A while back I took a peek into the history of rope and I did my very best to side-step the whole messy, controversial topic of hemp. I was feeling pretty clever about that. But a few of my readers called me out (more than a few actually) so I guess I wasn’t so clever after all.
So I guess we’re doing this. Let’s have some hemp history!
We take rope for granted and by we I mean modern Western-type people. We don’t need rope very often in our daily lives and when we do, we know right where to get it. Then we are often surprised at how expensive good rope can be.
That’s because cheaply made rope is pretty much worthless. We, the yarn-obsessed crafters, should be able to understand that because rope is really just yarn. A twisted rope is big, industrial-grade, yarn. Knowing that, I have been able to justify browsing through the history of rope making instead of doing something productive (like some much needed housecleaning). So let’s talk rope and you can avoid doing productive things for a while as well.
Very, very few people can make a living from knitting today. But it didn’t used to be so. Knitting used to be an industry, a trade that kept people fed and housed and living nice middle class lives. But that was back before knitting machines. When every single sock, cap, and glove had to be knitted by hand, knitting was lucrative. Most knitters worked in their homes and made lots of socks. But highly skilled knitters joined guilds and studied for years under master knitters.