Is Knitting So Rustic?

I get this from time to time (or all the time), and the chances that you will experience something similar is almost a given once people find out you knit.

For anybody that is an active knitter and crocheter it is just part of the territory and you are bound to draw the scrutiny of people who just don’t get it. Knitting is somehow rustic, old, and un-hip. It was something that their grandmother might have done, but they don’t have any interest in. And while this might be true, my grandmother was definitely a knitter, it doesn’t mean that you have to be old to get enjoyment from knitting.

Rustic What?

The idea that knitting is somehow only done by people in the country, those that speak with accents that include words like y’all and what have you is nonsense. Sure knitting is more of a rustic pastime, but it doesn’t mean that it is only rustic.

In fact there are plenty of uses for knitting that are super hip. And if you are looking to set some trends then there are only a few ways that are better than knitting your own pieces of apparel. Still there will be people that pigeonhole you. They will think of you sitting alone in your rocker (I have a couch) petting their cat (yeah, I have a cat) crocheting granny squares. Heck, if they don’t know you personally they will probably picture you in all of this rustic splendor and you will be old. Maybe they will picture you with white curly hair with a fresh perm. If you’re lucky they’ll give you something to drink. It will probably be served in a mason jar sitting next to you on some little stand with a doily under it.

Now, if that is the idea you have I want you to shake it out of your mind.

This can’t be any further from the truth, and in fact the the knit looks like the knitter, at least in the context of the patterns you’ll be choosing. That doesn’t mean that you will be creating lifelike replicas of yourself in wool yarn (stay away from the acrylic blends they are harder to work with).

A rustic look will only “happen” if you want it to happen. And trust me it is more challenging than you might think. Granny squares and afghans are all fine and good. But to be honest I haven’t done anything like that since I got out of my beginner stage. They are things you’ll try when you’re learning the ropes (or yarns) and unless you have a specific taste for them you probably won’t try your hand at them ever again.

When you look for projects try and find ones that you could see yourself buying.

That is to say, if you are looking for patterns and you find one that you would purchase in a store then it is a good bet that it suites your personality. If you are into the rustic lifestyle the knits you choose will probably be more country than if you are into urban street wear. Each to their own.

There are many examples of both on on places like ravelry but lion brand also has a lot of good options to choose from as well.

So Why Rustic?

As I said people tend to have an aversion when it comes to knitting and this carries over to crocheting. A friend of mine was teased for years by her husband and father about her hand craft. Names like granny all come with the territory. Still if you can shake the feeling of being pigeonholed into the country rustic lifestyle and that might make you feel older than your years there is a whole world of fun waiting for you.

And is rustic so bad? While I can’t see myself being a country girl I can still appreciate the aesthetic in certain pieces.

Shabby chic is one of them.

A lot of people tend to see shabby chic in a rustic boho light. And I agree there is a lot of inspiration taken from the more rural backdrop. You can see this in things like the rustic fall collection that galet released. They used a lot of knitted pieces in their photos that blended a shabby chic or boho style together with the overall rustic theme that they were going for. I was commissioned for two of the pieces.

I think that a lot of the overall bias comes from a time when people needed to make most if not all of their own clothes. This was a time when knitting wasn’t a hobby but it was a way of life. This way of life slowly disappeared and what was left was this idea that people only used to knit because a.) they had to and b.) there wasn’t anything else. The idea of grandma sitting there knitting doilies on the rocker was one that is burned into a lot of people’s minds. I’m not sure where they get the imagery but it is definitely there.

Thankfully that simply isn’t true. People of every age (and gender) and walk of life enjoy knitting. It is relaxing and it give them a sense of having completed something. What that something is is up to the hands that are doing the work.

And I would love to see what your next piece looks like.