Knitting Is A Right, Not A Privilege

my inspiration
my inspiration

An article has been circulating that has fueled a lot of discussion among knitters, entitled “Never Say This To a Knitter. Really, Just Don’t Do It.” What exactly are you never supposed to say to a knitter? You might think it’s a remark about him/her having too much time on their hands, or an ageist joke about who, stereotypically, is “supposed” to knit. It’s neither of those. The author, Anne Miller, argues—and many knitters agree—that the comment she least wants to hear (and does hear, often) is “You should sell your knitting!”

The first thing I noticed is that the article was published by Yahoo! Makers, which is apparently a thing that exists (neat, I guess). The headline is classic clickbait, designed to compel and stir up discussion. But the article’s thesis, that knitters are tired of hearing well-intentioned randos insist that they should commodify their craft, is familiar and resonant. I’ve heard, and felt, the same sentiment many times.

When someone tells me I should sell my handknits, I take that for what it is: a compliment. But sometimes the complimenter persists, and wants to know why I haven’t pursued this brilliant business plan already. This might be someone who, earlier, told me they never spend more than a few dollars on a t-shirt, or that they think $100 is way too much to pay for a pair of jeans. Since textiles have become one of the cheapest commodities on earth, and the people who make our clothing are increasingly denied living wages or safe working conditions, I don’t know where someone would get the idea that making clothes, by hand, is a smart moneymaking venture. That’s when it veers into uncomfortable territory, when I have to explain how much money and time actually goes into a handknit item, and how much such a thing would have to cost in order to bring in even a small profit. When I explain that I do sell patterns for my designs, and that I’m happy to teach anyone to knit who wants to learn and will pay for my time, that’s usually where the conversation ends.

So I very much relate to this piece, as did plenty of people on the WEBS Facebook page, where I first saw the article posted. Most people who comment on my knitting are not interested in having a conversation about their role, and moral responsibility, within the garment supply chain. Knitting, like any textile art, draws you closer to the beginning of that chain. Making a garment changes your perspective on clothing, and about how much of yourself you’re willing to invest in something you love.

However, sometimes we’re a little too comfortable in the assumption that knitting for fun necessarily challenges consumerism, instead of being another expression of it. I worry about this when the conversation turns, as it always does, to the costs. As Miller says, “The glorious yarn a stranger admires easily costs $20 or more per skein.” Add to that the cost of finding and buying, or creating, a pattern design, and the countless hours of actual knitting, and knitting starts to sound less like a practical vocation for plucky senior citizens, and more like a status hobby for the rich, like windsurfing.

I’m not disputing Miller’s cost calculations. I’ve spent more than $20 on a skein of yarn myself, plenty of times. Especially since I’ve had a glimpse into what it takes to run an ethical fiber farm, process wool responsibly, and bring a low-volume, niche product to market, I’m happy to pay the price for quality yarn, thoughtfully produced. But there is plenty of very serviceable yarn that costs much less, and a handmade item shouldn’t have to be expensive to be cherished.

Certainly, a knitter has a right to refuse to sell her work. She also has the right to spend as much as she wants on yarn and supplies. But if we only talk about those who knit purely for pleasure, and spend top dollar on materials, we leave most crafters out of the conversation. We create a false binary of “regular” clothes, which are supposed to be cheap and fast, and “handmade,” which are costly and slow. This binary excludes most people from access to well-made clothes, and more importantly, from developing the skills to make clothing themselves.

Like many knitters, I’m not rich. At some point, almost any crafter who doesn’t have an unlimited budget will start looking for ways to make their habit as economical as possible. Not every project can — or should — be a treasured heirloom made from expensive yarn. I’ve knit sample items for yarn stores and yarn companies; I’ve knit slippers and hats from leftovers; I’ve knit socks for babies I’ve never met. I’ve even sold some of my knits. None of this has cheapened knitting for me, nor has it lessened my enjoyment of knitting. Rather, I’ve been able to learn new techniques, experiment with new yarns, and take on fun projects that I might never have otherwise.

I live in Bulgaria, a country where handknit slippers, socks and hats are not yet luxury items (another pro-tip for knitting on a budget: move somewhere cheap). Greasy wool yarn, grown and milled right here in Bulgaria, is sold by the kilo. Older women spread out their handknits, to sell, on tabletops and sidewalks all over Sofia. A pair of one-of-a-kind slippers can go for as little as 3 euro, while an elaborate lace tablecloth (something that would take me a month of uninterrupted work, and takes these women two weeks) might fetch no more than 40 euro. These women knit Balkan-style, picking their stitches impossibly fast, with their working yarn thrown over the backs of their necks. They are absolute master knitters. But, rather than living a hobby knitter’s dream, they sell their knits to eke out whatever extra income they can, to supplement pensions of 200 euros or less per month.

You might think that, because they have to rely on their knitting skills for survival, that these women don’t “knit for pleasure.” Most artists or crafters will attest that selling the things you make changes your relationship to them, and your relationship to your craft. But when I talk to these women, they seem to love what they do as much as any hobby knitter. Like the Americans I know, they describe knitting as therapeutic, fun, and creative. They take no less pleasure in their handiwork just because they sell it to strangers. In fact, many of them are proud that they can make money from a skill that their daughters and granddaughters often don’t bother to learn.

Here, handknits are widely available, and consequently, not treated gently. When I knit in public, no one suggests I should sell my work. Instead, people remark that their grandma makes new socks for them every winter, or that they buy all their slippers from a prolific neighbor. At the market, I like to compliment anyone I see wearing a handknit sweater, or a garment that’s been visibly mended. Usually, the wearer will beam and tell me who made or mended it for them, or if they did it themselves.

As robust as Bulgaria’s crafting culture is compared to countries more firmly entrenched in capitalism, chances are it won’t be around for much longer. Fast fashion, and cheap, imported clothes have penetrated the market here, and tastes are changing in response. High-quality garments that are meant to be mended and worn over several years are seen as a clunky remnant of communism. Like Americans, modern Bulgarians expect to pay little for clothes and throw them out when they’re tired of them.

Meanwhile, as our wardrobes become cheaper and chintzier to the point of being disposable, handmade items are increasingly commodified as luxury trinkets instead of durable necessities. The handknit slippers and socks of Bulgaria are holdovers from a generation when workers could take a day off to can their vegetables or pick their grapes (things that still happen in many villages). It wasn’t a luxury to wear handknit socks, because you or someone in your family had the time to knit them. Instead of consumers, people were crafters, and had access to quality because they had the skills and time to make it themselves. At some point, the forces of capitalism decided that we were better off devoting those crafting hours to waged labor instead, and that in a society with no personal, unmonetized time, quality would be available to those who could pay for it. As wages fall and jobs become more competitive and demanding, many people are too busy to even sit down for all their meals, let alone pursue creative, fulfilling activities. Handknit clothing is becoming a luxury item, because the time it takes to make is a luxury. As Miller says in her piece, “not everything can be bought or sold — nor should it.” Yet, that’s exactly the direction we’re headed. When skills like knitting become merely costly hobbies, then most people are priced out of something that’s useful and fulfilling for anyone, not just those people who can afford high-end yarn.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to spend $50 on yarn to make an intricate scarf for a friend. But wardrobes are not built of intricate scarves alone, and knitting will only further disappear into the fringes if that’s all we knit. On the other hand, we can’t expect knitting (or sewing, or any textile-craft) to be valued as a skill, when we live in a society that has so shamefully devalued the people who make our clothing.

You might think it’s an anachronistic treat to wear clothing that somebody made for you. In fact, the clothes you’re wearing as you read this were made, by someone, for you. Even today, all clothing is handmade, to some degree. Millions of people work in garment factories all over the less-industrialized world, making the clothes you buy (oddly, these people aren’t the ones being complimented on their craftiness). Any conversation about the value of handmade clothing is incomplete without including these workers and the items they make as well.

Ultimately, the magic of knitting, for me, is not determined by what I knit, who it’s for, or whether or not I receive money for it. The magic is that I’ve developed a skill that decreases my dependence on consumer culture, that I can practice anywhere. Imagine opening your purse and taking out a little machine that doses you with tranquilizers and spits out perfect-fitting mittens and sweaters; that’s what knitting is for me. I’m convinced that, without it, not only would I be cold, I’d be a less functional, less sane, and much less happy person. The feeling I get when I knit is something everyone needs in their lives, not just those who’ve acquired enough capital to pursue an expensive hobby. This is what I love about teaching knitting, as opposed to selling my knits: sharing that skill with others, and hopefully giving someone else the inimitable satisfaction of having created something no one can buy.

71 thoughts on “Knitting Is A Right, Not A Privilege

  1. Lomanda February 3, 2015 / 1:27 pm

    How wonderful to read your article and feel your sentiments. They match mine. When I became disabled after having been extremely active I realized knitting was my passion. This past summer and winter I was able to contribute over 200 hats to charities. I’m still at it. Last night the yarn I put on my yarn winder had a price tag of $25. It will look lovely on someone’s head instead of waiting in my yarn stash. It makes me feel useful and happy to be able to help others. I will never sell my products. Please keep on spreading your views.

    • Huelo February 3, 2015 / 4:32 pm

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts! It’s wonderful to hear from someone who feels the way I do; and surely that hat will get lots of love. Stay in touch. 🙂

  2. Jennifer February 3, 2015 / 3:49 pm

    Well put and wonderful post, thank you!

    • Huelo February 3, 2015 / 4:31 pm

      Thank you so much!

  3. Jim Dillon February 4, 2015 / 3:10 pm

    Having been both a hobbyist and professional woodworker, I experienced the shock of recognition as I read this post. Imagine spending a couple of days making a (very small, very basic) kitchen table and then a bit over a week making 4 chairs to go around it, and then visiting Ikea to see what they cost there! Thank you for this.

    • Huelo February 4, 2015 / 3:39 pm

      Thank you for your perspective Jim! I’m glad to hear that other crafters can relate. 🙂

  4. lmreese February 5, 2015 / 3:35 pm

    This is a beautiful piece. Thank you for your thoughts! I am planning a course on what Wendell Berry calls an “agrarian economy” as distinct from the “industrial economy” of most Western nations, and I was wondering if you would mind if I used your article? I will of course credit you.

    • Huelo February 5, 2015 / 4:52 pm

      I’d be honored! Your course sounds really interesting! I’ll send you an email. 🙂

  5. V.M. February 6, 2015 / 2:46 am

    Thank you for your beautiful and thoughtful article. It is such a pleasure to read about a subject written with such depth and respect. Superficiality can be found anywhere, and we seem to be drowning in it at times. To be able to make something that did not previously exist except in materials, even if by someone else’s design, is an expansion of spirit, and a little magical. To be able to give it to someone else makes a connection with another. I feel like I am sending a hug to my granddaughter when I send her something I have made, whether knitted, crocheted or of purchased fabric. Thank you for your thoughts and words.

    • Huelo February 6, 2015 / 10:20 am

      I’m so glad to hear you liked the piece and that it resonated for you. Thank you very much for your kind words! Keep crafting… 🙂

  6. Catherine February 7, 2015 / 2:32 am

    I loved your article. I agree with you whole heartedly. Like you and others who have responded, I have a passion for my wool craft (or is it an addiction?) I spin, knit and felt and am never happier than with a bag a fleece in front of me determining my next step in the processing of it. I can’t help but feel sorry for the younger generation with their addiction to mobile phones and computers, when so much joy, pleasure and satisfaction can be obtained in such crafts.

    • Huelo February 8, 2015 / 3:42 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  7. jana February 10, 2015 / 9:51 am

    this is a very nice and interesting read. i live in the czech republic where knitting is mostly perceived as a hobby of old ladies, and the middle aged people still remmeber scratchy (but quality!) wool of the sweaters and scks their grandmas made them (the wool used to be sold by the kilo too, and sometimes, homespun). they do not value the craft much. a younger generation or the ones who travel more are getting a taste of the “luxury version” of knitting where you usually buy a scarf quantity of luxury yarn. i somehow try to bridge the gap and show others how beautiful knitting is. i run a website abotu culture, fashion, travel and such, and feature knitting articles to show others its wonders. and also knitting is great for ones sanity, i agree. it helped me unwind after hours of my previous stressful job, and it helped me stay calm during cancer treatment. i was unable to knit for weeks after surgeries and will probably have to have about 2 more pauses because of more surgeries and i will most certainly at least plan projects or draw patterns at that time – the craft has so many benfits. all the best in bulgaria!

    • Huelo February 10, 2015 / 11:06 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your stories. I’m also interested to hear how the cultures overlap in other parts of Europe. I wish you all the best during your medical treatment. My mother is recovering from cancer treatment as well and it’s not easy. Knitting, or doing something with your hands, really helps during those hard times.

  8. MaryLou Rattay February 10, 2015 / 7:32 pm

    Thank you so much for your inspiring article. It validates me! I also derive as much pleasure from teaching knitting as I do from the actual knitting. I have spent years explaining that I would not make even a dollar an hour selling what I make, now I just smile and say ‘thanks’. I knit for charity or only for those who truly appreciate what I make. I became obsessed with knitting as a teenager, and now that I am the stereotypical ‘Grammy’, I love knitting for my grandchildren.
    Thank you.

    • Huelo February 10, 2015 / 8:31 pm

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Keep spreading the knitting love!

  9. sunshineonmybrain February 10, 2015 / 8:44 pm

    I crochet. I sell many of the items I make. I do not sell them for “profit”, as I probably make $3-4 an hour after material expenses. I sell them because I’m going to make them regardless, and selling them keeps me from being overwhelmed with a supply of items I’ll never be able to use up, as well as keeping me in yarn money. 😉 If there were no money involved, I would still create. It relaxes me, it calms me, it probably keeps me sane.

    • Huelo February 10, 2015 / 11:08 pm

      Selling knits (and crochets) can be a great way to support the habit! Your Etsy shop is super-cute, by the way!

  10. wscottling February 10, 2015 / 8:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Willow's Corner and commented:
    This is nearly exactly how I feel about knitting/crocheting/sewing. Well said.

  11. dina lucy February 10, 2015 / 10:34 pm

    My mother hand-crocheted many bed-sized blankets over the years. When she passed and my sisters were cleaning out the house I received at least ten of them. When I use them I think of the time she put in to them and how comforting they are on a cold night. I could never forget my mom, and these blankets remind me of her great hugs every time I use them. They are priceless!

    • Huelo February 10, 2015 / 11:10 pm

      Thank you for sharing. What a lovely story. The passing down of our crafts (both the skills, and the items themselves) through the generations is another thing that makes them so special to me.

  12. Betty Winslow February 11, 2015 / 12:52 am

    I so agree – I have crocheted many things over the years, and am now loom knitting. I could never sell any of it to make any profit (too many hours!!), but my real passion is making jewelry, so I totally understand. Like Sunshineonmybrain said, I’m going to make it whether I sell it or not (and I know I can buy cheap jewelry that’s cute, but I like one of a kind, creative stuff….). I started making it for myself, but you can only wear so much. I now sell some of it online, as well as two local shops, donate some to various charities for fund-raisers and make it for friends and family. I love it, it makes me happy, and I’m told others love it, too, which makes me even happier. Keep knitting – creativity is good for the soul, even if it doesn’t make you rich!

  13. ceecee February 11, 2015 / 9:36 am

    My standard reply is: “Knitting is like sex — if I love you, it’s free. If not, you can’t pay me enough.”

  14. Laila U February 11, 2015 / 7:54 pm

    I agree too. I am Norwegian, and knitting has become The Big Hobby the last few years. Jackets, hats, not to mention socks. I have knitted since I was a little girl and will continue until I can no more hold my needles.
    It is not easy to sell knitted garments for what it is worth. But I knit anyway – for presents, for charity, and just for the therapeutic fun of it. (And I do mend my handknitted socks!) 🙂

    • Huelo February 13, 2015 / 2:46 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts. I do as well, there’s something very satisfying about a nicely-mended piece of clothing (almost as good as new!).

  15. ohthecuteness February 11, 2015 / 9:30 pm

    This is a wonderful article, and it really resonated with me. I’m in the midst of opening a fabric and yarn shop, and while I want it to have an upscale boutique feel, I want to carry a wide selection of affordable yarns along with some more expensive locally made ones to encourage new people to come in and try a new craft. I’m also planning on hosting basic lnitting, crochet, and sewing classes on a sliding scale so everyone has a chance to try. Thanks for this well written article, it makes me feel very good about my choices for my soon to be business!

    • Huelo February 13, 2015 / 2:45 pm

      Thank you for commenting! Best of luck on your new venture!

  16. Josée February 11, 2015 / 11:57 pm

    how I loved to read your article and the many comments from others equally interested in and working on crafts like knitting. This summer my jobe in taking care of elderly people in a carehome ends. At 55 I see this as an opportunity to do what I love most: knitting, crochet and quilting. Over the years I gathered beautiful working materials on every possible occasion so this will be my new leash on life. Wishing you and all others all the best!

    • Huelo February 13, 2015 / 2:49 pm

      Thank you for your nice words. Congratulations on your exciting new chapter!

  17. opusanglicanum February 12, 2015 / 11:05 am

    I must admit that I have to bite back irritation when people ask if I sell my embroideries, because they tend to want to pay pennies. I’ve felt better about it since I have started selling a few pieces because I’ve priced them for a decent price and I’ve sold a few, and it amuses me hat I know how shocked some of the askers will be when I tell them the price is in the hundreds…

    • Huelo February 13, 2015 / 2:47 pm

      Good for you for asking what they are worth, and I’m glad to hear that you’ve succeeded in selling some of them. They will be cherished by their new owners. 🙂

  18. Alison Mayne February 12, 2015 / 12:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Recovered Threads and commented:
    A really interesting and reflective article on the costs – in lots of different senses – of knitting. It reflects some of my own reservations about the assumption that yarn-based ‘slow’ crafts are necessarily part of a challenge to consumerist culture.

  19. Melissa February 12, 2015 / 4:31 pm

    I’ve read the other article you mentioned and understand – and at times agree with her sentiment. However, you have gone to the very heart of the problem and that is this disposable society we now live in. My father used to make his living in textiles and lost his job once it was discovered that the materials can be made elsewhere and so much cheaper. No one had enough of a conscience to think about who would be without a job and the horrible conditions the others would be working in. They only thought of the bottom line. So now people all wear clothing that looks like everyone elses and will only last a year or two. When did this become a good thing?

    I have sold some of my items for what I feel is a reasonable price. However, the people who have bought them appreciate that they are hand crafted items and paid the asking price without even cringing. I am proud of the work and the fact that the quality of the merchandise is appreciated. It also makes me proud when I walk into a store, look at a $50 sweater and don’t buy it because I can make one that looks so much better, will last longer and give me so much more satisfaction. My husband tells me I am now a textile snob….and he’s right.

    • Huelo February 13, 2015 / 2:44 pm

      Thank you for the thoughtful response! What a sad story about your father’s livelihood, and a story that I’m sure lots of people throughout history can relate to.

  20. Marie February 12, 2015 / 4:31 pm

    I love this so very much.

    • Huelo February 13, 2015 / 2:42 pm

      Thank you! ❤

  21. marjorie crawley February 13, 2015 / 2:29 am

    haven’t read it all yet – but the last time I thought about rights was about equality within society concerning ethical matters … is the word ‘right’ applicable here? perhaps not …

    • Huelo February 13, 2015 / 2:50 pm

      Hmn, interesting perspective. I’ve had a lot of helpful feedback about the title from various people since I posted this, so thanks. I hope you do get around to reading the whole piece.

    • Lorenzo February 13, 2015 / 2:52 pm

      A “right” refers to any entitlement, and the point of this article is to think of knitting as something to which anyone is entitled, not just those blessed with a lot of money and leisure time. Next time a writer spends many hours writing something, go ahead and actually read it first.

    • Jim Dillon February 13, 2015 / 3:07 pm

      Marjorie, I like the way you think about rights, and I also think that your definition actually helps me see why knitting might really be a right. Usually I think of a “right” as a status or behavior that everyone is entitled to, with that entitlement having the force of law behind it. But if you bring ethics into it I start thinking in far more personal terms, in other words, “rights” become things people, acting as individuals among themselves, allow each other as part of basic decent behavior – – another way of acknowledging each others’ humanity.

      If knitting can be an effective means for meditation, relaxation, and stress relief, how could we deny that to anyone? But that’s just a beginning. If the activities and products involved in knitting help the knitter live in a manner that they see as better aligned with their ethics (regarding our use of resources, or the way some people are exploited as cheap labor so that others can wear cheap garments, etc.), then I think knitting is their right (to the extent they don’t harm others of course – – your freedom to knit ends where your needle touches my nose!). And I guess this might be more confrontational, but . . . if we reach a point where we agree that there is a right to work that doesn’t insult or even prevent human dignity, then knitting would be a form of work we should have a right to do. Which I think is different than saying the world owes me a decent living if I choose to be a professional knitter.

      Thank you for helping my thinking along on this!

  22. Martyn Dunn February 14, 2015 / 8:39 pm

    Good story. Its sad that $100 sneakers can’t produce a living wage here in the U.S. They did once. I purchase a lot of brass plumbing parts that are all made over seas. Its all junk and it all cost as much as the parts once made here. The same old american made brass part I dig up sit under ground for fifty years and still work. Were lucky if todays fixtures last 10.

  23. apileofsticks February 18, 2015 / 7:36 am

    Thank you for your thoughtful writing. Your words struck a chord in me…so here goes:

    My relationship to fiber comes with spinning yarn on a drop spindle. I’m not a knitter, having knit only one, record-breakingly-long scarf because I didn’t know how to finish it, and I crochet a little – but that’s not at all why I spin yarn. People always ask me, “What are you going to make with it?” and I often reply, “I’m a yarn maker…this is what I make.”

    Spinning grabbed me, not the other way around. I’ve been spinning now for four years, and I think that maybe some of the yarn will be used to embellish felt made with hand carded wool from the sheep who share this little corner of the world with me. I have given much of my yarn as precious gifts, and have sold only a couple of skeins…I want people to understand what it is they are holding in their hand…from start to finish. This long range view is important to me, this story of how the yarn came to be. Spinning yarn is a most remarkable experience for me the spinner, and also for the observer. For a couple of years, I volunteered at a place that cared for elders with dementia. I sat spinning and they would bring people to sit with me who were especially agitated…and they would calm right down. Even people in their “right mind” say to me that they love to watch…”it’s so relaxing.”

    I am of the mind that I want to re-member how it feels to make things to use in my everyday life. So far I use wool from sheep that live around here, mostly owned by people who thought they wanted to raise fiber animals and do something with the fiber…until they found out how much work each step of the process is. I tell people whom I teach to spin that there are mountains of wool to be had for the asking…generally not the most preciously soft wool, but nice enough for learning how to spin yarn…yarn that can be used to make things that will last a very long time.

    My neighbor is a knitter and we gave a collaborative gift to the first born of the next generation in our little Village within a larger town. She knit a beautiful hooded sweater/coat and lined it with cotton flannel, knit from my not-that-soft yarn; yarn that still had all the “grease”. We live in a climate that is rainy, damp, moist a lot of the year and a coat of wool “in the grease” is perfect. It is sturdy and will last through many, many children. The line has already formed, for who will get this heirloom handed to them, to shelter the next baby. It has been profound for all of us to see this “heirloom” sensibility unfold. It’s not the first heirloom in our town though. Another neighbor, a woodworker, built a beautiful and sturdy cradle for his son, who is now 29-years-old. Each user of the “Nichols’ cradle” writes the name and birth date of their child on the bottom of the cradle which by now is full of names, including the two grandchildren of the original maker. !!!

    Making precious things with our precious hands is food for all of us. One day a mother and daughter saw me spinning. The mother could not speak English but I understood the look in her eyes the instant she saw me spinning. I knew she KNEW what I was doing. Excitedly she spoke and gestured to me and back to her daughter. She stood in front of me, mesmerized. Finally her daughter caught up to her and told me that her mother is from Turkey and still makes all her yarn with a drop spindle. We, all three of us, were part of a deep and old connection.

    Thank you for helping to sort out how we have strayed so far from what used to be a right for everyone – to have the opportunity to learn to use our hands, to be able to squeeze out some precious time to do the making, and to know the value for ourselves, our family and our culture when we all make things with our hands.

  24. Abby Glassenberg February 20, 2015 / 2:52 am

    This is fantastic. Thank you.

  25. June February 21, 2015 / 12:50 am

    I agree completely. Thank you for taking the time to compose your post.

  26. Delsa February 21, 2015 / 8:57 am

    What an interesting article. I live in Norway and there is a saying “ull er gull” – wool is gold. I feel I am in the minority here as a non knitter. You see people knitting everywhere it’s possible to multi task! At a choir rehearsal, at children’s sports tournaments to mention but two places I regularly see it. You can often notice someone’s work in progress sticking out the bag they’re carrying. I see many hand knitted sweaters on the kids at my son’s kindergarten and there can’t be too many babies here who don’t own something handknitted. I am so grateful for the strangers who knit the tiny booties and woolen blankets my fourth child used in the neonatal unit at Ahus hospital – I treasure them! It really is a skill to be treasured and when my kids are older and I have more time, I’d like to learn – although knowing my speed it’ll likely be grandkids that benefit from the new skill 😉

    • Huelo February 26, 2015 / 7:21 pm

      Thanks for sharing! Norway sounds like heaven. 🙂

  27. Katie February 21, 2015 / 9:37 am

    Wonderful article, thank you. I especially like what you mentined in the second to last paragraph about the skills of makers working in factories. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I was chatting last night to my partner about the top I was sewing and explaining that i was about to do the part I found most difficult – setting in sleeves. This led on to a conversation about how clothes are made in factories, and that people working there are follwing pretty much exactly the same process as I do, doing the same thing that I find incredibly fiddly and have to do at a snails pace to get right. We both agreed that most people, like my partner, probably don’t realise that store bought clothes are actually pretty much ‘handmade’ by very skilled sewers working in a factory. It might be more slightly automated than it is at home, but it’s not just all made by machines. We really need to appreciate and value more the skill that goes into making all our clothes.

    • Huelo February 26, 2015 / 6:21 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing! I also appreciate how making clothes has helped me to be more conscientious about the clothes I buy. I can’t sew my way out of a paper bag, so I’m especially in awe of sewists!

  28. Kuskat February 22, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this. It reminded me of my granny, she has been knitting, sewing and making crochet her whole live. As a little one I enjoyed joining her or playing around that. Growing up I studied art, but the last years I have gone back to build on what she has passed on, the joy of making just for the making and exactly the sentiment you where explain here above. Last I made her a quilt, made on her old sewing machine It Feld like giving back that bit of joy and showing her what she has passed though to generations passed her. She’s sleeping very warm at least now .-) Oh, here in Portugal you still can find a good history and habit of crafts, but in the big city’s things are more on capitalist mode. I recognise how different it is from the capitalist country i’m coming from. Thanks for writing this, I’m shared this and I’m shore to follow up to some more of your post.

    • Huelo February 26, 2015 / 6:19 pm

      Wow, thanks for reading and sharing your stories. I’m always excited to hear how others have used craft to connect with their ancestors and people they love. I hope I can visit Portugal some day, I’ve heard it’s very nice!

      • Kuskat February 27, 2015 / 1:22 am

        Your always welcome! i’m looking forward reading more of your story’s.

  29. susanabastos February 22, 2015 / 4:19 pm

    Great article! 100% agree 🙂

  30. kitenswithmittens February 28, 2015 / 1:20 am

    Reblogged this on Kittens with Mittens and commented:
    Excellent points! The distinction between Handcrafters selling their work and hobbyists, is less than you think. This lady is knitting in Bulgaria, were capitalism hasn’t entirely consumed the garment market and handmade is still part of everyday life.

  31. craftyfungilady January 3, 2016 / 12:25 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this! I often think how sad it is that knitting and other crafts used to be the cheaper option for clothing your family when it has now become a potentially expensive hobby that isn’t accessible to all (at least in Western capatilist countries). I’ve recently started following quite a few knitting blogs and have noticed the bias towards middle class people showing off the expensive luxury yarns they’ve bought. While I have no problem with people buying pretty yarns if they can afford to (I’m a white, middle class Australian so I would definitely be included in this category), I get very annoyed at the tone of some of the bloggers. They talk about their purchases of luxury yarns from indie dyers as though they are morally superior to those knitters who use cheaper yarn. They don’t seem to consider the fact that they are EXTREMELY privileged in being able to afford them. I found this blog by googling “knitting privilege” in the hope of finding a blog that did acknowledge this issue and I have now subscribed. Thanks again!

    • Huelo January 3, 2016 / 1:45 pm

      Hi! Thank you for your nice comment! I’m so glad you found my blog and enjoyed it. 🙂

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