Calling all Indian knitters

I’ve been asked twice in the last two days about traditional knitting in India. As far as I know, we only have an oral tradition and no written-down patterns as such, but I’m hoping my friends here can tell me more. Did we have knitting before the British colonised us? Are there traditional patterns?
Someone says she saw knitted vests in Rajasthan. Does that sound familiar to anyone?
I am totally ashamed of not knowing more, but would love this opportunity to find out, if anyone knows.

3 thoughts on “Calling all Indian knitters

  1. You know, I don’t know. I should, since I’m a professional historian. Weaving is definitely much older than knitting in India, but I remember reading somewhere that knitting already existed in the northern, colder sections before colonial rule, in Himachal, and the Himalayan areas. It became a total middle-class women practice all over the country only during Victorian times. Pattern writing is not that old, definitely; you hardly see knitting patterns or the like in ladies home journals and stuff before a couple of decades ago, and all these were oral.

    I need to dig up that study I saw about the wool industry in India, but there’s no doubt that weaving, esp. since it was so widespread and part of our export industry before colonial rule, took precedence in generating wool garments.

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