A Dying Art? Like Hell It Is.

11 May 2010

The Shetland Islands Council announced last week that they intend to save 130,000 pounds a year by removing knitting lessons from the school curriculum (thank you, Judith, for bringing this to my attention).  The full story from the Shetland News is here.

Every knitter knows the contribution that the Shetland Islands has made, and still makes, to this craft.  Which is why I found it odd that one of their local Councillors should claim that “knitting is a dying art”. 

That’s the sort of comment we all get often from the man/woman in the street as we’re rushing around from one knitting group to another, as we’re drooling over the yarns being produced by some wonderful new indie-dyers and as I’m organising WWKIP in Sydney where I imagine the age range of those attending will be roughly 20-70.  Most of the knitters I know in Sydney are under the age of 45.  A lot are under 30. 

I’m constantly amazed by the work that is being produced by young knitters who didn’t grow up in a household of knitters but who came to it themselves as young adults.   They’re trying new ways of doing things and I’ve learnt so much from them.  I no longer assume that the way I was taught was the RIGHT way – it was just the way my mother and grandmother knitted.  One of the things I love about knitting is that there’s always something new to learn just around the corner.  (Last week I was shown how to produce single row stripes without having to use 4 balls of yarn for instance). 

So knitting certainly isn’t dying in my neck of the woods.  Please don’t let it die in the Shetland Islands. 


  1. .. because if something is dying (like, on the edge of extinction) one might as well just let it? darn that old mother nature! what can you do?

    (of course, i don’t agree that knitting is dying out.)

    some many years ago i heard a remark made by an aging(*) local councillor that no-one had to worry about logging in a particular reserve because they were maintaining the parking areas as lookouts at the most appropriate ‘beauty spots’.


    (*) no apologies for pointing out his agedness. old in years and attitude. one would have hoped it had all died out decades ago. looks like it didn’t.

  2. One would think if it’s on the ‘going extinct’ list it should become a ‘protected species!’
    I’ve been knitting for 4 years, and i’m only 25!!

  3. Certainly not dying in my neck of the woods either!

  4. Hey…I want to know that stripe trick!

  5. On my way to read the article.
    Hope you are feeling well… (looks like you are)

  6. I’ve just read the piece in the Shetland News and it sounds to me as though the saving isn’t £130,000 a YEAR, but over several years.

    This idea could be copied by every local authority of an area with a specialist cultural expertise. Nottingham could tell lacemakers to sling their hooks, Staffordshire introduce a rule that only plastic mugs can be used in schools, Axminster Council say that laminate flooring is the way forward….

    The scope for savings is immense.

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