Knitting – don’t let the Julia Gillard experience put you off

Don’t let the Julia Gillard experience put you off. Knitting seems to be a misogynistic put down in Australia but in fact it has a long and feisty history involving both sexes.

Sailors and fishermen were skilled knitters in traditional communities around England and Scotland and whole families knitted for a living.

Women knitters may have been given a bad rep by Madame Defarge and her fellow tricoteuses in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, but women in places like Norway, Guernsey and the Shetland Islands created beautiful and intricate work. In recent times it has been a man who inspired a new generation with intricate and colourful knitting patterns – Kaffe Fassett.

These days with the rise of stitch n bitch groups and yarn bombing there is a certain defiant attitude about knitting, despite television news often lingering on elderly women knitting during meetings as if it is something to be mocked.(Actually it is easy and productive to knit and listen to politicians burbling on). Knitting is a wonderfully social activity – you can knit and talk,  you can easily share tips and tricks and it’s highly portable.

Winter is the ideal time to get knitting – maybe share a box of wool in your staffroom and knit peggy squares or simple hats for children.If you want to be environmentally staunch you could knit a penguin jersey (instructions provided).

If you’ve got the time quite a few of our libraries hold Knit n Stitch sessions – just check our Classes and events calendar to see what is on each day.

Enter the world of geekcraft this winter

coverI recently got together with some friends to start an informal weekly craft group, or “stitch and  bitch” as one participant calls it. The cosy surroundings and good chat lends itself well to trying new things and meeting new people.

While these kind of groups are about socialising, some work does get done. It’s interesting to see what crafts people are into and at what level of skill they’re at.

So if you’re a  knitter, crocheter, jewellery maker – or are into other handcrafts – you may like some of our books on crafts. Our Internet Gateway recommends some great craft websites too.

CINCH, our community directory, lists local craft groups that you could attend.

Often we are looking for time out from our busy lives to do something just for ourselves. Consider starting your own craft group with your friends. No experience necessary.