Knitting News 24 March 2014

Knitting News 24 March 2014

In this week’s news: a 100 year history of knitting, knitting as a male pursuit, and knitting to stop smoking.

Spring has technically arrived, though looking out the window it’s hard to belief. It’s been absolutely bucketing down for most of the day, and the weekend was freezing. Even when the sun was out there was a horrible icy wind cutting through everything. It’s definatively not time to put away the wintery knits just yet.

  • A hundred years of knitting

If you’re anywhere near Southampton (in the UK) you’re in luck. There’s an exhibition there detailing knitting over the last hundred years. For more details check here and here.

Aside from the exhibition sounding very interesting, what  fascinates me is that the university there has a knitting reference collection! As far as a I know, none of the academic libraries I’ve ever visited in my studying career from undergraduate all the way up to PhD level had such a wonderful treasure trove. Am currently rethinking my future in academics. Now all I need to do is convince the husband that a move to Southampton is a good idea.

  • Knitting as a male pursuit

What really struck me in knitting related news over the last week was the number of articles on men knitting. See what a simple search of Google News throws up: male knitting stories.

Now, I’ve heard before about fishermen, in particular, traditionally being knitters, and I suppose that makes sense, as it’s really not that far off from knotting nets. That being said, I don’t think anyone can deny that today, at least, knitting is considered to be a predominantly female pursuit. I know that there’s male knitters out there. Some male knitters are quite visible as designers, such as Stephen West.

But I don’t think that I’ve ever actually met a male knitter in real life. Sure, I know some men who’ve been taught the basic stitches in school (including apparently, my husband) but none that are active knitters right now (and knitting of their own free will).

The more knitters the better, however, male or female. There’s plenty of patterns out there that are designed for men, why shouldn’t they just learn to knit themselves instead of waiting for a willing knitting woman in their life to knit it for them?

  • Knitting to stop smoking

Throughout the week, I keep an eye on any interesting knit related news, and tweet the most newsworthy stories (follow me by pressing the button in the right sidebar or here to stay in the loop as well!). This week one story in particular got an tremendous response, so I would be remiss if I didn’t repeat it here.

Knitting to stop smoking. This is the original story I tweeted, but a quick google shows that there’s obviously more to it than that. It turns out that KnitQuitin is a thing. And it makes perfect sense. Keeping the hands busy helps breaking the habit of smoking (if not the addiction to nicotine).

I don’t smoke, and never have, so while I thought the story vaguely interesting, I never expected it to hit the nerve it evidently did. Some people tweeted me with their own stories of how knitting has helped them to stop smoking. It was really lovely.

If you’re looking to quit, therefore, it could be worth a shot (though if you’re reading this you’re probably already a knitter!). The BBC ran a story on it too, some years ago: here. And these Knit Quit Kits could be a nice incentive for some.

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