The Knitting in Early Modern Europe (KEME) project seeks to investigate the history of knitting by examining more than 100 extant 16th-century knitted caps and other knitted items located in European and North American museums. The project team hopes to form a better understanding of knitting as an evolving technology in early modern Europe through scientific analysis and experimental reconstruction.

The project team employs experimental archaeology to test current ideas about how the caps and other knitted items were constructed and finished. Experimental archaeology uses a scientific approach to test theories about the past which are based on observations of extant material and evidence from material culture and its context. The KEME team seeks volunteers to assist us in our investigation by spinning and knitting different yarns which can be compared, contrasted and evaluated against each other and the original material.

The project will also investigate the raw materials and construction methods for other knitted items such as sleeves, gloves, stockings and waistcoats.

Research now continues as part of The Tudor Tailor's work on lower class dress in the 16th and 17th centuries. The database of knitted caps is still freely available online at and further opportunities to participate in experimental archaeology by investigating fleece, yarn and testing knitting instructions for garments are planned. 

Volunteer participants are asked to complete the form below to ensure research materials can be freely circulated without contravening the terms and conditions of the museums who hold the knitted items in their collections.

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If you would like to know more, please email Jane on

Thank you from the KEME team!

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* 1. Personal contact information

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* 2. Please tell us why you are interested in the project

The KEME team is looking for volunteer knitters and spinners to assist us by making knitted swatches, yarn and construction methods which can be tested as part of our experimental archaeology research.  Please tell us about your experience in knitting and/or spinning.

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* 3. How would you classify your knitting skill?

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* 4. How would you classify your spinning skill?

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* 5. Which aspects of the project would you like to be involved with?

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* 6. Is there any further information you would like to share with the KEME team?

KEME Project Agreement

I hereby agree not to publish (in print or electronic form or any other format), distribute (in any way) or post on social media (ie Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, blogs etc) in any form any of the research material shared with me for the purpose of participating in the KEME project without written consent from the project leader, Dr Jane Malcolm-Davies ( This includes all photographs, data, text and other materials relating to the original items in museums and other collections.

I give permission for any contribution of mine to be circulated, photographed, and included in any future presentation or publication by the KEME team.

I understand that my friends. family, colleagues and other collaborators may view the research materials shared with me but they must not be distributed or uploaded into the public domain.

I also understand that I may share anything published by the KEME team for publicity purposes.

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* 7. Do you accept the KEME project agreement?