I was teaching my knitting class for beginners and one lady asked me if I know where knitting came from. I thought hm… that’s an interesting question. Then we discussed it and came to a conclusion that it probably came from fisherman, because they were using different knots for making fish nets. I came home and researched it. It turned out that we were correct as the word knitting comes from the Anglo Saxon word cynntan, which means to tie or knot.
Knitting was an ancient knotting craft that was passed from generation to generation. Most histories place knitting’s origin in the Middle East. Then knitting spread to Europe via Mediterranean trade routes, and then to the Americas along with European colonization. The oldest artifact with a knitted appearance is a type of sock and is displayed in the Corinium Museum in England. The oldest known real-knitting examples that were formed on two sticks by pulling loops through loops are cotton socks found in an Egyptian tomb dating to around 1000 AD. It is so interesting that socks still continue being a very popular project today.
Only the knit stitch was used for quite a while to make a fabric. So a stockinette fabric was produced by knitting in the round and multiple knitting pins. The first known purl stitches (opposite of the knit stitch) appear only from the mid-sixteenth century.
The popularity of knitting is coming back. There are all kind of conferences, guilds, clubs and groups. A variety of yarns that came up on the market makes knitting very unique, fashionable and versatile. Knitters all over the world continue to create new stitches and experiment with new techniques.
Wikipedia – History of Knitting