In a world where knitting is no longer necessary to outfit ourselves and our families, we all knit for enjoyment. Whether our knitting pleasure manifests as gift-making for loved ones or charity, as a form of relaxation, as a chance to learn new techniques and skills, or another way, too many of us bring judgment, perfectionism, and fear of failure to this fine craft. Sometimes we direct these ugly feelings at ourselves and sometimes we direct them at other knitters. I think we should be nicer to ourselves and our fellow knitters, so I wrote a manifesto about the things that threaten to squash the joy out of knitting.
A Knitting Manifesto
a.k.a. Get the F*@k Over Yourself
- There’s not one correct way to knit. Knitting has been around for hundreds of years and has spread through many cultures. Anyone who thinks there is a correct method just needs to wait for time to pass or visit another culture (or knitting group that matter).
- Knitting isn’t done because it’s cheap. People handknit during the Depression because it was cheap. What year is it now? There are so many things about knitting that make it awesome – the opportunity to create, working with a variety of fibers, being able to give somebody a sentimental gift, participating in the knitting community, and the meditative qualities of knitting. Thinking that you are going to save money by knitting is a misconception that will clear itself up once you factor in the price of yarn plus your time.
- Please don’t point out every ‘mistake’ you or another knitter has made. You’re hand knitting not machine knitting. Handknits are made by humans not robots. Humans get creative. Think of the area that you previously thought of as a mistake instead as a fancy dance step that was a beautiful part of the process of your project. You’re unique and so are your creations.
- Don’t be so shocked when you see a guy knitting. Knitters have predominately been men throughout the majority of knitting history.
- Once you’ve given a knitted object as a gift, like all gifts, it could meet with disaster or never be used. It’s the fate of a gift. Let it go.
- It’s not necessary to knit from a pattern. Some patterns are great and help you to learn new skills or let you relax in knowing you don’t have to come up with a design for that to-die-for knitwear. Sometimes though, it’s ok to make things up as you go. Hats and scarves are great for this. Additionally people like Ann Budd and Elizabeth Zimmerman have come up with recipes for you to easily plan a project without having to follow a pattern to the letter.
- Cashmere isn’t the only luxury fiber. Yes, it’s soft, warm and pretty amazing but are you really that discerning in your ability to tell which fiber has been used in most of the things you wear? Of the other luxury fibers out there, some of my favorites are hand-dyed and handspun yarns as well as yarns from small mills.
- You don’t need to use the exact yarn called for in a pattern. Do you always do what you’re told? It’s ok to choose another yarn that has similar properties to the yarn called for in the project. Some people even use different weights and fibers of yarn. They make adjustments and it comes out ok. Or they just like the process and don’t obsess over their project looking exactly like the one in the magazine or book or website.
- If you do decide to knit from a pattern and want it to come out relatively similar to the pattern sample, please make a proper gauge swatch or don’t complain when it doesn’t come out right. Knitting two or three rows isn’t going to do it. Using needles other than what you will use for the project – even if they are the same size but a different material – might not cut it. Knitting a flat swatch when your project is knit in the round also makes a difference.
- Don’t be afraid to mess things up. It’s yarn not brain surgery. Whether you’re making it up as you go or knitting from a pattern, there’s always a chance that your project won’t meet your expectations. If a knitter frogs a project and nobody sees, does it really happen? ;)
To the crocheters of the world,
You are wonderful! Many of us knitters of the world are sorry about the knitting bitches who look down on you and try to tell you that crochet is a lesser art than knitting. F*@k them! It’s awesome that you can make up shit as you go and aren’t afraid to improvise as needed.
To the garter stitch scarf knitters out there,
Garter stitch is beautiful! Again, sorry about the knitting bitches who give you the stink eye or dare to open their mouths to spout discouragement. We’re all knitters no matter the project or skill level, and a garter stitch scarf is like being wrapped in love.