Crafting now cool: knitting for cause and pleasure

Knitting is so popular that some students even knit during lectures (Jacqueline Gallant/AQ)
Knitting is so popular that some students even knit during lectures (Jacqueline Gallant/AQ)

Ashley Rerrie learned to knit as a child from her grandmother. Last semester she brushed the dust off her needles when her friends took up the pass-time.

“I’m not sure why. For some of us it’s a combination of it being awesome to make your own clothes and not spend money on brands,” she says.

Knitting seems to be developing into more than just a pass time for some, representing anti-industrialism by reclaiming craftsmanship.

Others see it as a feminist action, changing perspectives about a formerly feminine hobby.

“For a couple of us it’s also a form of feminism in a way. It’s a way to reclaim crafting.”

Rerrie participates in a knitting club held downtown in Yarn on York every Thursday night. She says she is one of five regular young students that attend consistently.

“It’s awesome because it’s the kind of community that allows the younger generation to speak to the older,” she says.

She enjoys the opportunity to share her hobby with others.

St. Thomas University grad Andréa Peters agrees that some may use knitting as a form of feminism but she does not practice it for that reason.

“I know some people these days do knit to reclaim the craft form deemed so long ago as just a “hobby,” or a way to constrain women,” she says, “especially because knitting and other crafts were associated with the belief that women belonged in the kitchen, and that their only purpose was to bear and care for children.”

However, Peters is happy that women also feel empowered by the skill and creativity that come with knitting. Though she is a feminist and she enjoys knitting, Peters doesn’t really practice it for specific movements.

“I’ve always knitted, even when it wasn’t hip,” she says. “I’m not very good at it, so my interest is more in learning than in making a particular stance.”

For Rerrie, it is a life skill she will continue using later on.

“I don’t see why not. It’s so useful,” she says, “you can knit anything.”

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