Tuesday, January 07, 2014

On Winter Knitting, and not following all the rules

We set a record low here today, and from what I can tell, it's cold all over the U.S. right now. So it seemed like a good time to talk about "Winter Knitting."

I am not sure, however, that "Winter Knitting" really exists.

Granted, that bag I made in July was a pretty warm wool and it might have been a better thing to knit in cooler weather, but it was part of a knit-a-long so July really was the right time to knit it.

I propose that knitting is knitting and that the only honest way to categorize knitting projects is by recipient or purpose: charity, holiday, gift, shop sample, class project, pattern for sale, something fun for me, etc.

If one must knit only wool in winter and only cotton in summer, this places unnecessary barriers to knitting enjoyment.  What if, for example, I had said no to knitting the swelteringly hot bag in July, just because it was wool and not winter?  I shudder to think.  I would have missed out on the fun of my first knit-a-long, the fun of connecting with an out-of-town friend, the fun of knitting with my daughter, the fun of my first felting project, and the literally hundreds of times that bag has been admired when I use it. 

If you want to knit with cotton or linen in winter, do it.  If you want to knit with wool in summer, do it.  If you want to knit something from a 10-year old knitting book instead of the very latest thing, do it. And here's the most important part:

You don't have to feel guilty if you aren't knitting what everyone else is knitting.

There's nothing wrong with knitting the "in" thing.  I finished my 4th Honey Cowl over Christmas break, for example (addicting knitting, plain and simple).  What I am staunchly against is the attitude that if you are not knitting the "in" thing at the "in" time, you are less of knitter.  There is nothing sadder than a knitter who quits because she's been told "all you knit is garter stitch scarves!" and really, all she wants to knit is garter stitch scarves, but she's been bullied by other knitters into thinking she can't cut it in the big leagues.  This makes me so mad! 

Whenever possible, knitting should be fun. 

For me, knitting is more fun when I am knitting what feels right at the moment, for any reason.  Today, with our projected high of 36 degrees, I will spend my leisure knitting time working on a cotton dishcloth and a pair of socks.  I could cast on a wool blanket/sweater/shawl/scarf/hat, and knit it because it would qualify as "winter knitting" or because it's what 972 people are knitting on Ravelry.  Instead, today I will be true to myself as a knitter and knit what I am motivated to knit, not what others might think I should knit.  I encourage you to do the same.

Polonius said it best:

"This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
(Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3)

Honey Cowl. Currently wearing, due to extreme cold!


  1. Wore my Honey Cowl today, too. And yarn arrived yesterday to make more. In addition to knitting what and when it suits you, I think I may gift a cowl to a niece with a late spring birthday. So what if she has to wait forever to actually wear it?

  2. It's all about fun to me…!