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Is Knitting A Dying Art?

Knitting with green wool
Knitting – Is It Really An Endangered Skill?

We are living in a digital age, and sadly according to research that means many simple skills people grew up learning are in danger of dying out, and knitting could be among them.

Yes we now have an ‘endangered skills list’ which hit the headlines last year thanks to research from legendary map producers Ordnance Survey.

94% percent of those surveyed feared the next generation would forget/lose, or never even learn the skills that came so naturally to their grandparents.

The top 20 list of endangered skills that came from this research included knitting, darning socks, and other creative tasks such as baking bread from scratch, along with more practical skills. Could it be we’re all time poor, and just don’t have the space in our lives for learning to knit, and keeping up with this craft? Or is it the case that new craft trends have taken over and we’d rather die-cut, tie dye, or build up a collection of adult colouring books? Whether it’s lack of time, different tastes, or modern technology taking over, could knitting really be a dying art?

Young woman in a knitted hat

Knitted hats are cool!

Some say no, and a quick search of the internet reveals search results from all over the world of social knitting groups, classes, charity knitting projects, and even a men’s knitting retreat. One of our favourite finds has to be this story from Preston in Lancashire of how volunteers are knitting up body parts to educate children across the city on the body and healthy living. Just goes to show that knitting can be a lot of creative fun.

Not to be outdone, Essex has a thriving community of social knitting classes, the odd yarn bombing event, knitting to raise money for charity, and if you think body parts are a bit ambitious, there are plenty of opportunities to learn as well. Some groups offer an informal environment where you can meet like-minded knitters, and get help from an expert knitting tutor. Sometimes when you drop stitches, are having trouble mastering a stitch, or you’re foxed by a patterns instructions, having someone sit down with you and show you how to do/or correct something can help your projects no end.

Some of the projects you could be creating at different skill levels:

  • Scarf – knitted in one basic knitting stitch this is a great project to get started.
  • Knitting squares for a patchwork blanket – a great way to practice different stitches and patterns.
  • Tank Top – a sleeveless item of clothing will be fairly simple to create once you’re confident with the needles.
  • Socks – a more advanced project where you will be casting on/off and shaping. One for the more skilled knitters.

Nathan Franklin works at Franklins Group in Colchester, which provides knitting products and classes throughout Essex. He told us that there is a huge variety of things you can knit from clothes to toys, and while knitting may not be as widespread as it used to be, there’s certainly plenty of opportunities to learn in Essex and a thriving community to try and make sure knitting is a traditional skill that won’t be consigned to the scrap heap.

So there you go – knitting is alive and well, so grab your needles and get knitting!

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