Fig.1 A knitted loop
The arrangement of loops used in knitting stockings on a machine is the same as that used in hand-knitting.

Fig. 1 is a knitted loop, a very simple thing in principle.

It is not known who invented knitting, and at what date, nor is it known in what country it originated, but this loop is the foundation of an industrywhich has provided a livelihood for thousands of workers in all countries, whether the goods produced be hand–knitted or made on a machine.

The knitted loop has by the nature of its structure this important property, that when the loop is disturbed by stretching, the principle of balance equality is at once established, and each loop in the knitted fabric immediately seeks to right itself by returning to its original position. Therefore, the loops themselves are elastic by reason of the fact that each loop hangs on another, and each row of loops on another

Fig.2 Courses and Wales
row, and so all loops are united.

This principle of equilibrium solves the basic problem of the stocking fabric, the elasticity of the loop providing that gentle stretch which is essential for the securing of a perfect fit despite all movements of


Please note that we have tried to keep the layout and format of this publication as close to the original as possible, but the web-based output is not a true facsimile of the document. The metrics of the font used for the web pages differs from the original, which has resulted in some differences between this and the printed booklet—in particular the layout of the ‘Definition of Terms’ section layout differs considerably from the original in that two additional pages were required to accommodate all the content!! We have taken great care to ensure that the content is exactly the same as the original, which means that some of the phraseology may seem strange, and some of the content may not be as politically correct as one would expect in the 21st Century!! We would also add that if you find an error in the text, or encounter something that doesn’t seem to make much sense, we are confident that the original document contained the same error or “nonsense”.

To improve the navigation through the document, we have added hypertext links to various parts of the publication, for example, from the contents pages, and extensively from the Glossary.

Obviously, at the time of publication, yarns such as Rayon, cotton, and wool were still used extensively in the manufacture of stockings, but the development of new processes of manufacture over the last half-century have meant the demise of these types of hosiery, and it is now exceedingly difficult to find stockings made without Lycra or Elasthane.

In addition, it is worth noting that as hemlines rose in the years after the publication of this handbook, stocking lengths increased from the 30 inches ‘standard’ referred to on page 124 - dependant on the stocking size i.e. larger size, (generally) meant longer length.

We hope that you find the information helpful and enlightening, and would welcome any feedback or comments.