Friday, May 31, 2013

A New Breed of Knitters

Needle CraftsGuest Post by Laura Chapman

Knitting has never "given me the needle". Let me tell you why.

There is a sound I remember from my youth. Whenever I hear it, I am transported back to being about 12 years old, sitting watching my mother create what would become my favorite cardigan throughout my school years.

The sound was of the knitting needles gently clicking and clacking together, while the cardigan that emerged from them was one of my most treasured items of clothing - even when I was well into my college years.

Created with Love

Everyone in my family knitted. We didn't have a lot of money, so making clothes was second nature - but the most prolific knitter was my grandma. Man, was she ever fast!

Nothing was beyond her talents - from the tiniest, most delicate baby bootees to elaborate sweaters and cardigans. I remember leafing through her endless collection of knitting patterns, wondering how anyone could make sense of their complex codes and mysterious language. Yet, in what felt like no time, something beautiful would be presented, and it was always imbued with her love.

Something Old, Something New...

My grandma passed away long before I met my husband, but there's no doubt in my mind she would have loved the current trend for bridal and wedding knitwear that's sweeping the globe.

Of course, when I tied the knot during a particularly chilly November, I would have welcomed the opportunity to don a warming bolero shrug or lacework cardigan, especially one she had made herself, pouring all that love and affection into it at the same time. It would have brought deeper meaning to the 'something new' part of the wedding tradition.

Sadly, my grandma wasn't around to oblige - and the wedding fashions of the time didn't include knitwear. However, girls saying "I do" these days can opt to walk down the aisle in a designer knitted wedding dress.

It's all part of an international revolution, spearheaded by a new generation of knitters who are all rediscovering the joys of knit one, purl one.

Although 'celebrity' knitters such as Julia Roberts have helped boost the much-loved pastime's profile, Kate Middleton, Dakota Fanning, and Ryan Gosling are also getting in on the act, so it's fair to say knitting is no longer the preserve of the older generation!

A New Breed of Knitters

All around the world, budgets are being squeezed and people are finding ways to save money. Unsurprisingly, knitting is one of the best. Why pay an exorbitant amount for a sweater or scarf that has been mass-produced or knit by a stranger in some far-flung factory?

My mom taught me the basics of knitting (as her mom taught her), but it's my grandma who springs to mind when I embark on a new project. As my needles move back and forth, making that sound I know and love, once again I'm whisked back to my youth, and memories of someone whose company - and creations - I both miss and cherish.

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