knitting bundle of wool and knitting needles

For many knitting was a way of life more than simply a hobby or a pastime. During the First World War, men, women and children knitted a vast number of accessories to assist the military forces. For many families it was an essential life skill that everyone needed to learn.  

Can you remember who taught you how to knit? How did you find out the difference between a stockinette stitch and a garter stitch?  

 

Knitting is one of those skills like riding a bike that never seems to leave you. Within seconds of picking up those knitting needles muscle memory takes over and the less you think about it the easier it gets.  

Was it your mother, auntie or grandmother?

Do your arms still ache from holding the wool in place?

Knitting memories

Our mothers taught most of us how to knit and crochet. Nothing would beat heading to the yarn shop with your mum or grandma. However, holding the wool was quite the chore.

The Spring Chicken Facebook community have been sharing their memories:

Holding the wool for my mum was one of my favourite jobs. She called it fishing. I would sit with my arms outstretched, waiting for the wool to get short to be wound in close enough for her to scoop me up into her arms and shout, Caught one!

The wonderful warm stories this skill seems to spin. It brings back to us that special ‘one to one’ time that can sometimes be forgotten in time. 

 I learnt to knit when I was 4. We were taught in our first year at school. I think children should still be taught it's a skill for life and a good hobby. Knitting is quite therapeutic, really. Imagine a youngster these days doing it especially holding a mobile at the same time!  

Whilst it may sound ridiculous that is exactly what a lot of youngsters are doing. Many are learning from YouTube or Tik Tok videos on their phone. Sadly, the historical link from generation to generation has become broken but hopefully the undeniable pleasure is still there for many to experience.  

The Golden Age of Knitting 

This ancient craft can be dated back to Egyptian times. It can be witnessed throughout our culture from the 3rd Century AD and whilst its popularity ebbs and flows it is undoubtedly one of the most important skills a society can adopt. 

During the first World War, men, women and children knitted a vast number of accessories to assist the military forces. The cottage industry stepped up to save a nation.  

They would knit socks, scarves, sweaters and hats for the troops. In the '20s, there was a vast increase in the popularity of knitwear this increased during the '50s and '60s, when the craft had a huge boost with greater colours and styles of yarns being introduced.

Although the popularity of knitting begun to decline in the '80s, there has been research that proves knitting can reduce depression, slow the onset of dementia and distract from chronic pain.  

My nan taught me to crochet at an early age. The last thing I crocheted was many years ago: a lace table runner for my friend's anniversary.

The skill can provide individuals with a sense of achievement and a sense of self-worth so often underestimated as we get older. There’s nothing more satisfying than casting and eye over rows of stitches that you have created and designed.

I'm 85 and I still knit. I make blankets for premature babies. 

Knitting Revolution

What was the last thing you knitted? Was it a blanket, a jumper or a scarf?

Over the past 5 years it doesn’t seem to matter what you knit.

The fact that you do ‘knit and purl’ is the only important factor. What was once a means of production is now a therapy. The healing powers of your chunky yarn should not be underestimated. Occupational Therapists recommend it for lowering blood pressure and helping your mental wellbeing.

The trend was already well in it’s ascendency then the Pandemic hit. Pandemic burnout was the turbo boost required to send the age-old skill stratospheric. Everyone from Olympic swimmer, Tom Daly to Royal, Kate Middleton have got the ‘knit bug’. 

Luckily, due to the ease of accessibility, millions of people have begun working the yarn! Afterall, all you need is some wool, some needles and plenty of time, you don’t even need a knitting pattern.

Learning how to knit couldn’t be easier than ever with the explosion of online classes and Facebook craft groups. 

Our Top 5 Knitting Websites

Here's a quick whistle stop tour of our top 5 websites for all things knitting related, from easy 'how to articles' to FREE patterns to cherish and share. 

Wool Warehouse - this website is a cornucopia of craft. a haberdasher's heaven. 

PomPowMag - this online indie mag gives you a diffeent look at the creative world of knittiing 

Janie Crow - great design driven blog for the ambitious focussing on home interior.

Lion Brand Yarn - great website for free patterns and a great selection of well considered yarns to meet all budgets.

Knitgrammer.com - inspiring 'how-to' articles with plenty of useful hints.

Guerrilla Knitting 

Yes, you heard it here first. The phrase ‘guerrilla knitting’ describes the wonderfully anarchic knitters that make the mundane and the everyday just that little bit more fun and colourful.

It is part of a movement that is a reaction against fats fashion and climate change. 

Who doesn’t love to see a post box adorned with a woollen work of art?

Have you witnessed any of this fluffy graffiti near you, let us know in the comments section below?

Let us know your knitting memories in the comments section below. we'd love to hear from you!

Long live the purl stitch!

Header Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay 

Knitted Tree by Denise Litchfield Pixabay

 

1950s1960sDo you remember?HobbyKnittingMemory laneNostalgia

4 comments

Anne Gilmartin

My Aunty Edie when I was 8 . Her knitting was amazing .

Sandra Hanson

I was taught by my grandma when I was 8. I used to make clothes for my dolls and teddies without patterns. I graduated to patterns when I was about 12 and never looked back.My needles have been replaced a few times over the years ( 67 ) now. Always knitting but only for family and friends. A cardigan for my youngest grandaughter is on needles at the moment and two other projects are on for when I need a change.

Janet Pollity

I can knit and purlbut thats about it would love to learn more at 74yrs old it would be good hobby.

Sylvia Carley

I would love a knitting catalogue I learned to knit at school 40 years ago but I only know how to knit plain and peal. I can’t follow a pattern I would love to learn .

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