when we were in alaska, whilst still in the throes of book writing, my mother-in-law pointed out to me that she thought i was misspelling stockinette. now, granted, i’d never looked it up, but i was pretty sure that i’d seen it spelled in at least several different ways.

so, i looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and here’s what they had to say:

Also stockinett(e, stockinnet, stockingett(e, -nette.

1. A knitted textile fabric of considerable elasticity used chiefly in the making of undergarments. Also stockinet cloth, material.

2. A garment made of stockinet. (Short for stockinet pantaloons, shirt.)

3. attrib. (or adj.) Made of stockinet.

some of the highlights from the run down through the centuries:

1880 Cassell’s Fam. Mag. VI. 442 The stockingette material, or elastic cloth, being adapted to whole dresses, tunics [etc.]. 1881 Ibid. VII. 122 Stockingnette has proved this winter a bad investment.

1837 T. HOOK in New Monthly Mag. L. 155 The dancing-master in his stockinets and pumps. 1838 POE Narr. A. G. Pym vii. Wks. 1895 V. 91 The shirt..was a blue stockinet, with large white stripes running across.

multiple spellings of knitting terms seem so fitting to me. written patterns are but a fairly recent phenomenon seeing as knitting has traditionally been passed down by verbal means.   in a verbal culture, it just makes sense that there are many spellings for one thing. if you only heard it said how would you spell it? it is the same with pattern writing – there are so many different ways to notate and write patterns that while working on my book, i had some very interesting decisions to make. some write patterns almost too clearly, some not clear enough.

anyway, just for your information, i use stockingnet in the book.  the wordpress spell checker recommends stockinette or stocking-net.  i am but a knitter formed by the people and books who taught me, so stockingnet it is for me (notice that my form isn’t even in the OED? uh…).

p.s. maybe this the yarn i got with this label would be best knit in stockingnet. :)

4 thoughts on “stockingnet?

  1. i am a native new englander, and admittedly have a terrible rhode island accent. so even if i was saying “stockingnet” it would probably sound the same as “stockinette” unless i was thinking about it. nevertheless, i like the spelling you use. it seems more pure than stockinette.

  2. I think I’ve always used stockinette, but really, (and the language-purist in me cringes at these words) so long as you can get your point across, there’s no harm done. So long as you don’t insert a bunch of random silent letters, that is. :p No matter which way you spell it, it’s probably an accepted variant.

  3. I love snippets of knitting history. I recently learnt that knitting patterns used to be known as knitting recipes.

    You probably knew that but I thought it was rather appropriate.

  4. I always thought of it as stocking – net, because it’s a stitch you use for stockings . . . I’m always getting words wrong because I over think them. I make up little origins for them in my head. It usually makes me seem kind of stupid. :)

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