3KCBWDAY3 My Knitting/Crochet Hero

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I’m participating in the third annual knitting and crochet blog week. Today, I must blog about someone in the fiber crafts who truly inspires me.  It should have been a tough question: there are so many people whose patterns, yarn, tools or craft I admire. But one special lady floats to the top.

Queen Victoria. Take a gander at that lace decoration she's wearing.

Queen Victoria

The BF and I recently rented Young Victoria. I enjoyed the movie so much that I watched the extras too. In one of the making-of interviews, actress Emily Blunt, who plays Victoria, talks about the research she did to prepare for her role, and she revealed something very exciting: Queen Victoria was an avid knitter and crocheter. And she was unashamedly so at a time when fiber craft was still considered by many in England to be a “career of the working man” and not a refined art. She was a trend-setter.  She was a change agent.

This is the Queen spinning.

And here she is, crocheting.

During Victoria’s reign, knitting and crochet experienced a dramatic resurgence in popularity. Well-bred girls were expected to learn how to knit.

And here’s a really important development we can all thank her for: because middle and upper class people were interested in knitting, we began to see some of the first formal documentation of how things should be made. That’s patterns, ladies and gentlemen. The first printed patterns. 

Queen Victoria promoted the fiber arts throughout her life. Shetland knitted lace became extremely popular in England when Queen Victoria fell in love with it.

Late in life, Queen Victoria crocheted eight special “Scarves of Honor” to be presented as awards to British forces fighting in South Africa. Some believed this special honor to be the equal of, or even a rank above the Victoria Cross. This is not supported by research, which indicates that the scarves had no particular status as a decoration. Still, it would have been pretty darn cool to receive a scarf personally crocheted for you by the Queen.

Queen Victoria's Scarf of Honor. From Canadian War Museum.

Thank you, ma’am, for all you did to promote fiber crafts. You’re my knitting/crochet hero.

26 thoughts on “3KCBWDAY3 My Knitting/Crochet Hero

  1. Thanks for the info. The lace veil she’s wearing looks amazing …. I wish they were in fashion today but I have a hunch my daughter would REALLY worry should I begin to wear one! 🙂

  2. Wow! This is amazing. I did not know the Queen Victoria knit or crocheted. Thank you for teaching me something new today! I love the pictures you shared and the bit of history. 🙂

    • caityrosey

      Neither did I. I also learned that she grew up knitting in the German tradition (her mother was a German princess). Over there, knitting was perfectly normal for an upper class woman.

    • caityrosey

      Indeed. It’s so easy to forget that important historical figures were people too. And the things that make them three dimensional often seem so inconsequential.

  3. That is pretty cool

    Imagine Christmas in the royal household. “but she spent six hours crocheting me a scarf – what are you meant to get for the the queen who has and can make everything!”

    • caityrosey

      Yeah, no kidding. I never knew this until I saw the movie. And then I just had to read more. I considered picking up a copy of her published diaries just to find the parts about knitting.

  4. That is so cool! I had seen that image of Victoria spinning, but I always figured it was more for show.
    Without Victoria, knitting might not be what it is today. We might not have patterns!

  5. Pingback: Art for the people

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