Sep 15 – 17, 2021
Microsoft Teams Meeting
Europe/London timezone

Mining knitting and crochet patterns, 1900-1949

Sep 15, 2021, 2:55 PM
Microsoft Teams Meeting

Microsoft Teams Meeting


Dr Eleanor Reed (Brunel University (Division of English))


Domestic magazines issued between 1900 and 1949 are a vital cultural repository of knowledge about ordinary women’s daily lives during a period of upheaval, both globally and in Britain. They are also hugely under-researched, owing in part to two major methodological challenges: collecting data from vast texts, and analysing this data in ways that are sufficiently representative, nuanced, and succinct. This project will trial new approaches to addressing these challenges. Led and implemented by Dr Eleanor Reed, the project will be hosted by online citizen science platform Zooniverse, created using the Zooniverse Project Builder tool, and will test the feasibility/value of crowdsourced data collection as an approach to gathering quantifiable data from magazines in the Knitting & Crochet Guild’s Collection, by harnessing citizen input to classify images from 1900-1949 domestic magazine knitting/crochet patterns. The Knitting & Crochet Guild (KCG) is a volunteer-run, subscription/donation-funded national educational charity dedicated to the study/practice of UK domestic knitting and crochet. Its collection of knitting/crochet-related items is the UK’s largest; free to members and thus an incentive to join, patterns are among its greatest assets. Throughout 2019, Dr Reed undertook an AHRC TECHNE Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship researching knitting/crochet patterns in the KCG’s collection of 400+ 1900-1949 domestic magazines. Each pattern will be classified by 5 different volunteers; Zooniverse will record the majority answer to each question; data will be aggregated to produce a database that Dr Reed will use to quantitatively map broad shifts over time in, e.g., the popularity of knitting vs. crochet, the kinds of items/for whom readers were urged to knit, the yarn market. Zooniverse project discussion boards (a built-in feature) will facilitate further knowledge exchange. Participants in this project will be drawn from the KCG.

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