Knitting in Early Modern Europe update
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Hello All –

After a lot of research, negotiation and investigation behind the scenes it is time to launch the experimental archaeology phase of the Knitting in Early Modern Europe (KEME) project. I have a lot of exciting information to share and will be very grateful for your help and feedback.

Part of the delay in sending out plans for your participation has been the need to ensure my research materials can be freely circulated without contravening the terms and conditions of the museums who hold the 16th century knitted caps. As a result, I am inviting you to complete the online form agreeing not to circulate these materials more widely.  Thank you for your cooperation on this.

KEME Seminar in Copenhagen

The Centre for Textile Research will be hosting our next seminar on Mon 27 & Tues 28 February.  It will include updates and practical activities with the programme of speakers available here. If you would like to join the event, please RSVP to

What is a swircle?

At the beginning of the project the concept of the 'swircle' - a circular knitted swatch - was developed to allow theories on cap construction to be tested without requiring everyone to knit a whole cap. A big thank you to those who assisted with the initial testing of this concept.
I am pleased to announce that intern Rosalind Mearns has joined the KEME project to help organise the experimental archaeology activities.

Rosalind is studying for a Masters in experimental archaeology at the University of Exeter and has previously worked for the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) with responsibility for costumed interpretation programmes.

Rosalind will be the administrator of this phase of the KEME project so look out for messages from her!

Things to get you started

Guidelines for each task will be provided and can be requested from Rosalind via  Please opt in to or out of as many of these as you would like. Your thoughts and feedback are welcome at all stages of the process.

Data collection

  • Making observations about c16th knitted caps from photographs
  • Taking measurements from magnified photographs of the knitted caps
  • Analysing photographs of the caps to develop knitting instructions

Spinning, knitting & fulling

  • Spinning yarn to the specifications of the original knitted items
  • Knitting small (5 inch/12.5cm diameter) circular swatches (“swircles”) in sets of four
  • Fulling two of the four swircles

Recording data

  • Photographing your swircles
  • Measuring your swircles
  • Sending two swircles (one fulled, one unfulled) to us

The project so far

An article on my research so far has just been published in the Archaeological Textiles Review. If you intend to participate in the KEME team spinning and knitting activities - you will receive a pdf of the article as soon as your online form is submittedIf you prefer to subscribe to the journal to receive a copy, the details are here. It costs 190dkk per year (€25/£22/US$27).

KEME Conference

You are invited to attend the KEME Conference at Copenhagen University on Sat 5 and Sun 6 August 2017.  This will be a chance to discuss the results of the project and to meet the KEME team face-to-face. Full details will be distributed in the coming months.
Please do complete the online form to join the KEME experimental archaelogy activities.  If you have any questions Rosalind can be contacted at or I can be contacted at

Thanks for your patience. Now we can really get going …

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