When you think of knitting, you might think about grandmothers in their rocking chairs, sitting close to the fire and working away on a long scarf that she never really does quite finish. Somehow, over the years, that has become the kind of stereotype that has stuck in our minds about what knitting is and who actually does it. The good news is, those stereotypes could not be further from what is actually true.
Are there still grandmothers who take their cotton yarn and knit a scarf or two out on the front porch? Of course, there are. But that doesn’t mean that is all there is to knitting. Far from it.
Today, people young and old, male and female alike, knit everything from scarves to socks to sweaters and just about everything under the sun. As long as there is a pattern out there for it, someone will take some wool yarn or cotton yarn or some other material and knit it up.
The fiber arts have been around for centuries. Knitting first appeared in the 1200s in England, where felted caps were made for soldiers and sailors. In addition to felted caps, sailors also often worn knitted sweaters with a letter or symbol on their chests or intricate cables that identified the owners.
During the 17th and 18th centuries in Scotland, knitting was a very important occupation. Entire families worked together to knit sweaters, accessories, socks, stockings, and all other types of clothing. Very elaborate and colorful patterns were created using what were called Fair Isle techniques.
For fisherman of this time, the natural oils in the wool gave some protection against the elements to the men who went up against some very extreme conditions while they were out fishing on the open seas. During this time, there were many elaborate designs developed. The cable stitch, which is used on the Aran sweaters, was developed in Ireland in the early 20th century.
Knitting yarn comes in many types of material. Perhaps the two most common types of material that make up the yarn in a knitters handbag are cotton yarn and wool yarn. Both of these types of yarn have excellent benefits and are used in many different knitting projects.
Typically, wool yarn is used to make things like socks and sweaters because the material keeps the body warm and the material allows for the body to breathe. Sometimes, however, depending on the part of the country one lives in, the wool yarn can be a bit too warm. A sweater made from wool yarn can only be worn on certain days of the year when the temperature is quite low. Cotton yarn, on the other hand, is less expensive than its wool counterpart and is much more suitable for warmer weather.
Knitting has been regarded, for a while now, as something that only old women do. It is not clear where that stereotype came from. Maybe from the movies or television. The truth is actually something far different.
During the civil war, men knitted socks for themselves and other soldiers. During World War I and World War II, boys and girls alike would knit socks and hats for the war effort. Anyone can do it. With a little bit of inexpensive cotton yarn or wool yarn or any other kind of material, people of all ages can engage their brains and hands and make some pretty amazing things.
In addition to taking part in the knitting arts, knitters are also getting some pretty good exercise. Just by knitting for one half hour, a person can burn 55 calories. It’s not a ton, but it is a pretty good workout.
In this new millennium, knitting has found its way back into the consciousness and everyday life of many people around the world. The number of people between the ages of 25 to 35 who are knitting increased by 150% from the years 2002 to 2004. Knitting has had a resurgence and with good reason.
Knitting is something that is very easy to become passionate about. Once you get the needles in your hand and become familiar with how to work them, it becomes difficult to put them down.