WorkingsRaw Materials: Protein fibresRaw Materials: Cellulosic fibresRaw Materials: Synthetic fibresMaking textiles without threads: felt and bark clothMaking Thread: combing, carding and spinningAdding ColourMaking textiles without looms: braiding, knitting, knottingLaceMaking textiles with loomsTextiles to clothe the worldPutting the pieces together: piecing and quiltingEmbroiderySurface PrintingResist Patterning: batik, plangi, ikatMaking Baskets

Mantel fringe, by George Henry Devereux

In the earliest periods of human history, we can well imagine that the invention of string was closely followed by the fabrication of knots. A basic knot is made from a piece of string by pulling one end through a loop. If you continue looping you create a knitted structure, or you can use three or more ends to make braids.

Where was this textile created?

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Making textiles without looms: braiding, knitting, knotting

Mantel fringe, by George Henry Devereux
Europe: Western Europe, Great Britain, England
1914 - 1922
Jute, knotted
170 cm x 13 cm
Gift of H. E. Devereux
T95.0212 Textile Museum of Canada

George Henry Devereux (the father of the donor) made this knotted cord mantel fringe when he was a member of the Royal Navy. This type of decorative knotting is known as macramé. The availability of ropes on board ships made it a popular activity for sailors on wind- and steam-powered ships between the 16th and 20th centuries.

Where would we be without knots? Well-made knots have supported the growth and advancement of all human enterprise – in ships, buildings of all kinds, and animal husbandry to name only a few applications.

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