Odds and quads: Knitting Collections and Knitting Reference Library, University of Southampton

These are among the 800 objects and about 1,200 patterns which, along with tools, photographs and postcards, make up the Knitting Collections and Knitting Reference Library at the University of Southampton.

June 2, 2011

The Winchester School of Art Library, one of five within the university, has long had a special focus on textiles, fashion and dress history.

This was enhanced by the acquisition of material from three leading knitting scholars and enthusiasts.

Montse Stanley created a reference library of knitting ephemera, journals and magazines as well as objects in her Cambridge home. Southampton acquired her collection in 1999.

Richard Rutt, a former bishop, has a particular interest in the instructional books that began publication in the 1830s, and in Korean and Scandinavian knitting.

And Jane Waller's collection of patterns includes clothing and accessories for men, women and children; knitting for the services during both world wars; plus toys and novelties.

Ranging from the delicate to the kitsch, the university's holdings are regularly used by students of art and design, but also by those researching gender, manufacturing and social history.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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