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Frameworking Knitting in Quorn

This mechanised form of knitting started in the 1600s. By the late 1700s, 90% of the 20,000 knitting/stocking frames in Great Britain were located in the East Midlands. The 1841 census for Quorn shows that nearly 20% of the working population in Quorn were employed by framework knitting.

Working the knitting frame was hard work. Hands and arms had to move the carriage, and feet and legs had to work the treadles. Good eyesight was required for the fine adjustments to thread and needles. Eyesight suffered as people continued to work late into the day, in poor light. They had no option if they were to earn enough to keep their families. A rent was charged for the frame itself, and if not enough knitting work was available, the rent still had to be paid.

Framework knitting would usually be a family affair. The husband would work the frame, as he had the strength. Because the frame only produced flat knitting (although the width could be varied), women undertook the ‘seaming’ to produce stockings etc. Women and children would wind the thread from long hanks onto the bobbins required by the frame.

By 1881 the home-based framework knitting industry in Quorn had virtually disappeared. This was mainly due to the emergence of factories. Factories could use steam power for machines, but needed to do this at centralised premises.

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 Submitted on: 2011-04-25
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman
 Artefact ID: 1239
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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