Knit a Margaret Klein

This project is recruiting research volunteers from the knitting community to knit up samples and small garments using Margaret Klein’s knitting instructions held in National Museums Scotland. It would also like to hear about your experience of knitting these samples and asks volunteers to complete a feedback sheet to be submitted along with the sample/garment.

Bernat Klein was a painter, designer and textile manufacturer based in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. His wife, Margaret Klein, played a pivotal role in the family-run business, first designing commercial knitting patterns, which used Bernat Klein yarn, and then in the 1980s-1990s employing hand-knitters to create garments from non-commercially available patterns, which were sold worldwide.

Project Background

There are many outstanding questions regarding the home knitting sector of the knitted textiles trade. We know that Scottish knitwear companies large and small continued to employ home knitters as outworkers to complement machine and factory knitting and, in the case of Bernat Klein Ltd, as producers of entirely hand knitted garments. But we understand little about how this part of the knitwear sector operated.

Volunteers willing to knit samples and provide feedback on this experience will provide us with valuable information about this little known – and rarely studied – aspect of the knitwear industry in Scotland. This practice-based research will also give a visual representation of Margaret Klein’s knitting patterns with the added potential of matching patterns to surviving hand-knit garments in the collection of NMS.

This event is organised by the Fleece to Fashion Research Project at the University of Glasgow, in collaboration with National Museums Scotland (NMS) and the Klein Estate. And it is timed to coincide with a major Bernat Klein exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland which is due to open in Nov 2022 and run until April 2023.

For more details, please read Project Information

The Project

Volunteers will be supplied with pattern instructions and asked to knit a six inch square (approx.) using yarn as similar to that originally used by Bernat Klein as possible. (Unfortunately, the project organisers are unable to supply the yarn and needles and ask volunteers to contribute their own tools and materials from their personal “stash”.)

Whilst knitting the sample, volunteers will be asked to record this experience on a feedback sheet. Questions will relate to the time taken to knit the sample, describe the experience of knitting from Margaret’s instructions (for example, the clarity of the instructions), and the skills required.

Knitted samples and the completed feedback sheets to be submitted by 30 June 2022. (Regrettably, we are unable to reimburse the costs of yarn or sending the sample to us. Therefore, we ask that you take this into consideration before volunteering. The feedback sheet can be typed, handwritten or completed online.)

The samples and your experiences will inform our understanding of the home knitting sector and will form part of an online exhibition on the creativity and design of Margaret Klein.

Please Note – the knitting patterns are the Intellectual Property of the Klein Estate, under copyright, and cannot be shared, copied, or re-used. And for this reason, all samples knitted from these patterns are the property of the university and any images of the samples can only be shared with the permission of the university.

For more information, please read Instructions to Knitters

To Take Part

In the first instance, please read the project documentation to ensure you understand what is expected from research knitters and working with materials under copyright. These forms are available here –

If you are happy to proceed, we ask that you please complete this online Participant Agreement Form rather than completing and forwarding the PDF copies.

Once you have completed the online Participant Agreement Form, please remember to click on the ‘Print or Get PDF of Answers’ to keep a copy for your records.

However, if you have any difficulty completing the online Participant Agreement Form, please contact arts-fleecetofashion@glasgow.ac.uk

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