Yes, indeed, weaving produces flat sheets but they can be of any width.
An African tradition is to weave narrow strips of cloth, just a few
inches wide, then stitch lots of these together to make a large, wide
piece. I wonder if the biblical 'coat of many colours' was made in this way.
As for knitting, my husband has always wondered if the people depicted
on the Gundestrop cauldron were wearing knitted clothing. It certainly
looks like it. The ribbing follows the body line, like a cable knit.
David Bowler wrote:
> On the relative merits of knitting vs weaving:-
> Weaving produces flat sheets of cloth, which are fine for blankets,
> sheets, togas, kilts, etc, but need to be cut and stitched to fit more
> complex shapes. This is extra work, and wastes material. It is
> probably quite difficult to do well until you have scissors or shears.
> I know flint knives have been used for surgery, but I suspect haute
> couture is pushing the technology too far.
> Knitting can produce flexible and stretchable covers for complex shapes,
> without cutting or waste.
> Hudson Taylor, 19th-century founder of the China Inland Mission, was a
> great admirer of Chinese culture, and made a point of wearing Chinese
> clothes so as to fit in with local customs. He found these very
> comfortable and practical, except for Chinese socks, which I think were
> woven, and very inconvenient.
> David Bowler