Saturday, 5 August 2017

6 Myths About Knitting

6 knitting myths
Image source
Call them myths, call them misconceptions, call them actual WTF moments. There are plenty odd ideas non-knitters have about who knitters are and what they do. I've put together six of the most common ones I keep coming across again and again. Which would you add to the list? Share in the comments!

1. Knitting is for grannies.

We all know he prevalent mental image that non-knitters have about the typical knitter: a little old lady sitting in an armchair knitting up a jumper. It is frustrating for younger knitters, knowing that they are seen as the odd ones out, a novelty. And yet there are loads of young knitters and the popularity of places such as Ravelry and the emergence of online yarn retailers like LoveKnitting and Deramores with their new community section and social hub, respectively, prove that marketing campaigns are aiming for a younger demographic.

The great thing about knitting is that is spans generations and brings together people of all ages and different social backgrounds. You can see this in your local knitting groups. The youngest person ever to join in one my local group was all of 9 years old and learning to knit a scarf. The oldest members were retired and most of us were somewhere in-between. So let's get rid of this image of knitting nanas. I'm looking at you, Shreddies.

2. Knitters are always happy to knit for you.

No, we aren't. Knitting takes time and skill, so we will only knit for people we really like A LOT and who we know will appreciate the work that has gone into it. Those of us who have knitted socks, shawls or even jumpers for ungrateful, unappreciative people learned this the hard way. We will be picky. We will decide who we consider knitworthy. 

3. Knitting is cheap.

This is an expensive hobby: Not only does good yarn cost a fortune, knitting also involves a lot of skill that should be appreciated. So don't ask us to knit something for you because we happen to be good at it and expect it to be for free. What's more, asking for a pair of hand-knitted socks will definitely cost you more than £10 so don't be surprised if the person you approach suddenly displays a nervous twitch. Back away slowly. Proffer yarn. Retreat in silence.

4. Are you pregnant?

Possibly, but probably not. After the common assumption that all knitters must be old and grey, another mistake is to assume young women (and what about knitting men?) only knit because we are expecting and the newborn needs to be wrapped in all manner of booties, cardis, onesies and the like. Luckily, we can knit whatever our plans regarding children. And this neatly leads us to:

5. Men don't knit.

Oh yes, they do! While the sight of a knitting man isn't as common as that of a knitting woman, there are lots of men who know how to handle yarn and a pair of needles. Knitters are familiar with designers like Kaffe Fassett and the Scandinavian duo Arne & Carlos whose work is particularly popular. See's top 10 men in knitting here.

Gender makes absolutely no difference in knitting. In fact, knitting used to be a male occupation, In 1527, Paris saw the founding of the first ever knitting union and women weren't allowed in.*

*Gardner, Sue, ed. A to Z of Knitting: The Ultimate Guide for the Beginner to Advanced Knitter. Woodinville, WA: Martingale & Company, 2007. 

6. Knitting is easy! I did it once at school.

Well done. But knitting consists of more than just casting on, knitting, purling, and casting off again. These basics are great and can be all you need for some projects, but you will have seen all the wonderfully intricate lace shawls or cabled jumpers and these are an entirely different ball game.

Knitting can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be and I think it is probably fair to say that those who knit for years and years will progress from the basics and keep developing their skills. I have heard many a crocheter say they don't knit because it is so much more difficult than their preferred craft. 


  1. I hate the whole "Oh can you make me this?" and it'll either cost £80 ("I can't afford that") or it'll take 6 months...

    1. Exactly! I did once quote a friend 100 €. She was quite shocked. :D

  2. Great list! I'm going to be sharing this for sure.

    The expense thing always catches the uninformed. I once had a woman (friend of a friend) pressure me to make her a poncho just like one she'd found on a Web site. I looked at the link she sent me, noted the fibre, size, and price, and told her to order or from the web site, because the materials alone would cost me more.

    Should have been the end of it, right? Nope. It took several more e-mails to convince her I was doing the math right. Argh.

    1. What a frustrating exchange! I hope she knows better now and doesn't try it again with another knitter. We're not machines, knitting by hand takes time and the materials are costly.