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KNITTING ACCESSORIES, NOTIONS
BAGHANDLES, POMPOMS, CLASPS, BUTTONS
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The most widely recognized form of knitting needle, was probably invented in the mid 19th century. It is usually called a straight needle.
The oldest known knitting needles, still very much in use, are double-pointed needles. They are generally used to form tubular fabrics such as socks and the bodies or sleeves of sweaters. As the name implies, double-pointed needles are tapered at both ends nearly to points. They are normally used in sets of four or five as depicted in a number of 14th century oil paintings. There are typically called Knitting Madonnas, depicting Mary knitting with double-pointed needles.
Both tubular and flat knitting is also done on circular needles, which consisting today of two pointed needles joined together by a flexible wire or length of nylon. Some manufacturers sell the two needles and the joining length of nylon separately. Cable needles are used in conjunction with straight and circular needles to create cables.
Antique knitting needles were made from tortoise shell, ivory and walrus tusks; these materials are now banned and these needles are virtually impossible to find. Modern knitting needles are made of bamboo, aluminum, steel, wood, plastic, glass and casein.
- Reference: R. Rutt, "A History of Handknitting"
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