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sedgwick
Warming Up

87 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2004 :  1:57:49 PM  Show Profile Send sedgwick a Private Message
I've been reading an odd and interesting book by a guy named Heinz Edgar Kiewe called The Sacred History of Knitting. The author includes several photographs of a garment he calls a "Norman Shirt," which has "heated sleeves." He describes this shirt as having "thermo-genetic qualities." The sleeves are long and very full, with what seem to be fairly wide bands of stockinette stitch divided by narrow bands of--I don't know, probably garter stitch. The cuffs, which are fairly long, are much narrower, close to the wrist, and repeat the wide band/narrow band of the upper sleeves, except on a smaller scale. The body, too, has the same kind of bands, but vertical. Altogether, it's pretty attractive.

Does anyone know what "thermo-genetic qualities" means when applied to knitting, or how to do this kind of knitting?

sedgwick

mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2004 :  2:48:38 PM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message
My guess is that this effect is caused by the type of fibre used. Thermo genetic simply means heat creating, so I'm guessing that it might be a wool blend.

Monika

"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness." Gandhi
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Elizabeth
Permanent Resident

USA
1557 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2004 :  3:17:58 PM  Show Profile Send Elizabeth a Private Message
Or the idea of trapping air that is then warmed by the body - like thermal fabric, the bumpy kind that they make long underwear out of?
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GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2004 :  3:57:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message
Not sure exactly what thermo-genetic knitting is (I would tend to agree with the above posts) but Heinz Edgar Kiewe's name pops up in the strangest places. He seems to be considered the true expert on knitting history and he is quoted and referred to constantly. Where did you get the book -- is it currently in print?
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Elizabeth
Permanent Resident

USA
1557 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2004 :  4:02:56 PM  Show Profile Send Elizabeth a Private Message
Just checked him out on www.bookfinder.com . They have several books available, my favorite title being Charted Peasant Designs from Saxon Transylvania (available on www.half.com for only $4.10 or new from Powells for only $5.95!). Other titles by Heinz Edgar are

Africa: Make Them Craftsmen.
Civilisation on Loan
Folk Cross-Stitch Design collected by Emil Sigerus
History of Folk Cross Stitch
History of Folk Cross Stitch 5th edition
History of knitting; is it earlier than weaving? Textile design anthropology. First exhibition, arranged by Heinz Edgar Kiewe, Oxford.
Sacred History of Knitting
The Sacred History of Knitting: Recent Discoveries By Heinz Edgar Kiewe Oxford 1967-1971.
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of troy
Permanent Resident

USA
2474 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2004 :  4:16:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit of troy's Homepage Send of troy a Private Message
as most women know, stocking's (nylons) feel surprizing warm.. (yet they are very thin) and in reality, they are warmer than you'd expect.

the trick is they are knit--
because they are knit, they tend to cling to your body, and at the same time the mesh of the knitting 'opens up' to create many small 'holes'

the surface of the nylon, is slick, (and cause wind to 'slide over it'). the holes (in the knitting) and the super thin, super slick surface trap a mirco layer of air next to your skin.

it is possible for your body to 'warm' this micro layer.. so what stocking do, is trap a very thin layer of warm air next to you body. and air is an excellent insulator.. the best clothes 'warm' us by helping to trap air.

wool (and many natural fibers) also tends to trap air (more so than cotton) and knitting (becaue it is more form fitting) helps to trap air. wool knit garment are very warm as a result.

we sometimes think we need heavy thick clothes for warm. but thin, closefitting layers close to the skin, are much warm than thick heavy layers that can't comform as closely.--one group of NA first nation groups(that are 'generally called eskimo'(a misnomer!) wears not heavy furs, but 20 to 30 layer of garments, (each is almost tissue thing)the thin garments are very stretch, and the underlayers are tighter, 'skin tight' almost, but the outer layers are loose.-- these garments are incredible warm (they are made from intestial material, that has been specially treated/cured to make it more durable).. but basicly they are wearing 'sausage skins'..not fur, for winter wear north of the artic circle! they use the same 'trap air effect', and because their garments are layered, its very easy to 'adjust' as weather gets colder/warmer. (unlike a single or even a double layer of fur..)

bands of tight and loose areas in the sleeves would create 'air pockets' that would trap body heat --and yet be flexible (tight knits, are 'sized', and if too tight, they limit mobility) but having a tight area alternate with a loose area, would allow mobilty, and still trap air.(and be more likely to fit a range of body sizes, and not have to be custom knit to each body)

combine the knitting technique with wool.. and remember, wool is a rather special fiber--it can absorb 30% of its weight in water (and still provide insulating warm) and its is very effective at absorbing and moving water away from body. -humans are the 'sweatiest' animal on earth.. when our bodies generate heat, they also generate moisture.. its much harder to heat moisture (water) than air... fabrics and fibers that don't wick moisture effectively end up feeling clammy, and cold.

wool effective absorbs (wicks away and releaces) moisture, while continuing to trap air (which keeps warm air next to the skin,) and provide a feeling of 'warmth' (as do the intestinal material refered to above..)

modern fibers try to 'duplicate' these properities, some do it more successfully than others.
the warmest clothing works by using the right fibers, and the right fit!

(the multi layers garment i spoke of, can be seen at The American Indian Museum, (a part of the Smithsonian))--
native american people never developed knitting (*nor did they have any domesticated sheep) they did of course weave, and they created have amazing complex garments, that make wonderful use of local materials.
*they did have special breed of dogs that were 'combed' for the long thin under belly fibers. this was a 'specialty breed, and it was obviously bred for its soft coat.
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sedgwick
Warming Up

87 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2004 :  9:21:59 PM  Show Profile Send sedgwick a Private Message
Thanks, Elizabeth, for the list of books by this guy. I especially like the title of the first one--Africa: Make Them Craftsmen. I think I'll look for it.

And Of Troy: it's interesting that you should give this very helpful response, because Kiewe mentions that he grew up in an area of (I think) Switzerland where a lot of people came to ski. His father, knowing exactly what you describe, made his sons (Kiewe was very young then) very warm knitted outfits that worked as you describe here. However, the style didn't catch on, and the boys got a lot of teasing and flak from their friends. Maybe that's what started Kiewe's interest in knitting, although he says in the introduction to this book that the thought of writing it came to him while he was with his dear mother during the last weeks of her life.

sedgwick (who thinks she'll look for more about that "Norman shirt," because it looks both cozy and attractive)
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kokopelmana
Chatty Knitter

USA
268 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2004 :  05:58:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit kokopelmana's Homepage  Send kokopelmana a Yahoo! Message Send kokopelmana a Private Message
Helen of Troy: That was a wonderful explanation! Kudos!

Sedgwick: Sounds like FASCINATING reading! Thanks for sharing the info.

Elizabeth: Thanks for the list.

I am also an admitted bibliophile. So books on knitting kill two birds with one stone.

Kelly

"Be here now." - Ram Dass
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