why, do you think?

Dec 7, 2004

I just read this article, and wonder what you think about the questions: Why are crocheting and knitting experiencing a huge comeback right now? Why are so many young(ish) people learning how to crochet and knit?

The article mentions the following possible factors: Celebrity stitchers like Julia Roberts; 9/11 (Sheila Weinberger also mentioned this in our interview with her in the October/November '04 issue); getting over the generational rejection of stitching in the '60s and '70s; funky new yarns and materials.

Do you prefer any one of these reasons over the others? Is there a different factor you'd add to the list?

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cecily wrote
on Dec 7, 2004 9:56 AM

I think it's all of those reasons for the mass popularity and then something more personal in each individual instance. All I know is that I've learned I'm not the only one happy to spend time making things after years of other pursuits that I had no control over as well as no physical result to enjoy afterward.

The Mom wrote
on Dec 7, 2004 10:52 AM

I think that the generational angle rings true. My age group rebelled against our mothers' lifestyle of knitting and mah jong and going to the beauty parlor every Saturday morning. Hopefully only the knitting is coming back - teased, sprayed hair that gets combed out once a week never deserves a return.

Annette wrote
on Dec 7, 2004 5:13 PM

I believe all the reasons mentioned are valid, in different proportions for different people. What I feel most strongly about (for the moment):1. So many of us have jobs where there is no tangible result at the end of the day: all kinds of service jobs, IT-jobs etc. Crafts give you the possibility to work with your hands, and actually produce something you can touch (and maybe even use!).2. I'm getting a bit sick of mass production. I perfectly see the advantages of easily available, cheap products, and think it's great that you don't need to be rich to buy new clothes (or whatever). BUT clothing, for me, is not only a way to stay warm (and decent), but also a way of expressing my personality. I will never have the time to make *all* my clothes, but, say, a unique home made scarf can personalized any mass produced outfit.3. The soothing, meditative effect. SO much needed in a stressful life.

Isis wrote
on Dec 8, 2004 3:34 AM

I have to second the IT-job analysis as well as the generational analysis. Since I work with computers all day long, it's gratifying to sit down with yarn and a hook and make something with my own two hands. Also, I think we're distanced enough from 'traditional housewife' stereotypes to not automatically condemn any domestic activity as oppression.I'd also add...1. The internet. The proliferation of free patterns, tutorials, etc. made it MUCH easier for me to get back into the craft.2. The availability of really cool yarn. The yarn rack at Wal-Mart is actually what inspired me to start crocheting. I was over in the craft section to get cross-stitch thread and the soft gorgeous balls of yarn just sucked me in...Frankly, I had no idea knitting/crocheting was such a fad until I started looking for patterns. That article was the first I'd heard of Julia Roberts making her own stuff. Sadly, though, in today's celebrity-obsessed culture, that probably has an effect, too.

fillyjonk wrote
on Dec 8, 2004 6:06 AM

What Annette said. I need something "real" in my life - and I think that's also why I like the really low-processed, still-has-chunks-of-hay-in-it yarns. I like to feel like I can sense the sheep behind the yarn. I'm a college professor, and so much of what I do is "never" done - you finish up grading to be greeted with a new pile of it the next day. Class prep "goes away" and has to be redone with each class you teach. Journal articles have to be rewritten. Grant proposals get turned down and need to be re-worked. It helps me keep my sanity to know I can come home to whatever project (knitting, crocheting, quilting) and know that what I did yesterday is still there. And yes, I have to rip back (or rip out) occasionally, but that's also okay - I usually know almost immediately that I've made a mistake that I have to fix, unlike other situations in life where I don't learn that I've screwed up until weeks later, when the person who decides to call me on it has had time to work up a good head of steam...I think I also like it because it's one area of my life where I am the only one to judge if my work is good or not (which is why I don't submit to fairs or shows). All the time in my work-life (and sometimes, out of my work-life), I'm getting evaluated, my work either gets the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down based on what someone else thinks, and sometimes my assessment of my work and theirs do not agree. With my craft, I can look at it and say "Oh, that's good" or "Yuck, that doesn't work" or "Hmmm...maybe I should try x instead" and it's all my decision.

Andrea wrote
on Dec 10, 2004 6:39 AM

I initially learned when I was a little kid, but quickly got bored, because I hadn't been taught anything more complicated than a scarf. I recently relearned and restarted to help me stay awake for lectures... it was actually my professor's suggestion. I think the popularity is partially due to nifty patterns and yarns, but also to the fact that its now possible to knit or crochet without being considered somehow "less".

Julie wrote
on Dec 12, 2004 5:11 AM

I agree with what's been said here. How available patterns and tutorials are and the vast assortment of yarns are probably the biggest factor. In addition, retailers like Gap, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie are putting items that are crocheted or look like a "handmade" knit in their assortment and that is really attracting the younger crowds to the craft. Crochet and knitting is no longer just a craft or hobby, it's an art form. On a personal note, I had learned when I was very young, but really found my stride while I was working in a job that was all numbers. I found much needed creative freedom in a project after a day crunching numbers.

Meg wrote
on Dec 20, 2004 4:20 PM

I guess I fit into the definition of the "younger crowd" as I'm just shy of 25. I taught myself to crochet in the week between my college graduation and my first day at my new job. I had learned to knit from my mother years earlier and hated it. I'm just not very good at it. I saw an older woman crocheting one day and decided to get a book out of the library. I've been doing it for a couple years now and have made tons of scarves, hats, and afghans. I enjoy making gifts for my friends and family most of all.