Date of this Version
Published in The Social Fabric: Deep Local to Pan Global; Proceedings of the Textile Society of America 16th Biennial Symposium. Presented at Vancouver, BC, Canada; September 19 – 23, 2018. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/tsaconf/
Hand knitted gloves with unique patterning have been produced in the small Scottish town of Sanquhar for probably 200 years. They continue to be produced there today, demonstrating a “deep local” presence spanning many generations. Meanwhile, knowledge of the gloves has spread globally, including the English-speaking world as well as Europe and Scandinavia. Aided by modern social media they have become “pan global” as exemplified in the author’s blog documenting “The Glove Project” (https:knittinggloves.wordpress.com/), the Ravelry group dedicated to Sanquhar knitting (http://www.ravelry.com/groups/sanquhar-knitting-group) and an ongoing online exhibition for the Center for Knit and Crochet USA (http://sanquhargloves.centerforknitandcrochet.org). The paper draws on the author’s work investigating the origins of the glove production in Sanquhar and the reasons for its continued existence in that specific place (Knitting Traditions, Spring 2014, Rowan Magazine, 56 Winter 2014, Vogue Knitting 2017), alongside the very few gloves produced from one village in the north of England, similar in style to those of Sanquhar but specific to that location and therefore also “deep local.” In the context of “pan global” activity, glove production in the Baltics and Scandinavia is compared and contrasted with that of the UK while historic gloves from India also share similarities with the UK design. The paper reflects the variety of approaches used in the “The Glove Project,” including the study of historic examples; knitting gloves in “traditional” patterns; designing and knitting contemporary gloves; and observation of examples of knitted gloves from Estonia and Latvia. These diverse approaches are underpinned by a critical framework informed by a feminist standpoint, a structured qualitative research methodology and a multi-disciplinary subject base, encompassing design, textiles, material culture, and geography. The paper is illustrated with selected historic and contemporary examples of knitted gloves taken from the collection of the Knitting and Crochet Guild and the author’s personal collection.