Images from the Design Archives, Knitting Collections at University of Southampton, Museum of Design in Plastics, and University of the Arts London

The Knitting Collections, University of Southampton Libraries

The Winchester School of Art Library is a specialist art and design library and is one of seven site libraries of the University of Southampton. One of the library's strengths is its focus on textiles, dress history, and fashion, and the library collections have been enhanced by the addition of three distinctive knitting collections assembled by renowned practitioners and scholars in the field.

The Montse Stanley Collection was acquired by the library in 1999 and comprises a wide range of knitted objects and garments, magazines, knitting patterns, photographs, postcards, and books, as well as small tools and sample yarns. Montse Stanley was a collector, knitter, and historian and set up the collection in her Cambridge home. Her collection of books and patterns are now held at the Winchester School of Art Library, and the collection of objects, tools, photographs, postcards and her working papers are held at the University of Southampton's Hartley Library in the Special Collections Division.

Richard Rutt is a scholar and former bishop and his library of books, journals, magazines, patterns and cuttings on knitting is held at the Winchester School of Art Library. A particular strength of his collection is the range and number of nineteenth century knitting books. The books have recently been digitised by the BOPCRIS digitisation unit at University of Southampton and are accessible via the Library WebCat. The library also holds Jane Waller's collection of knitting patterns and between the three knitting collections, there are a total of over 12,000 knitting patterns, ranging from the 19th century to the present.

The Knitting Collections have been promoted at various events, such as the 'Unravel' festival in Farnham, an exhibition at the Cornershop in Winchester, and the 'In the Loop' knitting conferences organised by Winchester School of Art Library. The Library is now seeking to further promote the collections by providing online access to a selection of items through VADS.

Linda Newington, Head of Faculty Services - Law, Arts and Social Sciences/Head Librarian at Winchester School of Art -
Catherine Polley, Academic Liaison Librarian for Art & Design, University of Southampton -