or heard about in the course of knitting. Some of them seem to have originated in different places, others are pretty particular to a specific region. I wonder about the first people to come up with some of the techniques, like cabling. Were they doing it in response to a specific need in their knitting, or were they just messing around? I’ve heard that cable stitching has the special property of evening out tension in fabric made from yarn of varying thickness – is that why they first did it, or is that just a happy accident?
I’d like to learn more about the evolution of knitting techniques around the world. Anyone have any suggestions on good historical knitting books?