Knitbusters: knitting myths unraveled

The life of a 20-something knitter is a funny thing. Admitting your yarn habit to the world can be a tentative process, as it’s often followed up with, Oh, that’s…nice? or grandma used to knit.

I can hear how boring I must sound to others when I’m chatting excitedly about a new project or a pattern I have my eye on. But I can’t stop myself, it’s my passion!

Even in 2013 when knitting seems to be trendier and more widespread than ever, common misconceptions are still flowing around. I thought I would bust a few of my favorite knitting myths for your enjoyment. *Please note that this is not a rant, I find these myths rather cute and funny.*

1) Knitting is for Nanas

This one is fair enough, let’s be honest. Knitting traditionally seems like a dated pastime, and the worlds of knitters and non-knitters hardly seem to collide, so the myth lives on. It’s true that many of the knitter groups in the local communities are decidedly 60+ (retirees have room in their schedules to meet on a Wednesday morning at 10am), but with cool classes, conventions, knitwear designers, and the magical land that is ravelry, there are people of all ages getting into knitting and crochet these days. There’s a great little yarn store/café near us in Wembley, and just the other day I made the acquaintance of two girls in their 20s (like me) who had met up to chat, knit and compare their projects. I was working on the arms for my knitted toy quietly in the corner, and they approached me to ask what I was working on. Seek out a local yarn store if you’re curious. You’ll see it’s a whole new world out there. And don’t be shy to ask knitters what they’re working on. Most of us are dying to talk about it with anyone who will actually listen!

2) People save money by knitting handmade gifts

Mate, you’re dreamin’! Most people who take the time to make a gift for someone have carefully picked out (and paid around $4-10 for) a pattern, selected beautiful soft yarn made from quality (read: expensive) fibers, and spent hours of their free time knitting it up. Even if it’s “just” a hat or a pair of socks. These are labors of love, and they take time. Luckily we knitters get genuine pleasure, or flow from knitting, so we’re happy to make these gifts. I myself am leery of making gifts for others as I never want someone to feel like they HAVE to like it for my benefit. (This hasn’t stopped me from planning myriad Christmas gifts this year. Family: You’re getting knits. You’ve been warned.)

3) Knitting is all scarves, socks and sweaters

I think busting this myth would get a lot more people interested in knitting. It’s so much more than just scarves and stockinette. There are unlimited techniques to learn and projects to take on. There are shawls, hats, headbands, toys, boot cuffs, handbags, kindle and phone cases, not to mention twists on the old standbys. I’m still working on my giant beekeeper’s quilt a little at a time. And have you seen all the cool crazy tea cozies out there? This craft is not just Nan’s moldy old afghan anymore.

4) Knitting is hereditary

These days, with knitting reaching “cool” status, everyone and their sister can get into it. I learned in one afternoon how to cast on, knit, purl and bind off from a friend when I was 16. I followed up on it myself, getting a couple of books, some needles and plenty of scratchy acrylic yarn that would eventually become hoards of ugly scarves to bestow upon my innocent friends and family. I didn’t know about quality fibers back then. But if you have the drive, in today’s online age you can learn anything. I cannot believe how my skills and yarn knowledge have grown in just a few short months since I picked up the needles again. I did not learn from my mother or grandmother. There was no one at home to help me. I don’t even have any friends who knit. If I desperately need help, I consult the internet. I am jealous of knitters who learned at age 6 and never looked back, but that just wasn’t the case for me, nor was it for many others out there. Even designers these days are often self-taught. If you have a keen interest, you can do it. And lastly…

5) All yarn is the same

I touched on this a little already, but I want to reiterate this point as I believe it’s important. I make my knits by emma headbands from beautiful machine-washable 100% Australian merino. Considering the quality and size, I think the price per skein is actually really reasonable, but I’m sure a regular person’s jaw would drop. When deciding how to price my items, I’ve asked advice of non-knitters, and I’ve learned that I probably shouldn’t do that. I think most people think more about the look of the product and how long it took you to make. But a lot of it is just making back the cost of materials. I knit for fun and, for now, I don’t plan on making it a huge source of income. But a 100g skein of acrylic sock yarn is not the same as a Worsted weight gorgeous merino cashmere hand-dyed blend. I’m sure most people would be shocked at the worth of any given knitter’s yarn stash. But we knitters like our yarn to be beautifully dyed, made from quality fiber and to feel like butter against the skin.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this little segment on knitbusting. I’ve added this last little one as an added bonus:

5.5) Knitting is for chicks

See brilliant Brooklyn Tweed designer Jared Flood.


2 thoughts on “Knitbusters: knitting myths unraveled

  1. I agree with all of this. While I was lucky enough to learn the basics from my mam and nanna (excuse my northern-ness) I still get double glances from people when they see a 20-something knitting.

    I was actually discussing this with a non-knitter at work and I think she summed it up perfectly. “The world would be a duller place without people with quirks”

  2. That’s exactly right! Yesterday I got lucky and caught an earlier bus after work was was at the gym 1/2 hour before my class started. Luckily I had my knitting. I sat at the back of the room while people flowed in and kept furiously knitting as much as possible until the instructor turned the music on. I’m sure people thought I was insane.

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