Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    16

    Feminist knitters

    As a woman who identifies as both a knitter and a feminist, I've been really excited with the growing popularity of Stitch & Bitch and the revival of knitting among young women. Because of this, and because I love to knit and be girly, I'm writing my thesis on knitting as a feminist activity. Does anybody else identify with this combination? I'd be interested to hear any thoughts on the topic. Some questions I've been considering:

    How do women define 'feminist?'
    What role does knitting play in a woman's life? What does it do for her?
    Do most girls and women who take up knitting today do it with a "Stitch & Bitch" mentality (meaning associate it with girl power and feminism)?
    Why does knitting suddenly have the cult following that it does? Or has it always been like this and I just didnt realize it until the past few years?

    Some more questions I'd like answers to:

    If you knit, why did you start?
    Do you identify as a feminist?
    What does knitting do for you? Why do you like it?
    How do you communicate with other knitters (knitting group, online forums like this, etc)?
    Why do you choose to connect in this way?
    Do you think knitting today is different than it was several generations ago? Does it serve a different function?

    If you feel like answering these questions, please please do! I'm really interested in this topic and I really need some honest feedback so I can take my thesis in the right direction. Also, if you don't identify as feminist but you knit, I really want to hear what you think of this idea I've posted. I feel like it's a trend that's catching on or something.

  2. # ADS

  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    atlanta burbs
    Posts
    106
    i started knitting a year or sothing ago. i dont remember why i started, but i dont remember there being much popularity as there is now. i asked my mom to teach me, and then after getting bored boguht a stitch n' bitch book. i think that mostly i enjoy knitting because i am a nervous, smoking, coffee drinking, fidgeting girl...and so that just makes sense to need somthing to do with my hands. but i think that knitting as well as any other crafting is somthing that i enjoy because i feel like i am not just consuming but also creating and in atleast a tiny part of my life can feel self sufficient. maybe that is why so many feminists are atracted to this sort of activity, because in a place where often times independant people, feminist or not, feel trapped in a place where everything/one around them is controlling their life...like the only clothes we can wear are the ones we find on the wal-mart rack, orthe only food we can eat is out of the packages in the kroger, or the only beliefs we can have are the ones written in books. i guess in a way by making a scarf i feel that its a small fuck you to everyone that doesnt beleive i can creat for myself the place that i want to live in.
    i am also really exited to see people getting exited about knitting and craftying an diy-ing. it seems like more and more people are starting to be concerned about where the things they buy and use are coming from...even with the sudden hype about natural foods and such (or is that just me?)

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    2,021
    Stitch & Bitch isn't really my style, but i like that it's getting more people into knitting. i'm not a fan of all the size-35-needle-novelty-yarn stuff out there, but it's just not "me". if it makes people happy, that's great. i wish there were more men out there knitting. my dad is a knitter (he learned recently) but he's the only male knitter i know.

    for me, knitting isn't any more about feminism than anything else i do. i knit because i love to, not because i think it's making a statement or it's trendy. in a sense, because i AM a feminist, everything i do is about feminism, but i guess that's a little philosophical.

    here are your questions, answered:

    If you knit, why did you start?
    my grandma taught me to knit when i was 8, but i started again when i was 14 because i started spinning and i wanted to do something with the yarn.

    Do you identify as a feminist?
    yes.

    What does knitting do for you? Why do you like it?
    knitting is intuitive and meditative for me. i like knitted objects and i like knitting them. i like to connection to the women (and men) in the past who have knitted, and the connection to women's history.

    How do you communicate with other knitters (knitting group, online forums like this, etc)?
    my mom, dad, and sister knit. we have some knitting friends, but none are near my age. knitting isn't a social activity for me.

    Why do you choose to connect in this way?
    because i like to talk about knitting, but like i said, the act of knitting is not something i do socially.

    Do you think knitting today is different than it was several generations ago? Does it serve a different function?
    yes, it is different. mechanically, most of today's knitting is done at a larger gauge with thicker yarns. most people learn to knit because they want to, not because they have to to keep warm or make money. most people (at least in mainstream america) knit as a hobby. in the past, people *had* to knit sweaters and stockings, because they needed them to wear or it was part of their local economy. most knitters i see these days are more into making fun scarves than socks for daily wear.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    446
    i just had to respond to this -

    i knit because stella taught me how! it's my third anniversary this month, and i've already done a fair bit - i'd say i'm an intermediate or maybe even advanced knitter.

    i absolutely identify as a feminist. and it is social - somewhat - i do most of my knitting alone or in car trips, etc. but the social part is what made me interested and improve so quickly. i found a gorgeous cable sweater (that someone in an online community posted) and my other friends (online and IRL - though i hate that expression, this IS my real life) all encouraged me, saying i could do it, and they'd be there if i needed help.

    i choose this because i like that i only have four sweaters and i made one of them. i choose because i will knit socks for my brother as a gift. i choose this because i don't want more more more at any cost. i'd rather have two drawers of handmade clothes than two closets of mass-marketed, sweatshop gap crap.

    and making my own clothes/accessories has made me much more fashionable than i ever was. i get to choose what look i want, how i'm going to achieve that, what texture best expresses my sometime vintage, sometime kitchy and sometime classic style.

    good luck with your thesis! crafts and feminism have been discussed several times on this board, do a search for it and i'm sure you'll find some great threads.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    somewhere between chapel hill + london.
    Posts
    105
    i just wrote my master's thesis on knitting, diy and community development. check out anne macdonald's no idle hands: the social history of american knitting.

    How do women define 'feminist?'
    i don't know about all women, but i define it as realising that i can do anything i want to do regardless of gender stereotypes.

    What role does knitting play in a woman's life? What does it do for her?
    it wears myriad hats. from the subversive to the soothing. although it's seen as 'women's work,' it hasn't always been.

    Do most girls and women who take up knitting today do it with a "Stitch & Bitch" mentality?
    i don't know, i started knitting before the book was out and before the term was widely used.

    Why does knitting suddenly have the cult following that it does? Or has it always been like this and I just didnt realize it until the past few years?
    there's been a slow rise of popularity since i was living in nyc in 2000 and there were whispers to it being 'the new yoga,' whispers that continue today.

    If you knit, why did you start?
    because i wanted to reconnect with a craft that was done by the elder women in my family. i wanted to learn from them.

    Do you identify as a feminist?
    yes.

    What does knitting do for you? Why do you like it?
    it depends on the day as to why i like it. sometimes it calms me down, sometimes it energizes me. i like that it is a medium that allows for all of my different moods.

    How do you communicate with other knitters (knitting group, online forums like this, etc)?
    online, in person, teaching knitting

    Why do you choose to connect in this way?
    because it's another form of communication. and there are some really cool people out there that i would have not met otherwise.

    Do you think knitting today is different than it was several generations ago? Does it serve a different function?
    we don't need to knit to clothe ourselves. but we knit because there is a different sort of warmth that emanates from something made with love versus something store-bought and mass-produced.


    sorry. i go on about this. feel free to email me if you have any more questions.

  7. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Northeastern PA
    Posts
    8

    Feminist knitters

    Great topic for discussion. I myself am a relatively new knitter, but have crocheted for years. I think it is interesting that you bring up the relationship between knitting (and crafting in general) and feminism. Many of the "younger generation" knitting books address this phenomenom and refer to reclaiming knitting from being considered an anti feminist activity. I think it is also important to reclaim the word feminist, because I know many women (and men) who feel it has a negative conotation. Personally I define feminism as equality between the sexes, both economically and socially. To answer the rest of your questions:
    What role does knitting play in a women's life?
    - I think that knitting plays the role that any other hobby plays in peoples lives. It is something that interests them, gives them joy, it is a outlet of creativity and allows them to connect with others who enjoy the same activity.
    Do most girls today take up knitting with the SnB mentality?
    -I don't necessarily believe that girls take up knitting with the idea that it is a feminist thing to do, however I can't speak for most girls so I don't know what their motives are. For myself, as a relatively new knitter and a feminist, I did not take up knitting in order to reclaim the knitting as a feminist activity, I just like to do it.
    Why does knitting have such a cult following?
    - I definately think that the number of knitters has increased recently. There are many new yarn stores popping up, new books and magazines about the subject, etc. I don't know the exact reason, but I think that our societies wants and needs are cyclical. For example, after years of pre-packaged, preservative laden foods, people are starting to shift back to fresh, organic ingredients, and making their own food from scratch. I think the same is true with hobbies and crafts, people are knitting in order to find a way to cope with the rush rush lifestyle that everyone has grown accustomed to. I don't really know if this answers the question, but it is the only way I know how to explain it.
    Why did I start knitting?
    I actually learned to knit during a year I spent in a program called Americorps. For 10 months I was working with a group of other people on different volunteer projects. We traveled around the country and our accommodations were sparse. We didn't usually have a tv, and we didn't have access to a vehicle all of the time. In order to pass what little down time we did have many of the people in the program learned to knit and crochet. At the time it was a relatively inexpensive and portable hobby. During that time, I spent more time crocheting, mainly because it was easier for me (my mom had taught me years ago) but I just recently started knitting because of the versatility of the items you can create.
    Do I identify as a feminist?
    -yes
    What does knitting do for me?
    -I just really enjoy working with yarn and fibers, as well as the rhythmic motions of knitting and crocheting. It is relaxing as well as a way to do or make something. As a business student, I have very little opportunity throughout my day to actually make something with my hands, knitting gives me an outlet to do this.

    Thanks for the discussion, and good luck on your thesis. I hope you get some valuable information that will assist in writing it.

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    portland, or
    Posts
    135
    Here's answers to some of your questions. I'd like to answer the others, but don't have time at the moment...

    If you knit, why did you start?
    I just wanted to figure out how to do it, to see if I could. I had an aunt who crocheted for me, and a cousin who knitted; they were my influences. Once I figured out I could knit, I realized I really liked doing it
    and kept on.

    Do you identify as a feminist?
    Yes.

    What does knitting do for you? Why do you like it? Lots of things. The main thing is, I just like to create, whether it's a knitted scarf, a loaf of bread, a painting, whatever. I find the physical process of knitting to be extremely soothing. I like the tactile/visual quality of knitting -- trying various textures and colors of yarn, different patterns, etc. I also like the challenge -- generally each knitting project I do somehow builds on the one preceding it, in terms of difficulty, trying a new technique, altering a pattern etc.


    How do you communicate with other knitters (knitting group, online forums like this, etc)?
    I have one friend with whom I occasionally get together and knit. We end up chatting more than we knit, though. I don't do a whole lot of "communicating" in general, as knitting is a pretty personal, private thing for me. I do visit lots of knitting websites for ideas, though.

    Why do you choose to connect in this way?
    I guess I just don't gravitate to the social groups, e.g. knitting clubs as I'm pretty introverted.

    Do you think knitting today is different than it was several generations ago? Does it serve a different function?
    Sure, in that it's not an essential function anymore. We knit things for others to present them with a unique, one of a kind gift (or do so for ourselves), rather than doing so out of necessity.

  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Lex Vegas, KY
    Posts
    53

    Re: Feminist knitters

    I like these kinds of survey-for-my-possible-thesis topics that keep popping up...

    How do women define 'feminist?'

    I'm guessing that by this you mean you want to gather a variety of definitions from different women, so I will give you mine...I define femenism both by that all too familar and oft-quoted dictionary definition of "the beleif in the equailty of genders" and as a historically significant and ever-changing theoretical/philosophical lens, if you will, through which one can view the world around them.

    Do most girls and women who take up knitting today do it with a "Stitch & Bitch" mentality (meaning associate it with girl power and feminism)?

    I think that a lot of women do take up knitting with a sort of snb mentality, but I'm not sure how feminist that whole catchphrase-laden schpiel is. i don't feel like "celebrating women's culture" or "reconnecting with grandma" or whatever is particularly feminist. i do feel that the idea of asserting the value of all types of production is a very feminist notion, and that by knitting because you like it, refusing to be teased about it, doing it in public, teaching others to do it, and insisting that others recognize it as a complex and worthwhile activity worthy of some respect as such one commits a feminist act...i think however that when you start knitting ::because:: you are a woman and you feel like you should reconnect with women and share some kind of spiritual wah-wah with them -- well, that's all fine and dandy but not very feminist nor particularly historically aware. (disclaimer: i own both snb's and find them very useful!)

    Why does knitting suddenly have the cult following that it does?

    I really have no idea. Maybe because it's "the new yoga"?

    Or has it always been like this and I just didnt realize it until the past few years?

    I think it has increased in popularity and the people who are doing it because it's trendy certainly are making the whole community more visable. All this media and commercial notice has also had the effect of getting a bunch of people who once knit only casually or had not done it in a while to jump back into it, and so i think definately the number of serious knitters has kind of swollen compared to past years. However, I am constantly amazed at how many of my friends knit and I never knew...I always get really pissed at them when they tell me because it's sort of like if I find out they read some super cool book five years ago and never told me about it! The knitters who have been with it all along are very non-chalant about it, even when they're obsessed.

    If you knit, why did you start?

    I learned when I was 10 or so, knit a "baby scarf" (re: failed scarf for self) for my soon-to-be-born brother, and them kind of forgot how to knit soon after. I started again when the whole SnB thing got going because I wanted to learn it again and realized that it wasn't and old lady hobby, it was a cool and useful skill.

    Do you identify as a feminist?

    Yep, but not particularly first and foremost. I sort of consider that perspective to be subsumed by my more socialist leanings.

    What does knitting do for you? Why do you like it?

    It's interesting. I'm a product knitter primarily....never during the course of knitting something do I forget how close (or far) I am from the finished product. At the same time, as I get better at the technical stuff, i.e. knitting, purling, the one bazzilion cast-on methods, and other sundry needle moves, I am becoming a bit more process oriented. I like reading a pattern, imagining how it will look, and then seeing how it turns out with little unexpected textural things or weird problems like giant yarn strands or loops or whatever. It's sort of like sight-reading music -- at first it's daunting and you just will do whatever to play the song...then the challenge of reading it a few times and then trying to play it straight through and seeing how it goes is fun and exciting.

    How do you communicate with other knitters (knitting group, online forums like this, etc)?

    I'm on a listserv for the local SnB, which I sometimes read for hints and info about area yarns shoppes and whatnot. As for other knitters, I keep finding out more and more of my friends can knit, and so we just make time together for knitting and chetting and whatnot.

    Why do you choose to connect in this way?

    Well, knitting's a good excuse to get together and getting together is a good excuse to knit. In college, any form of multitasking is preferrable...it just happens to be knitting and hanging out go really well together.

    Do you think knitting today is different than it was several generations ago? Does it serve a different function?

    Yes and no...most people nowadays don't have to knit, at least in the "West." In other places, the various textile arts like knitting, weaving, embroidery, etc... are still vital and completely necessary work. They've undergone a lot of changes, which have been different depending on location, but I'd say a primary trend has been that products of these activities are now more a part of the market economy rather than the subsistence economy of a given area...I'd say overall, that has a been a negative shift. In the US and the rest of the "West" knitting has become a leisure activity and a creative outlet for people...I think that part of it is a drive in a lot of people to make something, physically -- not just type up reports and go to meetings and whatnot. I was raised in a tradition of make-it-because-I-have-to -- my mom made a lot of my clothes when I was younger and taught me to make little cotton items (like elastic-band pants and simple tank tops) for myself. Now I feel odd never making anything. I think that homes need to be producers and consumers for the world to work properly, and so I knit. Also, frankly, my knitted items are waaaayyyy better quality than store-bought machine-knit crap, so I prefer it anyhow.

  10. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    16
    Thanks for responding everyone! It's really helpful for my thesis. I'll keep posting as I continue my research and let you all know how it's going. Feel free to keep posting on the topic, you don't have to answer the questions if you don't want to. I liked this quote from stella: "for me, knitting isn't any more about feminism than anything else i do. i knit because i love to, not because i think it's making a statement or it's trendy. in a sense, because i AM a feminist, everything i do is about feminism, but i guess that's a little philosophical." Yay for knitting and feminism!

  11. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    AL
    Posts
    135
    If you knit, why did you start?
    i started around age 4, my grandmother was an avid knitter and i asked her to teach me so i could make blankets for my stuffed animals

    Do you identify as a feminist?
    yes, very much so

    What does knitting do for you?
    it's relaxing and gives me a sense of accomplishment when i finish a project

    Why do you like it?
    see answer above

    How do you communicate with other knitters (knitting group, online forums like this, etc)?
    i don't, this is the first "craft" forum i have ever registered/posted on/visited

    Why do you choose to connect in this way?
    i spend a third of my day at a computer

    Do you think knitting today is different than it was several generations ago? Does it serve a different function?
    today, textile items are more often mass produced making knitting less necessary
    i think knitting still serves the same function, but it carries with it a stronger sense of "love," the fact that a person would take that much time out of their (more than likely) busy schedule to make a hand-made garment says a lot of the recipient


 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Remove Ads

Ads

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. My work featured on Feminist Review
    By Astrid in forum Girls Gone Crafty
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-29-2009, 09:23 AM
  2. Readable Feminist Theory
    By Fonzarella in forum Book Worms
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-09-2007, 03:16 PM
  3. feminist arguments for vegetarianism?
    By kindarana in forum Freestyle
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-14-2005, 10:14 AM
  4. Feminist Fiction
    By xuli in forum Book Worms
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 05-23-2005, 11:34 AM
  5. If he isn't a feminist (long)
    By artemis.sun in forum Freestyle
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 04-22-2005, 04:01 AM

Search tags for this page

atlanta machine knitters

,

feminist history of knitting

,

feminist knitter

,

feminist knitters

,

how to get motivation to become an avid knitter?

,

knitting as a feminist activity

Click on a term to search for related topics.