Heritage and Culture

Wool Culture at the Dornoch Fibre Fest

Wool Culture at the Dornoch Fibre Fest
By Sophie

For the eighth year running, Dornoch will hold their annual Fiber Festival. A celebration of all things woolly and knitted, Fiber Fest is a chance for knitting lovers and wool fans to come together.

From classes in spinning, felting, knitting and tweed handbag-making, the weekend is sure to be a busy one! You can even take part in the cushion competition, where you can used mixed-media to compete with your very own unique cushion design. With Hobbycraft vouchers and a special prize from the Shetland Sheep Society up for grabs, make your cushion ideas a reality now!

The History of Knitting

Throughout history, knitting has been an occupation of importance for many living in the Scottish Highlands. During the 17th and 18th centuries, entire families would be involved in making jumpers and other accessories. A large influence on the knitting world was the fishing industry. Fishermen would benefit from the thick woolen jumpers, as the pattern allowed for the garment to be breathable. The jumper would normally be of a larger fit to trap air between the garment and the body. This would keep the heat in on cold days, when fishermen were out on the waters. The natural oils, coating the wool, worked as the perfect waterproofing agent. Some jumpers could become soaked in water, to a great weight, before the wearer would start to feel wet. Each community would have a unique knitting pattern, which worked in a similar fashion to tartan. If there was a disaster on the ship, the dead would be easily identifiable by the knitting pattern of their jumper.

In 1589 the first mechanical knitting machine was invented. This would alter the knitting world for ever. Knitted garments could be created in a fraction of the time, which ignited the boom of the knitting industry UK-wide.

As the mid-nineteenth century approached, hand-knitting started to wane, replaced by mechanical knitting. Hand-knitting became more of a home hobby and printed patterns and yarn were produced as items of leisure.

In the 1920s, the fashion world pounced on knitted garments, propelling the knitting world into its permanence. As fashions changed throughout the decades, so too did knitting styles and patterns. As the 80s approached, computerised knitting machines allowed for a new perspective and more elaborate patterns. The 21st century saw the resurgence of knitting. The growth of the Internet made natural fibers, from animals, more easily available and less costly for people to source. Fibers such as alpaca, angora and merino were used more frequently and grew in popularity along with exotic fibers such as silk.

The modern knitting industry is ever adapting to the changing fashions and technological advances. It is difficult to imagine which avenue the knitting world will take next. So much has changed in the past few decades that the future possibilities are endless and unimaginable. The knitting world has come a long way and it is exciting to imagine how it may progress in the future.

If you find the history and culture of wool as interesting as we do, then why not take a trip to Dornoch, for the Fibre Fest ,and get involved? If you miss this one there are also a number of other fibre festivals held throughout Scotland throughout the year, each one individual to the town.

Celebrating Knitting, here at Scotweb

Although knitting has changed over the decades, the romance of the old tradition is something we love to celebrate. There is nothing quite like a new knitted jumper, where the smell of the highlands still clings to the fabric. Here at Scotweb, we celebrate the many methods of knitting, by offering a number of hand-knitted and machine knitted products. From thick woolen jumpers, to soft, cosy cashmere, there truly is nothing quite like a knitted garment.

Take a look at our selection of knitted products here: https://www.scotweb.co.uk/multisearch?multi_search...