Knitting has been around forever. In fact, it’s probably older than the hills. And just as resilient. In the year 2012 it is just as popular as ever! Who knew?
If you have never knitted, or are considering knitting, or are a beginning knitter, or an established knitter, keep reading. Because there is something here for everyone. Exactly like the art of knitting. There is something for everyone.
Knitting goes all the way back to the Middle East, and paintings and samples of knitting showed up in Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries. At that time the purl stitch was yet to be developed, yet knitted goods were beginning to find their way all around that continent.
With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, knitting and even spinning (the use of a spinning wheel to spin yarn) was relegated to vast machines. Yet, the ancient and comforting craft of knitting by hand never disappeared from the culture anywhere. In fact, knitting’s beauty and artistry was only enhanced by those people, mostly women, who developed beautiful techniques and used knitting needles to produce the most expert and fashionable knitted items.
In the United States, knitting has always been a part of our culture. Women have passed on this beautiful skill to their daughters, grand-daughters, neighbors, nieces, and anyone who wishes to find sublime fulfillment in creating something out of nothing.
During WWII even movie stars knitted. You didn’t have to look far to see Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn or Lucille Ball busy with their yarn and needles. When I was a teenager in the 1960s, knitting was only popular if you knew someone who could teach it to you. Yarns and fibers were limited; most of the time my girlfriend and I would find wool or acrylic yarns and that’s it.
Yet, it was in those years and afterwards when I was married and raising a family, that knitting became my passion. That is one of its strengths, I think. You don’t have to know anything at all about it, and you can learn the basic, easy steps that will actually produce pretty creations. Then, after you’ve mastered those basic stitches you can move out into the more “complicated” stitches that deal with “yarn-overs” and cable needles.
Since the turn of the century, knitting has come into a genuine renaissance – a “rebirth”, for sure. Because there are countless different fibers to knit with, you could make something today with one fiber and go on to knit other projects with other fibers and never repeat yourself. Not for months or maybe years would you be using the same fiber again.
Today there are still wools, cotton and acrylics to knit with, but now it’s so easy to purchase bamboo, silk, mohair, merino, alpaca, fun furs, self-striping, ribbon, and everything in-between. Patterns can be found in heavy-duty items right down to delicate lace fingering yarns which almost look too fragile to touch.
Add to all this fun the many knitting accessories, and you can start to feel truly overwhelmed. Take-along totes, stitch markers, specialty needles, shawl pins, magnets, puppy snips, tape measures, needle sizers, row counters, yarn puzzles, block & roll surfaces, ball winders, knitters playing cards, coasters, take-with-you lights, organizers, calendars, and books and magazines too numerous to mention here. Look for these in my Review section.
Once you’ve finished a project, you can either give it as a beautiful one-of-a-kind gift, or place it for sale on social media sites such as Etsy or Ravelry. These communities will keep you in stitches with the resurgence of this dynamite talent.
All in all, there is just no reason not to learn how to knit. The comfort of taking your knitting project wherever you are with you, is one of the best reasons to learn knitting. You can be in the car or bus, at a friend’s house for the weekend, or simply cozying up at home in front of the woodstove; wherever you are, knitting can be right there with you. And hearing the clicking and clacking of your needles, brings a meditative-ness to your work. Knitting can be done alone or with others or in the company of others who don’t knit. But I’ll just bet that if you look around the room, you’ll see those curious faces as they watch you perform your magic with needles, and they just may want to learn how you do that, too!