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