A few years ago, morning shows and magazines featured stories on knitting 20-somethings making scarves on the subway or hats at Starbucks. Although their knitting was presented as a fad, and plenty of jokes about grandmothers were made, young knitters are still around. There are many reasons why 20-somethings are taking up knitting and making it cool.
Looking to the Past
According to Emily Matchar, author of Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, the upswing in young knitters is part of a larger trend of young adults embracing traditional crafts such as canning, cooking, and sewing. This “new domesticity,” she claims, is not a return to traditional gender roles so much as a rejection of a culture moving faster and faster. Fighting the idea that everything is disposable and mass-produced, young knitters are invested in handcrafting items by knitting sweaters, socks, or home décor. Although there are plenty of cracks about hipsters and Etsy, the general idea is that knitting is a way for young people to appreciate time and craftsmanship more.
Personalization and Individuality
The creativity of knitting also works well with a youth culture particularly bent on individuality. Young knitters can design their own projects or personalize existing patterns with their own colors, yarns, and embellishments. On the knitting social media site Ravelry, there are extensive collections of patterns for young people’s favorite series from Harry Potter to Doctor Who.
Knitting and Social Movements
Thanks to social media, knitting is as group-oriented as ever. You can find young knitters at groups from your local church to the local pub. Knitting is also increasingly socially active, as many young people turn to knitting as a form of public service. For example, the book Knitting for Peace features patterns knitters can make and donate to charities. Knitting also has a place in protest, as knitters engage in Yarn Bombing, covering local spaces, or even military tanks, in knit sleeves.
Knitting and Technology
Young knitters are also making knitting cool by incorporating technology into their knitting bags. From apps that keep your stitch count to digital knitting glossaries and downloadable knitting patterns, young knitters are supported by technology to connect them to other knitters and their craft.