If you've never been a knitter, perhaps you're a knitter-watcher — a term Barbara Levine uses to describe herself in the introduction of her book People Knitting: A Century of Photographs (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016).

Sojourner Truth, ca. 1880, sitting at a table with her knitting and a book. | (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division via People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

"It is mesmerizing, even awe-inspiring, to see a ball of yarn transformed through some magical choreography of fingers and needles into items functional or fanciful," Levine writes. "Yet... to watch people knit is to be invited into their private world of contemplation and innermost creative expression."

Levine has been collecting vintage photographs for more than 25 years and has always been drawn to those featuring that intimately meditative act. Though knitting has been around for centuries, the ability to capture anyone mid-mohair-sweater is relatively new. This cross section of technology and such a Luddite pastime may be niche, but Levine's slim volume of 100 photographs of people knitting, dating from the 1860s to the 1960s, is utterly charming. Below, enjoy a look at men and women knitting through generations:

Photo postcard, France, ca. 1918. | (People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

High school boys knitting for soldiers during World War I, Cooperstown, New York, 1918. | (People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

Mary Pickford knitting for the Red Cross, 1925. | (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division via People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

Photograph by J. Peterson, ca. 1939, Shetland Museum and Archives. | (People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

Taxicab driver knitting between fares, London, ca. 1940. | (People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

Ca. 1940. | (People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

Knitting for the troops at the beauty salon, London, 1940. | (People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

Nurses knit for soldiers, Melbourne, Australia, ca. 1940. | (Courtesy of Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria via People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

Photograph by John Vachon, Washington, D.C., 1941. | (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division via People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)

Doris Day knitting on the set of A Touch of Mink, 1962. | (People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016)