It wasn't until the Victorian era that weaving became a gender trade. The Industrial Revolution made garment production cheaper and faster than hand-woven products, leaving people less time to knit and more time to work and causing fabric to lose its profitability (Barrago 20. In addition to being part of a lady's refined repertoire, weaving was considered an acceptable way to earn money for women with personal needs. Also seen as a useful skill for the poorest members of society, it was taught in orphanages and poor homes.
The first recorded weaving schools had been established in Lincoln, Leicester and York in the late 16th century and hand-weaving for income continued in Yorkshire well into the 19th century. The Ackworth Quaker School in Yorkshire was established in 1779 for girls and boys who weren't rich. According to the records, her students knitted 339 tights in 1821 alone. By the middle of the 19th century, so-called elegant fabric was flourishing as an elegant living room occupation.
After my partner Clayton was killed last year, I started knitting as a way to relieve my constant panic and anxiety. Knitwear was found in the tombs of Spanish royalty, and they have also been an important part of religious attire for Spain. The bottom line is that it is believed that all the first knitted fabrics have deteriorated beyond discovery, because they were traditionally made with natural fibers such as wool or cotton. In the Yorkshire Dales, where genderless weaving existed for much longer, due to the remoteness of some Dales, a small child could be heard talking to himself.
The back and the two front have been woven flat before stitching, with the abstract floral design imitating the look of silk fabrics. And if the old-fashioned weaver trope were anything to go by, you would continue to weave if you lived to be a hundred. With the invention of knitting machines, it was no longer necessary for merchants to spend all the years of training that were previously necessary to produce incredible products. A teacher would also have taught students how to sew and weave, since the instructions in those old books were difficult for anyone unfamiliar with the trade to follow.
This painting from 1400 shows Madonna knitting, while this drawing from 1800 shows a male shepherd knitting. Weaving has always been political; its history is intertwined with class and race; poverty and servitude or slavery. There is a sad doubt of most of the boys out there to knit, because of this strange gender taboo that modern society has developed. Nowadays, it is mainly thought of a woman's hobby, although there are more and more men who are also picking up knitting needles.
Professional and guild weavers were responsible for an incredible amount of clothing well into the 16th century.