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Knitting is the action of interlinking loops of yarn to form a fabric.  The first records of knitted fabrics came from the Coptic Egyptians in the 5th century AD. Knitting arrived in Europe in the 1400’s. Knitted garments were used to provide practical clothing for warmth, protection and ease of movement, starting with coverings for the extremities –head, feet and hands –and then for the body.  Henry the VIII was the first English monarch to wear knitted stockings.  As underclothing, it gave rise to ‘shirts’, underpants and ‘combinations’, and the ‘gansey’ or ‘jersey’ worn by fishermen.  Up until this point all knitted garments were produced by labour intensive hand knitting.  In 1589 Rev. William Lee invented the stocking frame in Nottingham, England.  This was the forerunner of modern knitting machines.  Although hand knitting is often thought of as a female pursuit both women and men patriotically knitted socks and comforts for solders during WW1 and WW2 (Fig 1)

Fig 1

Figure 1 Patriotic knitting