Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Knitting with the Saints

Patron saints for craftsmen were chosen for accidental reasons, such as the name of the guild church or a saint's day that provided a winter holiday. The latter reason may explain why in Barcelona, the silk knitters chose St Lucy and St Ursula, while the wool stocking knitters chose St Sebastian- though St Sebastian's arrows may have suggested knitting needles.

Bishop's liturgical gloves were often made by stranded color knitting.

The saintly cardinal archbishop of Milan, Carlo Borromeo, in his Latin regulations on ecclesiastical dress used [the word] contextus, interwoven, to describe the fabric of bishop's gloves.

Ironically, it is the same year, 1793, that gives us one true story of a knitting saint: Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney, the famous cure of Ars. He and his little sister Marguerite went out every day to graze the family donkey, cows, and sheep. They took their knitting with them, since it was the custom of shepherds of both sexes to make stockings while looking after their beasts. Jean carried a statuette of the Madonna in his blouse. He made a shrine for it with leaves and flowers in a hollow tree trunk and used to say to Marguerite, "Knit my stocking. I must go pray down by the brook."

[A History of Hand Knitting]
[Image source]

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