The Surprising Renaissance of Knitting

Credit: Hello I’m Nick Via Unsplash

At a time when everything from theatre-going to social networking happens primarily online, the idea that large numbers of people will choose to take up analog pastimes like knitting or crochet might seem counter-intuitive.

But the truth is that many age-old yarn-based crafts are seeing a renaissance in the twenty-first century, with people of all ages choosing to take up knitting needles to make everything from sweaters and hats to afghans and macramé.

So, what is behind this renewed interest in an ancient art form?

The Simple Pleasures of Textile-Making

One of the ironies of the Internet age is that the more time we spend connecting to others through screens, the more we yearn for the simple pleasures of analog life.

Long walks, long novels, and tactile handcrafts are all ways to step out of the virtual world and reconnect with ourselves and our local environment, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that Millennials and Gen Z are turning to traditional hobbies and crafts as a way of de-stressing and turning inward. 

At the same time, many young women find that there is something empowering about embracing what has traditionally been viewed as a feminine art — reimagining textiles as a form of creative self-expression is, for many first-time knitters, a big part of the craft’s appeal.  

Why DIY Crafts are Here to Stay

The renewed interest in knitting was already pronounced before the pandemic began, but with millions of people stuck inside with no social outlet for months at a time, it rapidly became the go-to choice for people who wanted to learn a new and practical skill.

This is in part due to the fact that it’s pretty easy to take up knitting, even for people with no previous experience. Supplies could easily be purchased through the Yarnspirations online shop and other, similar outlets, and there are thousands of instructional videos online to help the novice develop their craft.

But while the pandemic is winding down in many parts of North America, there is no sign that those who have taken up knitting are going to drop it now that they can hit the patio with their friends again.

Perhaps the most important thing about knitting is that it can be done while engaging in other tasks — many knitters like to work on a new piece while watching Netflix, or doing a video call with friends or family. Once the initial stitches have been learned, it’s the ideal craft for people who need to keep their hands busy.

At a time when many of us spend our entire day switching back and forth between screens, taking up a tactile and useful craft can be a vital form of self-care. If you’ve ever wondered why so many people seem to be walking around with a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn poking out of their bags, it’s probably because they’ve fallen in love with the perfect balance of meditation and creativity this craft provides.