I posted this on my Facebook for my friends yesterday. It’s National Sweater Day!
Many of us live in a society where we can go to a store like H&M, Old Navy, Forever 21, etc. and pick up a t-shirt for $10 or less. We can buy machine-knit sweaters (manufactured in Asia) for $20. So why spend more money on wool and then take weeks (or months) to actually knit a sweater? Because you will be learning an ancient craft that you will have for life. Place value in the term “handmade.” Sure, you can spend $20 on a cheap sweater now, but in 10 years it will be saggy and shapeless, whereas a good quality handmade woolly sweater will last a lifetime. When you complete your first sweater, I can guarantee you will proudly wear it no matter what it looks like. You will have an item of clothing that YOU created, that YOU poured sweat and sometimes tears into, that YOU made with your own two hands, not by some machine of mass production or underpaid workers. When someone asks you where you got your sweater and you respond with “I made it,” the sense of pride feels pretty amazing. I have had total strangers come up to me saying that they wished they could knit and I tell them that once upon a time, I didn’t know how to knit either.
That’s why I’d encourage anyone who has ever had the thought “I’d like to learn how to knit” to start learning how to knit! It’s easy. When I first started all I could do was knit a 6″ square that was both lumpy and hole-y, just ask my mum. Now I can knit sweaters top-down, bottom-up, raglan sleeves, yoked, seamed in pieces, in the round, as a pullover, or as a cardigan. I can do cables, intarsia, fair-isle, lace, and textures. Yes, all of these things are important – they’re on all commercially sold sweaters. And men, don’t shy away from knitting because you think it’s feminine. Knitting as a hobby began with fishermen who spent time making socks for themselves. And at the top of the knitting blog chain is designer Jared Flood, who now has his own design and wool line. Many knitters are in love with him, just sayin’.
Embrace wool, not the cheap synthetic yarn from Michael’s. Check out Wovember’s Hall of Shame, where my favourite blogger has compiled images of online shopping sites that advertise clothing as “wool” because they know it is synonymous with “warmth” and “comfort,” when in fact the clothing contains no wool whatsoever. Learn where your clothing comes from. After all, you wear it everyday (I assume).
Start small. Knit a square. Knit a scarf. Knit a hat. Work your way up to that first sweater and treat knitting as what it is: a practical and challenging skill that will result in highly creative output. So if you’ve got some time tomorrow, stop by a yarn shop and ask an employee to help you pick out some wool and needles to get started.