Oh hey! I’m Helaina, I’m 30, and I learned to knit about 19 months ago. It’s one of the best things I have ever done, and the only crafty thing I’ve been able to do in, well, ever. Also, I’m obsessed. I already have more yarn than one person could use in a lifetime, and have made over 150 garments so far that I either wear, gift, or donate (unless they’re a disaster and then #recycle). I have a ridiculous number of desktop folders and excel spreadsheets containing all of my projects and patterns. My rescue dog Wiley models my knitting on Instagram (@WileyGoneWild). And I am not alone! These days, more and more young people are picking up needles (the good kind...the ones you knit with...) and taking up the hobby. Well, not so much a hobby as a way of life. The knitter life.
Here’s why now is the best time to be a young knitter.
1. This is probably the most stressful time ever to be alive. Fortunately, knitting is good for your nervous system, blood pressure, anxiety levels, and overall wellness. We’ve got all sorts of new societal pressure looming over our heads, and knitting can be our peaceful place literally anytime, anywhere. Long term, consistent knitting can flat out make you a calmer person. True story. It also makes waiting a lot less stressful! Subway or bus delays, long car rides, tardy friends showing up when they feel like it—no more “wasted” time. All productive. Life changed.
2. We’re in the age of the indie-dyers! Yarn comes in seriously amazing colors, speckles, fibers, and patterns, hand-dyed with love instead of by machines. It sparkles, it glows with neon, it’s silky, it’s fabulous.
3. You want something gorgeous, modern and one-of-a-kind? No need to stand in line at a sample sale—you made it yourself and nobody else has it. Also, it’s amazing for your self confidence! You made this! You powered through mistakes! You practiced that one stitch so hard until you got it right, didn’t give up, and now you are WEARING SOMETHING YOU MADE, you rockstar!
4. Speaking of which, in the age of “bespoke” fashion and conscious consumerism, your friends will love your handmade gifts. (Obviously, your single friend who’s very pro-equal rights wants a pussy hat, not a baby blanket.)
5. We know how to use Instagram, Facebook, Etsy, SnapChat, Twitter, and other tools to find, follow, contact, and navigate the world of knitters, dyers, and designers to deepen our understanding of what the heck we’re doing, get better at it, and get inspired. Also, we know how to search for sales and promo codes.
6. YouTube. You can learn almost anything, and if you need help, there is truly nothing like the women of the Internet to help you. I created my own Facebook help group specifically for people who have questions and people who like answering them. It’s an amazing place.
7. We’re the “cause generation” that want to support companies doing good and respecting the environment. There are designers who donate a portion of proceeds from specific garment patterns to charity, who use social media to speak out on social issues, and companies like Zen Yarn Garden that adopt “green” practices.
8. It’s not done ON a screen, but you can still use a screen. We often turn to our phones to fidget and pass the time, but picking up knitting instead is a lot healthier—it’s less distraction and more mindful practice. It can also take the place of nervous fidgeting and unnecessary snacking while watching TV or a movie at home.
9. It opens up a whole new way to socialize and make new friends as an adult, young or older, whether its online or in person—this is really, really hard the older you get!
One thing is certain when it comes to the art of hand dyeing - nothing is certain.
No matter how much you try to control each and every part of the process with precise measuring and technique, the unexpected and the natural and random laws of physics will always find a way to factor in.
If you’re new to knitting, chances are, you’ve asked a question, or expressed a frustration, and someone said, “You’re the boss of your own knitting.” And you went…”Well yeah, who else is doing the knitting?”