The Winchester School of Art Library at University of Southampton in the UK is the home of the rather remarkable Knitting Reference Library.
One of the library’s strengths is its focus on textiles, textile art, fashion and dress history. The collections have been significantly enriched by the addition of three distinctive knitting collections acquired from renowned practitioners and scholars in the field: Richard Rutt, Jane Waller and Montse Stanley. These three knitting historians have each made a remarkable contribution to the literature with the books they have written, and to see the collections that inspired and informed them is a wonderful opportunity.
The Knitting Collections held by the University of Southampton provide a rich range of resources covering the many facets of knitting from the everyday and kitsch to the historical, technical and beautiful. The Knitting Reference Library comprises books, journals, magazines and an estimated 12,000 knitting patterns, and over 800 knitted objects, tools, photographs and postcards.
A selection of 19th century knitting manuals and pattern books from the Rutt collection are available in PDF format for viewing and download – legally!
The school is also home of the In The Loop conference. The last event, in 2010, titled “Knitting origins and evolution” was held, fittingly enough in Lerwick, Shetland, and included presentations from both artist and academics on a broad range of knitting-related topics, historical, technical and sociological.
The next event is scheduled for September 2012, and the theme is “Voices in Knitting”.