Knitting traditions are the backbone of the knitting world we know today. How each of us adapt or adopt knitting traditions, they are all being molded by the things that are ascendant in our current lives.
I’m sure there are things that seem traditional that each of us know or do that are actually “new fangled” knitting traditions. But they are well established in knitting as we know it, so they seem, well, traditional. If you consider how we access knitting information, even if it was being passed along as a handed-down needle art (which it isn’t), the vastness of our access to knitting information is going to change what are our knitting traditions.
I recently told the story of my mother knitting the same sweater. Did I mention that she didn’t learn the long-tail cast on (and many other techniques) until I started seriously pursuing knitting? I used to go to the knitting group at my mother’s retirement home. Doris would get really peeved at the instructions; she didn’t understand why we did an SSK–she knew how to do a k2tog, and so why did she have to learn something else? I understand why we do an SSK, but I am often just as happy with a k2tog-b (tbl). So we are constantly picking and choosing.
Knitting Traditions: How We Learn (and Teach)
When I originally learned to knit it was lessons at a knit shop. Other people learned from a family member or friend, or, as in my mother’s case, from a neighbor (her mother didn’t knit). Now we learn and teach through video, from books, from our local yarn shop, or asking someone we know, or going to a knitting event. The vastness of the information we have access to means we are exposed to lots of different knitting traditions!
Knitting Traditions: What We Pass Along
I am fortunate to know lots of knitting professionals who have been huge influencers in the information we take for granted today: Judy Becker of Judy’s Magic Cast On, Jeny Staiman of Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, Cat Bordhi of Moebius knitting, to name a few. They have all published their techniques, and may teach it, and much of it is available as videos. Regardless of whether you are a shawl knitter, a sock knitter, a color knitter, there are wonderful knitters out there changing our knitting traditions every day. It is impossible to keep up, but exciting to see innovations and reimagining.
So just because any of us think we are doing it “correctly” or following knitting traditions, we are all making knitting our own, and those that follow us will do the same. Hold the old, embrace the new, and always knit!
Leave me your favorite knitting tradition–new or old–in Reply below. Mine? I think the way it creates community is mine. A different kind of tradition is that I always travel with knitting I never get to.