The extensive and rich resources of the Knitting Reference Library and the Knitting Collections held by the University of Southampton Library have created a passion for all things knit. I learnt the basics of knitting from my mum in the 1970s and recently remembered this when I came across an old polaroid photograph in which I am knitting a red mohair Patricia Roberts jumper! I now find myself responsible for the Knitting Reference Library located at the University’s Campus which includes thousands of patterns dating from the 1920s to the present day. My interest in knitting focuses on the stories told by the resources and the many knitters I have met since starting out on this project rather than on developing my own knitting abilities although I can still do those basics.
The work with the collection began when the University Library acquired the Montse Stanley Knitting Reference Library followed by thousands of patterns from Jane Waller. At a later date the late Richard Rutt donated his knitting library to us including about 70 Victorian knitting manuals and another large number of knitting patterns. These three collections together represent the knitting history of the 19th and 20th centuries. We aim to keep this collection alive through adding new books, exhibition catalogues and knitting patterns from the 21st century.
We are also very grateful for the many donations of knitting patterns from former knitters or their relatives.
Linda Newington – Knitting Librarian