Monday, 1 February 2010

Sock it at the V&A

Last Wednesday the U3A group went along to the new Medieval Galleries at the V&A to look at a pair of their Coptic socks (Museum Number 2085-A-1900) and compare them to those at the Petrie Museum. A link to more information on the V&A socks is here.

The V&A socks have been conserved, padded out and put on display among other Coptic textiles. They are a striking red colour with some noticeable differences to those in the Petrie Museum, not least top of the sock, the way the different pieces have been put together and the slant of the stitch.

Mollie took some close up photographs:

The Conservation Department at the V&A had kindly let us take notes from their conservation report on the sock:

Description of Structure
Cross loop of knitting

At top of sock there is an opening at the front, beneath which the knitting is circular shaped to form the heel and the foot and divided at toe to accommodate big toe separately to others.

Left foot heel to toe: 23cm, division for big toe approx 5cm
Right foot heel to toe: 21 cm division for big toe approx 4cm

Bottom of heel to top of sock each 12 cm

Technique means that knitting started from the toe.

Stitch Count
Right Foot: Linear = 8, Rows = 9

Left Foot: Linear 8, Rows 9.5


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  6. I have received information which tells me these socks are not knitted but are Naalbinding socks, using the !Tarim" stitch. If you look closely at the vertical lines of stitches and then look at Tarim stitch you will see. I have used this stitch and can vouch for the fact that it looks very like stocking stitch!