Friday, 4 September 2015

Knitting - A Successful History

 Knitting  -  A Successful History

As with most things in life everything has a phase of popularity, then a decline.  Knitting has been through these phases and at the moment it is a very popular pastime.  Following is a very interesting article from Wikipedia, that points out the high's and low's of knitting through the decades; and the reasons why knitting was more popular during specific times during the 20th and 21st century.  Thank you Wikipedia for the following information:

1920s: Fashions

The 1920s saw a vast increase in the popularity of knitwear in much of the western world. Knitwear, especially sweaters/pullovers became essential part of the new fashions of the age for men, women and children, rather than mostly practical garments of associated with particular occupations (e.g., fishermen). The late teens and early 1920s saw a fashion for knitted neckties. Knitwear was often associated with sport and leisure. Garments often became associated with particular sports; for example, white sweaters/pullers, often with colored stripes (club colors) in the collar, became common for tennis and cricket.

Fair Isle knitting enjoyed a golden age during the 1920s, reputedly started by the Prince of Wales (future Edward VIII) wearing a Fair Isle sweater/pullover to play golf. Both Fair Isle and Argyle(knitting) styles have since been associated with the sport.
High fashion also embraced knitwear with both Coco Chanel making prominent use of it and Vogue magazine featuring patterns.
Before the 1920s, the majority of commercial knitting in the Western world had centered around production of underwear, socks, and hosiery. This vastly expanded as the public taste for knitted fashion did also. Both hand and machine knitting were commercially active on a large scale prior to the Great Depression.
The 1920s saw a continuation in the growth of interest in home/hobby knitting which grew during the First World War. Conditions of trench warfare lead to a shortage of socks in particular, and the Allied home front was encouraged to support the troops by knitting.
Home knitting grew in popularity, especially as fashion fully embraced knitwear. Companies started, or expanded, to meet the demands of home knitters, producing patterns, yarn, and tools.

1930s: The Depression

The prominence of knitwear in fashion of the 1920s continued, but reflected the changes of fashion. The combining traditional methods in new ways became more common and new technologies such as zip fasteners began to be used in knitwear. New synthetic yarns started to become available.
The hardship experienced by many during the Great Depression meant many turned to knitting through necessity. It was much cheaper to knit your own garments than to buy hand (or even machine) knitted products. Skills were needed for repairs to existing garments,socks and underwear. Patterns, now often included in popular women's magazines frequently reflected this need. Socks with replaceable toes and heels were common. Some hobby knitters took to part-time work, hand knitting for extra income.
The 1930s also saw a rise in popularity of commercial machine knitting.
Much commercially sold knitwear of the 1920s was hand knitted, however the costs of this and other pressures of the time saw a large shift in consumers towards cheaper machine knitted products.

1939–1945: Knitting for Victory

Make do and mend was the title of a booklet produced by the British wartime government department, the Ministry of Information. Wool was in very short supply, and the booklet encouraged women to unpick old unwearable woollen items in order to re-use the wool.
Knitting patterns were issued so that people could make items for the Army and Navy to wear in winter, such as balaclavas and gloves. This not only produced the much-needed items, but also gave those on the "home front" a positive sense of contributing to the war effort.

1950s and 60s: Haute Couture

After the war years, knitting had a huge boost as greater colors and styles of yarn were introduced. Many thousands of patterns fed a market hungry for fashionable designs in bright colors. The twinset was an extremely popular combination for the home knitter. It consisted of a short-sleeved top with a long-sleeved cardigan in the same color, to be worn together.
Image result for girls being taught to knit in school in the 1950's
Girls were taught to knit in school, as it was thought to be a useful skill, not just a hobby. Magazines such as Pins and needles in the UK carried patterns of varying difficulty including not just clothes, but also blankets, toys, bags, lace curtains and items that could be sold for profit.

1980s decline

The popularity of knitting showed a sharp decline during this period in the Western world. Sales of patterns and yarns slumped, as the craft was increasingly seen as old-fashioned and children were rarely taught to knit in school.
The increased availability and low cost of machine-knitted items meant that consumers could have a sweater at the same cost of purchasing the wool and pattern themselves, or often for far less.
Alternatives to traditional woolen knitwear gained in popularity, such as tracksuits
sweatshirts which began to be worn as everyday wear rather than only in a sporting context. Sewn from a micro-knit synthetic fabric and brushed on one side, these were more fashionable at the time, much cheaper and quicker to produce and for the consumer much more easily cared for. These fabrics could also easily be printed with fashionable designs. Although made from a kind of knit fabric they are not usually considered knitwear.
These new garments, along with trends away from formality in clothing meant traditional knitwear was no longer seen as sportswear such as it had been in the 1920s. Knitwear became associated more as "smart casual" wear.
Technological advances such as computerized knitting machines saw new designs and approaches to knitting. Some artists began to see knitting as a legitimate art form rather than a craft or cottage industry and more attention began to be placed on the design possibilities of knitting from an artistic perspective rather than wholly fashion (or practical) approaches.


By the late 1980s many of the supplier to the home knitting market had disappeared or been absorbed into other companies. Local wool shops supplying the same market had also suffered a marked reduction in numbers. Home knitting still had a strong and loyal following.
The growth of craft fairs, release of well researched books on many aspects of knitting and the continued support amongst those who had learnt the skill in the heyday of the 60s and 70s kept a considerable amount of interest in knitting alive.
One of the most influential changes was the internet in enabling knitters to share advice, patterns and experience, but also it meant that home knitters had direct access to supplies rather being reliant on local sources. These trends have continued.

Early 21st century revival

The 21st century has seen a resurgence of knitting. This resurgence can be noted in part to coincide with the growth of the internet and internet-based technologies, as well as the general "Handmade Revolution".
Natural fibers from animals, such as alpacaangora, and merino, and plant fibers, chieflycotton, have become easier and less costly to collect and process, and therefore more widely available. Exotic fibers, such as silkbambooyak
and qiviut, are growing in popularity as well. The yarn industry has started to make novelty yarns which produce stunning results without years of knitting experience. Designers have begun to create patterns which work up quickly on large needles, a phenomenon known as instant-gratification knitting.
Celebrities have been seen knitting and have helped to popularize the revival of the craft. The new millennium has also seen a return by men to the art of knitting.
As time and technology change, so does the art of knitting. The Internet allows knitters to connect, share interests and learn from each other, whether across the street or across the globe. Among the first Internet knitting phenomena was the popular KnitList with thousands of members. In 1998, the first online knitting magazine, KnitNet, began publishing. (It suspended publication with its 54th edition in 2009.) Blogging later added fuel to the development of an international knitting community.
Patterns from both print and online sources have inspired groups (known as knit-a-long's, or KAL's) centered on knitting a specific pattern. Knitting podcasts have also emerged, with much cross-pollination of ideas from blogs, 'zines, and knitting books. Traditional designs and techniques that had been preserved by a relatively small number of hand-knitters are now finding a wider audience as well.
In addition, a type of graffiti called yarn bombing, has spread worldwide.

On January 14, 2006, influential author and knit-blogger
 Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, otherwise known as Yarn Harlot, challenged the knitting world to participate in the 2006 Knitting Olympics. To participate, a knitter committed to casting-on a challenging project during the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, and to have that project finished by the time the Olympic flame was extinguished sixteen days later. By the first day of the Olympics, almost 4,000 knitters had risen to the challenge.
As another sign of the popularity of knitting in the early 21st century, a large international online community and social networking site for knitters and crocheters, Ravelry, was founded by Casey and Jessica Forbes in May 2007. At first available by invitation only, the site connects knitting and crochet enthusiasts around the world and, as of May 2013, had over 3.15 million registered users.

Starting in September 2015, we are going to start charging a $2 sitting fee at all our Sit and Knit sessions.  All monies collected will be donated to various causes:

Image result for dog with a dog dish in it's mouth

September 2015: Alliston Humane Society for Dog Food
October 2015: Alliston Humane Society for Cat Food

November 2015: Alliston Food Bank

December 2015: My Sister's Place, Alliston

All are worthy causes you will agree, and all could do with that extra help?  Of course $2 is only a suggestion, if you want to give more, or less that is fine.  However the more money we raise the more animals and people we can help.

Image result for RavelympicsKnit and Sit sessions are:

Tuesday knit and sit 10:30 am to  2:30 pm
Thursday knit and sit 10:30 am to 2:30 pm
Friday knit and sit 7 pm to 9 pm
Saturday knit and sit 1 pm to 4 pm

1 comment:

  1. I remember my Mam unpacking wool & steaming it to get the crinkled out then reknitting it. My nana taught my sister & I to knit we used to all sit together knitting in the days before the telly. Then later we did the same with my mam watching the telly.
    The value of knitting is being accepted again. My friend & I taught 5 year groups of primary children to knit. The head wanted them not only to learn a traditional skill but to get the opportunity of improving their social skills by sitting talking to adults they didn't know. They all loved it, even the boys which surprised us.