Perhaps this new hobby of mine has only emerged as a result of my excessive free time over the summer and will simply die down once I go back to University and get caught up with essays, commitments and a little too much clubbing (and just generally with the task of trying to keep myself alive on a budget!), but I certainly hope not.
I learnt to knit when I was about 8 years old, but although no one dared to tell me at the time, I was terrible at it and quickly grew bored of it, anxious to run around and unleash all the energy I could. I lacked the necessary patience and dexterity and perceived it as a granny-type activity and, needless to say, I was left with nothing but an unfinished scarf full of holes that one of my poor teddies was eventually forced to wear.
Who would have thought that I would fall in love with the art of knitting just over 10 years later? Knitting has supposedly come back into fashion and I couldn’t be more pleased. Being able to learn a new skill while feeling productive and relaxed, is simply wonderful.
The return of knitting and it’s increasing popularity among young women, although clearly influenced by many celebrity knitters (Amanda Seyfried, Julia Roberts…), is simply a way for people to compensate for the ridiculously consumerist, globalized world we live in.
We are granted access to thousands of chain stores at our doorstep and therefore knitting becomes a way for us to feel connected to the production side of the global assembly-line as well as to our primitive instinct and to stand out from the crowd’s standardized, mass-produced clothes by creating something unique and original.
A perfect skill to have for gift-giving too: not only because time is money but also because a home-made, personalized gift is inalienable and the act of knitting is in direct opposition with the standard, passive acquiescence that dominates our lives today. According to the French Anthropologist Mauss, every gift contains what he called the “Hau” of the gift: by accepting something from someone, you are accepting a part of their “spiritual essence” and thus accepting the relationship. I would argue that this individuality that is imbued within gifts exists but has been greatly diluted by the commodity-nature of most gifts exchanged today. Knitting gifts is therefore a way to escape these cold, lifeless, impersonal items that embody materialism and instead offer a more personal expression of appreciation by stamping the knitted good with one’s identity.
The fact that knitting has been passed down so many generations of women makes me feel connected to the past somehow and finding some of my mum’s beautiful unfinished projects hidden away at the very back of a closet has just inspired me to follow in her footsteps. So far I’ve only made a snood and a braided headband but who knows what might come next !
There’s nothing like curling up on the sofa with a ball of yarn, a pair of knitting needles, and of course, a cup of green tea !
Keep calm and cast on !