Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Civil War Kitting Is NOT

Every knitter at some point gets accused of crocheting. It's fine to crochet, but it's not the same thing as knitting.

One hook vs. two sticks, different.

Finished product, different.

Not necessarily better, just different.

It amazes me though, when people who should know better, namely auctioneers and textile historians, can't tell the difference between knit and crochet. Go to a quilt exhibit and the museum will generally have it right when it comes to the difference between applique and piecing. Not so for crochet and knitting

Currently the MO History Museum is displaying an 1860s knitted petticoat and has labeled it "crocheted."

Currently this crocheted hat is up for sale on

Here's the description:

  • Unusual, Patriotic Soldier's Knitted "Camp Cap" Worn by New Hampshire Soldier. This colorful tri-color knitted tam was worn by a member of the Third New Hampshire Vol. Infantry while stationed at Hilton Head Island, S.C. during the early part of the war. The cap has a 3" tall knitted red/white/blue band on which is a blue wool body that is topped off by a light blue wool tassel and ball. There is no lining. The cap was most likely made for the soldier by a neighborhood sewing circle or loved one at home. A number of existing photos show men of this unit in camp wearing such knitted tams during their stay at Hilton Head from October, 1861 to April, 1862. The verbal history that accompanied the hat stated it was owned by a "Private T. Adams" of that unit. A search of the records shows the Third contained two men with that name. Condition is fine with a few spots of repair. A very colorful and rarely encountered item of soldier's personal gear. Estimate: $3,500 - $4,500.

The finished product of knitting makes for a drapy, flexible object. The finished product of crocheting makes for a firmer product. Different process = different product.

The petticoat, very sensibly, is actually knitted, while the cap, also very sensibly, is crocheted.

Drapy petticoat, structured hat. Different.


Carrie said...

I just gave a knitted hat to someone. This someone knows that I KNIT. I've knitted in front of this person many times, and we have had many discussions about knitting.

What does this person tell her friend about the gifted hat? "Look at this hat that Carrie crocheted!"


Tempest ina Pot of Tea said...

What Missouri Historical Society wrong? Shocking (or in my case i should say, not shocking, they often get things wrong.