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'The History of Knitting Pin Gauges' is a comprehensive study of the most collectable of knitting tools - the gauge. The work is the fascinating result of two years' research by Sheila Williams, whose interest was aroused when she discovered a selection at the bottom of some old knitting bags. The hobby soon became an obsession and she gradually acquired more at flea markets and in charity shops. Williams examines various significant developments through history, such as the Education Act of 1870 which gave literacy to the masses and led to the emergence of knitting periodicals. She traces the change in the materials used for knitting tools from natural substances to early plastics and examines trends such as company trade marks, shapes and symbols. Succinct wording, careful attention to detail and a myriad of photographs ensure a commendably concise yet absorbing history of an attractive and useful little knitting tool. The book will serve to revive memories of these quaint antique items and will complement any knitting enthusiast's collection.
Sheila Williams began knitting at the age of nine. It was the beginning of a lifelong love affair. She grew up in Nottinghamshire, close to the centre of the hosiery and lace manufacturing industries. The daughter of an engineer, she has always been interested in how things were made and the working conditions of those who made them. This knowledge was put to good use when she realised that the very knitting tools she was using had a fascinating history. After a career in teaching, Sheila devoted her time to the study of knitting tools and early Victorian patterns. She has written for various magazines including 'The Antique Collector' and 'The Antique Dealer' and 'Collectors Guide'. She also gives lectures and workshops in her subject. The author now lives in Berkshire, is married with one son and three granddaughters.