Since my book series, Amish Knitting Circle, came out with Trestle Press, I’ve been asked if Amish women really knit. Most people think they only quilt. I’m so glad to say, yes, they knit too!
The Amish came to America in the early eighteenth century. At that time it was typical for women to know how to spin their wool and knit. Amish women knit shawls for warmth, usually in dark colors to match their dark clothing. Between1860-1920 Lancaster County women had more colors accessible to them and knit fancy colorful socks to wear under their long dresses and boots. These were called wedding socks and worn only by married women as part of their wedding attire.
As the Industrial Revolution produced more yarn in mills at affordable prices, Amish women set aside their spinning wheels. But, they still made socks, mittens, shawls, and other apparel. They made their own knitting looms, now called Amish Knitting Looms, that require no needles and where made of wood and nails. Most are about 32 inches long, the right size for a shawl. When items became cheap enough to buy in stores, the need to knit was replaced by a want to knit. To this day, Amish women knit mats to put under their oil lamps, placemats for their tables, rag rugs to warm their floors, and much more.
Today the traditional Amish Knitting Loom is replaced by plastic ones, although the Amish still make their wooden ones. Lion Brand Yarn sells them in different lengths. But if you go into any craft store you’ll find knitting looms, some as kits, for sale. The top rated knitting loom book on Amazon is Loom Knitting Primer: A Beginner's Guide to Knitting on a Loom, with over 30 Fun Projects.
If you’re reading The Amish Knitting Circle you’ll know their making shawls to send to tornado victims in Joplin, MO. Why not get a loom and knit along with Granny Weaver and her circle and give your shawl to someone in need. Happy knitting!
I think it's safe to say that some things never change. Men aren't made to knit ;)