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Ladies at a french knitting workshop at Off Beat Design in November 2011

French Knitting

Not much can be found about the origins of the craft although it is mentioned in documents as early as the beginning of the last millennium. Early references refer to knitting in general terms, as used for rugs or basket weaving, both of which are very ancient skills.

The first reference to french knitting we found was the ‘KNITTING TRADE GUILD’, STARTED IN PARIS IN 1527 This confirms the belief french knitting in today’s context, commenced some time prior to this date.


French knitting has progressed from the “FOUR NAILS IN A COTTON REEL” – to techniques with more pins, more sophisticated spools, and addition of beads to the designs.

The most important change however has been in threads. Wire is now widely used, however the latest and most exciting advance has been in the colours, sizes and quality of threads from Japan. These are lighter, stronger and offer vastly improved colour options.