Rachel R has posted one annotation/comment since 11 March 2013.
11 Mar 2013, 10:32 a.m. - Rachel R
The stocking frame was invented in 1589 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stocking_frame - and the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters - http://www.frameworkknitters.co.uk/company-heritage/ - was granted a charter in 1663. The frame was relatively inexpensive for a small master craftsman but hardly equipment for a wench.
Knitting needles, on the other hand, were inexpensive and widely available. They were made of metal - in the sixteenth century: "First wire mill was built – knitting pins became cheaper and more plentiful, and were carried throughout the land by peddlers." http://www.knitting-needle-notions.com/history.html
Knitting on two needles was already common in the fifteenth century but this meant stockings were made flat and seamed down the back. Knitting "in the round" (and therefore seamlessly) on four or five needles was a skill which spread in the sixteenth century and knitting schools were set up across England from the late sixteenth century. (See chapter 10 of Textile Manufactures in Early Modern England by Eric Kerridge - http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YzS8AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA133#v=onepage&q&f=false .) It was therefore a widespread skill for both domestic production and also a way of making money, albeit very little, for the poor.
There is a picture of a mid 17th century pair of hand-knitted wool hose (V&A Museum number T.63&A-1910) here: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O107795/pair-of-hose-unknown
My guess is that the yarn for knitting would have been bought ready-dyed. The excellent Renaissance Dyeing has some background to dyes used in the 16th century -http://www.renaissancedyeing.com/en/products/elizabethan-range/ .