Sunday, 17 September 2017

3 Reasons For the Knitting Granny Myth

I know, I know. I heard that sigh.

The most common reaction from fellow knitters upon hearing "grannies" and "knitting" in the same sentence is a sigh of resignation and rolling of eyes. Most knitters I now, if not all of them, started knitting when they were quite young. Some were children, others picked it up in their late teens or early twenties. By comparison, I began quite late at 29, if I remember correctly.

So where does this common idea come from that only old people knit? Here's what I think may be  some of the reasons why the knitting granny myth still prevails.

1. They are our teachers

There are several ways people first learn to knit and most of the time, though not always, they have a teacher. This may be an actual teacher at school for those who studied Home Economics, but often we learn from an older relative. It comes as no surprise that mothers and grandmothers would be the most likely people to teach us to knit.

2. Knitting takes time

An older person has many skills to pass on and seems the most likely teacher, but this may not be the only reason they are associated with the craft. Knitting takes time and in these times when everyone needs at least one job to make ends meet, in addition to other commitments, sitting down for a spot of knitting isn't always possible. Generally, retirees have more time, so they may be seen knitting more often than younger people. Of course, younger knitters still find the time, but the perception is that grannies (never grandpas, of course) have little else to do and can spend their days knitting.

3. Women as primary homemakers

Similarly, the idea of women as the primary homemakers and men as the breadwinners still prevails. So women are thought to be the ones who make the home cosy, do the cooking and baking, tend to the garden, and pursue crafts like knitting, crochet and sewing. This idea is still ingrained in most of us and often goes hand in hand with the idea of knitting grannies. 

I think it will take time to overcome these preconceptions we have about knitters, if they'll ever change. In the meantime, younger knitters can look forward to one day being granny knitters - I doubt we'll stop just so we an put an end to the myth!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Join the #knittinghour Destash!

Our weekly #knittinghour on Twitter is always a fun hour to spend with fellow knitters. Two years ago we had a sock KAL for beginners, suggested by participants, and last week they came up with the idea of a destash. 

Of course we need to have a destash! Every one of us has some yarn  they no longer want, so why not let someone else enjoy it? All knitters are welcome to join in the fun.

How do I find #knittinghour?

Go to Twitter and search for the hashtag #knittinghour to see all our posts. Don't be shy! Say hi and remember to use the hashtag in all your tweets so we don't miss you.

When is the #knittinghour destash happening?

We will start our destash on Thursday, 14 September 2017 at 19:30 (UK time). 

How does the #knittinghour destash work?

Join us during #knittinghour and flash your (de)stash! Post photos and details of what you want to sell or swap. If someone is interested, they will reply to you directly and you can then discuss the details such as who pays postage, what payment or swap you would like, etc. Similarly, if you see something you would like, just reply to that person's tweet to let them know.

If you are a member of Ravelry, you probably know that you can add yarn you want to trade or sell to your stash. Post a link to your destash page on Ravelry and everyone will be able to browse your offer. Not everyone will be a member of Ravelry, so please do also have photos ready to tweet just in case.

And that's it!

Let me know if you have any questions that I haven't answered in this post. Now, please excuse me: I need to stash dive.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Knitting Separates the Wheat From the Chaff

knitters are great problem solvers

In my post about the 5 reasons why knitting makes you smarter, I mentioned that problem solving is one of the skills required to be a successful knitter. I believe that the way we deal with problems we face with any project determines what kind of a knitter we are, how far we will be able to develop our craft, and ultimately separates the wheat from the chaff.

Are you a knitter?

Honestly, not everyone is cut out to be a knitter and that's okay. Not every knitter is the same either and we vary in our skill levels and preferences.

All knitters, in my opinion, need patience, the ability to recognise a problem and find a way to solve it. Youtube will only get you this far, so sometimes you will be on your own. Of course we don't have all the answers from the start and we develop our skills over time with every problem we encounter. We read books, we ask fellow knitters for help, and we search the web for information.

Easy peasy?  Not always.

The problem may be as simple as picking up a dropped stitch, but even this can be harder than expected. Losing a stitch in a simple stocking stitch piece is easy enough to fix, but I remember the first few times I dropped a stitch in an intricate lace shawl or across decreases. It's still a challenge now and I have to be able to carefully read my knitting in order to sort things out.

How tenacious are you?

Such moments are when we find out if we are really cut out to be knitters. Do we sink our teeth into the problem and don't give up until we've found a solution or do we give up at this point? Ripping back is always an option and part of solving problems you encounter, so don't feel like you have given up or failed! You've seen that something went wrong somewhere, nothing else seems to work, so all that's left to do is to rip back and start over.

Even if you rip back straight away without first trying to find another solution, this can be a good thing. It may be less challenging, but it can potentially save you a lot of time. Especially knitters who are more interested in the finished project rather than the process will most likely opt for the faster method.

Do you give up?

It's whether you give up completely or not that matters. If you are a beginner and early mistakes completely throw you to the point that you go off knitting altogether, that's okay. Knitting may not be for you or maybe it just isn't the right time for this hobby yet. (I tried three times over many years till I got the hang of it.) 

Knitters persevere. They want to finish what they've started, even though it may not be entirely free from mistakes. Those can be ironed out over along the way as we gain more confidence and learn more skills. You won't even realise you're doing it and, one day, you'll look at what you've just accomplished and think of how you'd never have managed it just a few months or even years ago. 

Liam Neeson a particular set of skills meme

If in doubt, be a badass.

Of course, even tenacious knitters will sometimes take short cuts. I can't tell you how often I simply decided a wrong stitch in a lace shawl would just have to stay as it was because I couldn't be bothered to fix it. You can't always have perfection (says the perfectionist who undid her entire jumper and is still trying to adjust it to fit her body type).

As knitters we need patience, endurance, and a very particular set of skills. 

In the world of knitting, be a badass Liam Neeson. - Tweet that!