Preservation is one of the key aims of the Knitting & Crochet Guild. The history of our crafts can only be maintained if we preserve what has been created in the past; the objects themselves as well as the methods and techniques used to create them. Our Collection provides inspiration for future projects, whether we are seeking to recreate an item from the past using modern yarns or find new ways of using forgotten techniques.
May 2019 marks the start of an exciting project funded by a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to the Collection of the Knitting & Crochet Guild. Made possible thanks to National Lottery players, the grant of £10,000 will enable the Knitting & Crochet Guild (KCG) Collection to become known to bigger audiences, especially those who are not able to visit the Collection in person.
The project, officially titled "Digitisation of the Knitting & Crochet Guild Collection" highlights and the creation of a digital
resource’ will show a selection of the Collection on line so that it can be
accessed anywhere, any time, through electronic media. This resource will be of
interest to a wide range of people, including knitters and crocheters, fashion
students and designers, as well as the members of the KCG, of course.
Although the Guild was formed in 1978 it was not until 1990 that it's collections were started. In recent years, the Guild has collected material relating to domestic knitting and crochet in the UK. Work is ongoing to review and catalogue the material so that we can rationalise our holdings and make the collections more widely to members and others in the knitting and crochet community.
Briefly, the collections consist of
- knitted and crocheted items;
- tools and accessories;
- yarns and shade cards;
- publications (books, magazines and pattern leaflets & booklets).
Some items date from before 1900, although the majority is post-1945. It is probably the largest collection of domestically-produced knitted and crocheted textiles and related material in the UK.
Knitted and crocheted items
There are about 2000 of these, hand knitted, domestic machine knitted or crocheted, some combining these techniques. There are garments of all sorts (men's, women's and children's), household items and decorative pieces. Materials include wool, for many of the knitted pieces, and cotton for much of the crochet. In age, the collection ranges from pre-Victorian to late twentieth century. It varies from museum-quality pieces to pieces representative of 'everyday' domestic production typical of the mid twentieth century. There are samples of regional patterns such as Shetland and Aran and 'designer' pieces from the 1980s when knitwear was high fashion.