It didn't take much of a search, but I figured out where this odd urge to weave sixty million yards of silk to make my own kimono, or tapestries for the walls of my office, or overshot twill for my dining room table came from. Oh yes. I know who to blame now.
5,000 years of textiles, edited by Jennifer Harris, published by Smithsonian Books. (For those of you overseas, the Smithsonian is our many-branched national museum, and one of the few things I know of still running properly in this government. Knock on wood.) I've been reading this book for about a week, and it's wonderful.
The book starts off with a discussion of methods - spinning, weaving, tapestry, knitting, lace-making of various types. Then it heads off on a worldwide survey of everything on the planet that could possibly fall under the heading 'textiles', from European iron-age wool twill to African ikats to Indonesian batiks to Muslim carpets and Japanese silks. The head spins. I have finally faced the fact that knitting cannot copy EVERY kind of textile - so here we are at this lunatic urge to buy a loom and weave, oh, I don't know, warp-dyed ikat or a Gobelin tapestry.
I may yet get a grip and control myself with this whole weaving thing. Last thing I need around here is another hobby.
But I doubt it.
Among all the woven textiles, there is the very first close-up view of the silk knitted jackets thought to have been produced in Italy during the 1500s. With my nose pushed up against the page (couldn't find the magnifying glass - the Goober's been playing with it), I'm about 90% sure the stitches were twisted. The color knitting methods make me suspect it was knit on a frame or rake... anyone out there who does frame knitting, is it easier to make twisted stitches, than regular?
Oh, and add that to the list of stuff I want to knit: a copy of those jackets. Like this one.
And, holy crap, the Cooper-Hewitt (the textiles branch of the Smithsonian) has an on-line store.
I'm writing a complaint letter. I swear it. My hand is killing me, so I'm trying to take a break from the knitting and spinning, so I sit down to read a book, and see all this fantastic stuff I want to knit, and... and... and...
A very strongly worded complaint letter. How dare they inspire me and make me want to learn? What do they think they're doing? Their jobs??!!?