*Erasmus by the workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Knitting in Early Modern Europe: Research Database

The Knitting in Early Modern Europe is an ongoing research project which began as an EU-funded Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship at the Centre for Textile Research at the University of Copenhagen. The main focus of the project was knitted caps from the 15th to the 17th centuries (see below for research results so far). It has now expanded to look at other knitted garments as part of The Tudor Tailor’s publication plans, including knitting instructions for garments typical of lower class people in the early modern era.

A key part of the production process for knitted goods in the early modern era was fulling (beating the fabric and raising a nap) to thicken it and improve its surface. Key to successful fulling was the appropriate choice of yarn. The search for a 21st century fleece which makes a good substitute for the raw material used in the early modern era continues.

*A painting of one of the most famous knitted caps of the early modern era, as worn by Erasmus (1466/1469-1536) in his portrait dated c1532 by the workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (accession number: 1975.1.138; Robert Lehman Collection, 1975)

How to get involved

If you would like to join the KEME Team, take part in the experimental archaeology, and/or follow the progress of the research, there are three ways to participate.

Get knitting!

Knit and full a modern yarn to see how it performs compared to an early modern yarn – select a sheep, grab your needles and find a mallet.

Review the evidence

Visit the online database to find details about knitted caps from the 15th to 17th centuries, review the evidence, and comment on it.
Visit the database Publications

Stay in the loop

Sign up for The Tudor Tailor’s eNewsletter, which reports all the latest KEME activity, including events and publications.
The Knitting in Early Modern Europe (KEME) project was funded in part by an individual post-doctoral Marie Skłodowska Curie Research Fellowship from August 2015 to July 2017 (grant agreement 656748) awarded by the European Commission. KEME continues with the support of The Tudor Tailor and the Agnes Geijer Textile Research Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships are awarded to enhance the creative potential of experienced researchers, diversify their technical or scientific expertise, and acquire new interdisciplinary skills through advanced training in another EU country