Glasgow University Knits – Pattern Book

The genesis of this book of knitting patterns, inspired by the built environment of the University of Glasgow, lies in research carried out by historians in the School of Humanities into the economies and cultures of knitting in Scotland from the eighteenth century to the present day. Our aim as historians is to investigate the place and significance of knitted textiles to Scotland’s economy and culture, in the past, the present and the future.

Photo of cover of Pattern Book

In 2014, we established the ‘Knitting-in-the-Round’ network, which developed collaborations between a range of sectors – business, heritage, education, tourism, and culture and arts – and explored the emergence of knitting as the pin-up craft for sustainability, creativity and authenticity. We employed a knitter-in-residence at the University, Susan McComb, who took the University architecture as her inspiration to produce some original designs, some of which appear in this book.

This pattern book is the result of a collaboration between historians, the University Archives and a talented band of independent Scottish knitwear designers. Their brief was to produce an original design for a hand-knitted garment or accessory referencing the built environment of the University.

The designers toured the main campus and the archives where they viewed original plans of the University’s Gilmorehill site in the West End of Glasgow. Their designs are inspired by the old and new elements of buildings, from the ‘gothic’ tower and cloisters to the modern perpendicularity of the University’s eleven storey library.

Photo of model wearing scarf outside against the brickwork of the University building
Spire Scarf designed by Zoe Armstrong

We are lucky to work in a beautiful environment that blends the traditional with the modern and these designs represent precisely that combination: modern shapes incorporate traditional motifs and traditional techniques are combined with modern yarns and contemporary styles.

Photo of model wearing hat outside
Strachan Hat designed by Karie Westermann

This book makes its own contribution to the University environment. We are indebted to the designers who responded so beautifully to the University architecture, and to the models drawn from the University’s staff and student population.

We hope the patterns within – from simple mug snugs to complex cabling and colourwork – will inspire you to visit the University of Glasgow, to find out more about our project and what we do, and to knit your own little bit of the University.

Photo of mug wrapped in narrow knitted band held by a decorative button.
Mug Snug designed by Mona O’Brien and knitted in the University’s Cochno wool

Copies of the pattern book and our Cochno wool are available from the University Gift Shop.