Knitting in the Digital Age

Written by Sarah on February 7th, 2014 Posted in knits, long reads

You have to admit that it’s pretty ironic that in our modern times, DIY is making a huge comeback. Shouldn’t we be wearing flaming clothes and eating re-hydrated meals? Yet here we are, knee deep in blogs dedicated to canning and sock darning.

vintage knitting book

You’ve heard the old refrain: The internet changed everything. These skills that were once dying out can be passed around in a non-vertical way (by vertical I mean from generation to generation). Ravelry is a virtual knitting circle with millions of members and we can connect through blogs and Twitter and instagram. And now that we have all kinds of knitters (sock knitters, yarn bombers, toy makers), we can really get out a wide range of patterns. To me, this is the best time for knitting because we can get an endless choice in patterns, materials, and education.

Of course, I am a young person. There have been lots of waves of crafting before this one. Think of the war effort, trends like macrame, and even couture knits of the 80s. And here’s the thing, as we’ve moved further into the future, hand-made goods have become less respected. Maybe back then a hand knit sweater was given more appreciation than one today. Or do we appreciate it more since we aren’t living as tangibly as before?

Basically, what I’m trying to get at is a question and this question is: Do you think we’re in the heyday of crafting? Or was there something about it that was better (more elite? more dedication? more respect?) in a different time period? How does the digital world relate to handmade goods?

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Comments (6)

  • Nelli
    February 7, 2014 at 10:33 am |

    I think it’s great how we can exchange patterns and knitting styles around the world because of the digital age. I also love how these things are made so cool in blogs etc. I’m cool! Because I knit! Absurd ;D

    But I think that people don’t appreciate handmade things as much as they used to. DIY people absolutely do! But those who like store bought new items more, don’t see the value in the effort. (Seriously, my brother had his first child 3 months ago and I knit him tons of stuff before he was even born and I’ve seen him wear one pair of socks that I made. That’s it! Not even that awesome cute sweater! Probably too small by now. Phewfhph. Sorry. Thank you.) Bye.

    • February 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm |

      ha yes,

      I agree alot of people don’t appreciate the handmade. I try and focus on my family members who do- like my nephew who sent me a framed pic of his daughter in the baby jumper I made for her- that’s gold!

  • February 7, 2014 at 10:41 am |

    Interesting question! I think we’re in a unique phase with crafting because it seems like this is the first time that people have embraced it as something they wanted to do (rather than a necessity or a cultural thing). Even though in some ways fashion is at its most mass-produced and terrible, there’s a really strong subculture of people who are rejecting fast fashion and making their own garments. Plus it’s starting to be cool to be into the handmade in a way that I’m not sure it’s been before (but given my age, I can’t say for sure that it wasn’t cool at other periods of time).

  • February 8, 2014 at 11:03 am |

    THAT BOOK. That is the book that taught me how to knit. I found it in my mom’s old stash (she abandoned it for sewing anyway) and kept messing up until I knit something that looked like knitting. Whoa.

    I think the more we bury ourselves in technological abstraction, the more amazing it is to make something with your hands. There is such a deep, abiding satisfaction in participation in the physical creation of something, that I don’t think humans are whole without it. And crafting is more of an art now, because we have the luxury of not dying without it – so we have the room to experiment and play and come up with something really unique and wonderful, whereas 100 years ago, you had to work with a limited access to a limited number of patterns, a more localized crafting community (and resource), and whatever yarn you could come up with. The internet has done so many amazing things for hand-crafters in that regard.

  • February 9, 2014 at 9:18 am |

    That’s a good question. I’m also young so I haven’t seen other decades of crafting. I do think crafting is much more accessible than it used to be and probably a lot more creative due to wide range of patterns and materials. I think it’s possible that some people don’t respect hand-knits like Nelli said because you can just go to the store and pick something up. But I think other people value them so much more because you *could* have gone to the store but chose not too.

  • February 14, 2014 at 8:48 pm |

    I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘heyday’, but definitely a resurgence. I started knitting 4 years ago and felt a little late to the party (if that makes sense). I come from a time pre-blog & people have always been crafting & it comes and goes in waves, but never disappears. Currently, there is a generation of young adults who are very internet savvy and comfortable sharing their craft journeys online. Us middle aged folk are starting to get the hang of it as we’ll ;). Personally, I love reading about craft & how it inspires, invigorates, and feeds the soul. As for people appreciating handmade items, I echo earlier sentiments. Most people don’t know the actual effort that goes into a hand made item. I educate them politely, charge appropriately, and offer to teach them the craft if they’re interested.

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