Textile Fragment

200-499 (made)
Textile Fragment thumbnail 1
Textile Fragment thumbnail 2
+1
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Before the technique of knitting with two needles evolved, textiles with a very similar structure and texture were created by a technique known as ‘single-needle knitting’. Socks in this technique from the late Roman period were usually worked with the big toe separate, so that they could be worn with sandals. This piece was intended to cover the remaining four toes and was possibly worked to mend a worn sock. It was excavated from Christian burial grounds of the 3rd to 5th centuries AD, found in the present-day city of al-Bahnasa in Egypt.

Single-needle knitting used yarn threaded through the eye of a sewing needle worked in the round through a series of loops. It was much more laborious and slower than knitting with two needles, as the yarn could only be worked in short lengths. Extra pieces of yarn had to be spliced on as the ‘knitting’ progressed.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Wool, single-needle knitting
Brief Description
Sock, part
Physical Description
The section of a toe sock that would cover the 4 toes separately from the big toe, worked in brown wool in single-needle knitting. Worked in the round with increasing on one side. Gauge is 8 stitches and 14 rows per inch. Possibly worked as a separate piece to mend worn toes in another sock?
Dimensions
  • Approx. width: 6cm
  • Approx. length: 3.5cm
Style
Credit line
Given by the Egypt Exploration Fund
Object history
Found at Oxyrhynchus (modern Behneseh), 1896-97 excavation season.
Summary
Before the technique of knitting with two needles evolved, textiles with a very similar structure and texture were created by a technique known as ‘single-needle knitting’. Socks in this technique from the late Roman period were usually worked with the big toe separate, so that they could be worn with sandals. This piece was intended to cover the remaining four toes and was possibly worked to mend a worn sock. It was excavated from Christian burial grounds of the 3rd to 5th centuries AD, found in the present-day city of al-Bahnasa in Egypt.



Single-needle knitting used yarn threaded through the eye of a sewing needle worked in the round through a series of loops. It was much more laborious and slower than knitting with two needles, as the yarn could only be worked in short lengths. Extra pieces of yarn had to be spliced on as the ‘knitting’ progressed.
Bibliographic Reference
A F Kendrick, Catalogue of Textiles From Burying-Grounds in Egypt, Vol II, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1920, p.91, catalogue no.614
Collection
Accession Number
1939A-1897

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdOctober 31, 2006
Record URL