Knitting is a technique of producing fabric from a strand of yarn or thread. Unlike weaving, knitting does not require a loom nor other large equipment, making it a valuable technique for nomadic and non-agrarian peoples.
The oldest artifact with a knitted appearance is a type of sock. It is believed that socks and stockings were the first pieces produced using techniques similar to knitting. These socks were worked in Nålebinding, a technique of making fabric by creating multiple knots or loops with a single needle and thread. Many of these existing clothing items employed nålebinding techniques; some of them look very similar to true knitting. For example, 3rd-5th century AD Romano-Egyptian toe-socks. Several pieces, done in now obscure techniques, have been mistaken for knitting or crocheting.
Most histories of knitting place its origin somewhere in the Middle East, from there it spread to Europe by Mediterranean trade routes, and then to the Americas with European colonization. The earliest known examples of knitting have been found in Egypt and cover a range of items, including complex colorful wool fragments and indigo blue and white cotton stockings, which have been dated between the 11th and 14th centuries CE.