Syberich Willems & Aylcke Huninga,: a story of 16th century daily living of knitters in Dutch Groningen.

Syberich Willems & Aylcke Huninga,: a story of 16th century daily living of knitters in Dutch Groningen.

by Constance Willems
Syberich Willems & Aylcke Huninga,: a story of 16th century daily living of knitters in Dutch Groningen.

Syberich Willems & Aylcke Huninga,: a story of 16th century daily living of knitters in Dutch Groningen.

by Constance Willems

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Overview

Dyveke Willems was born in 1491 in Amsterdam to a merchant family. Early in the 1500s she moved to Bergen, Norway with her mother Syberich Willems, who opened an inn and Dyveke became a market vendor. Dyveke caught the eye of viceroy Christian II of Norway and became his mistress. When Christian II became King of Denmark in 1513, he brought Dyveke and her mother to Denmark and provided them with a house near his palace. Dyveke was murdered in 1517, poisoned, and her death remains a cold case till this day. Syberich was a powerful woman who gained a great deal of influence over King Christian II of Denmark, specially after the death of her daughter. She served as an advisor and minister of finance to the king, and became a general physician for the royal house. Despite her knowledge, she was viewed with suspicion outside the royal household and was accused of witchcraft. Sigbrit and Christian ruled together from 1517 to 1523, when he was forced into exile. They sought help from a Dutch ship owner to smuggle them all out of the country under his 1200 imported pairs of hand knitted stockings. Upon arriving by ship in Groningen, they are greeted by tailor Aylcko Huninga and his daughter Aylcke who made new clothes for Syberich and the Royal family and Syberich teaches Aylcke how to knit.
Aylcke, now a skilled knitter and dyer of yarns, takes over the task of knitting for her father's customers to support her family financially after her mother's death. She struggles with complex knitting patterns and wishes she had learned how to read and write patterns for herself. Aylcke marries and becomes pregnant, continuing to knit in her father's workshop to support them. Their workshop becomes known for a collection of knitted accessories and she works long hours knitting to meet the demand for her products and experiences pain in her fingers and eyes. She raises her 3 children while working in her father's workshop. In 1532, she meets shipowner Hermen Bekyng and learns the shocking news that Syberich Willems has been executed for living her life as she choose to do. In 1545, Aylcke and her father meet Dutch Queen Mary of Hungary when she visits Groningen. Aylcke teaches her daughter Heycke to knit at a young age, and Heycke begins working in the workshop at age 14.
Elizabeth I of England bans the export of wool to the Netherlands, causing a wool shortage in the western part of the Netherlands but not in Groningen, allowing Aylcke to continue knitting in her workshop until she dies of typhoid fever in 1564, and is remembered for her skill in knitting, being one of the best-known knitters in Groningen.
Her father also dies of typhoid fever a few years later. In 1571, Queen Elizabeth I of England implemented a law requiring all people older than six to wear a cap of wool made in England, and those who did not comply would be fined. Her eldest son Doedo hears this and about the creation of a knitting machine in England in 1589 and reflects about how his mother would have loved to have worked with it. Doedo dumps her treasured knitting and written patterns into a canal in 1577 to help the Groningers fill it up as quickly as possible in a complicated political situation with the Spanish. He dies in 1623, in a very different era of life style than the one he was born in.
Dutch women in the 16th century could afford greater freedom than women in surrounding countries.
„The Dutch women are lovely and kind. They go to the city to attend to their affairs and travel by land from one to another. They are very skilled in trade and languages". Quote Italian Lodovico Guicciardini in 1566.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9798369200889
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date: 02/01/2023
Series: Mordacious Knits
Pages: 56
Product dimensions: 8.27(w) x 11.69(h) x 0.12(d)
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