BBC wonders why knitting is popular

“Knitting is no longer the pastime of an older generation, it is increasingly appealing to a younger demographic who are engaging with the idea of expressing themselves through knitting as a creative art. The advance of the internet and social media has also been key to the emergence of new close-knit communities.”

via BBC News – Knitting event explores history.

I’ve often wondered what happened in the past ten years or so. When I learned to knit in my teens, knitting was definitely not an “in” thing to do. It decidedly had a unhip flavor to it, it had the reputation of being  something that grandmas did when they were overly thrifty or there was nothing good on TV. In fact, I learned first crochet, then knitting from my grandmother. As a child I often spent weeks at her place during the summer, and weekends during the school year as well. They were glorious days. We tended the garden, cooked the vegetables we’ve grown, took naps under the willow tree, I spent entire afternoons climbing the walnut tree and sitting between the branches reading a book, and in the evenings we searched the sky for star constellations and listened to my grandfather tell the stories myths about them. We had plenty of the most precious thing, time.

And there was plenty of time to craft. At the time I thought my grandmother is being thrifty, crafting beautiful sweaters out of cheap yarn, pretty garments that we could not afford. Now I understand the satisfaction and enjoyment she got out of working with her hands, and letting beautiful objects out from under her hands. Unlike housework or fieldwork, it was work whose fruits lasted for years, and often generations.

But none of my friends did anything of the sort. When anyone of my age heard that I knit or embroidered, their reactions ranged from fascination, intrigue, bewilderment, or downright mockery. It wasn’t a social thing, and I saved my crafting for the hours when I was alone anyway.

So what happened? Knitting is now hip. I see the university campus yarnbombed time and again. The other day I saw two women in their twenties sitting in the museum cafe, a popular hangout for the intellectually-minded grad students and young professionals here, chatting over their lattes and needles clicking. Is it something as simple as the appearance of ravelryand etsy?  Or is something going on, a broader social phenomenon, that makes making things with your hands cool?

 

UPDATE: Exchanging Fire’s addition to the image of the modern knitter – on the move, loves wearing and displaying her creations, loves gifting, works as much with her brain as with her hands as she modifies and customizes designs, cool enough to pull off tattoos and polka dots!

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5 comments

  1. I crochet, but finally decided to take the leap and learn how to knit! I blame it on a knitting pattern book I was flipping through.

    1. When I started, I thought crochet was waaaay easier to learn. Only one needle to manipulate and no way to drop stitches or lose a loop from the needle. I was perfectly content not knitting until I saw how fast my grandmother was knitting and she told me that knitting is generally faster. I wanted to make blankets and sweaters, now, not in months! And I got hooked. (pun intended – even though there is no hook involved in knitting).

  2. […] Interesting to see how the image of the "knitter" is changing over time…. […]

  3. […] have written before about the news media’s (and the general public’s)  fascination with knitting being *gasp!* popular, and *gasp […]

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