Why Web 2.0 Has Invigorated Knitting Like Never Before

In this essay, I will discuss why knitting is more popular than ever and how Web 2.0 has been a key enabler for this latest revival.

What the heck is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 is a marketing term for any new web based approach or technology which enables the “collective intelligence” through “user driven content”. 

Now this definition may sound like something you might see in a Business Week article, so what does it really mean? 

Web 2.0 is a term which categorizes such technologies and terms as blogging or blogosphere, podcasting, and web communities.  It has been sparked by the engagement of users through such things as meetup.com, myspaces.com, PodDaddy Adam Curry’s his podcast and many other sites on the web.  The latest approach to Web 2.0 is in the combination of these technologies called mashups to enable anyone to speak or write on a topic and engage in discussion with others all across the web.  This is what is termed the “collective intelligence” through “user driven content”.

What does Web 2.0 have to do with knitting?

Obviously knitting has been around centuries before anyone even imagined that bits and bytes would one day drive the universe.   The origin of knitting is still not clearly traced.  However, there are points in history where knitting became a key to driving economic change to various communities in many countries.  For example, hand knitted stockings during the Elizabethan Era in the Britons drove the sheep and wool trade which enabled farmers to sustain a living. This created an entire trade community  in Scotland and other countries centered around knitting usually primarily whom were men.   Other later examples include the Orenburg lace knitting communes in Russia, Shetland Lace knitting from Unst, and Fair Isle knitting from Scotland.

The industrial revolution changed a lot of this once the knitting machine had been invented and later widely used to produce and export clothing from these countries.  However, at various points in history since then, knitting became popular especially during war times when “knitting for the troupes” and other occasions popularized the idea of knitting by hand.  During the 1950’s and 1960’s, as new materials for yarn became available and high fashion returned, hand knitting again had a resurgence, however, died down again until recently.

Even given these points in history, knitting was never as popular as it is today, especially in the US and Canada.  Although some would say that the popularity was sparked by celebrity knitting, there may be more merit to being related to the events of September 11th, 2001 when many people turned back to crafts and home oriented projects when travel seemed troublesome. 

Why is it that knitting is sustaining and even growing in popularity?  

Some would say,  due to the availability of thousands of new yarns and knitting patterns that knitting is continuing to be popular.  They would partly be right.  The manufacturers and designers however, would not keep selling, and creating if there wasn’t a market to sell these yarns and patterns to.  The most likely reason for the continued popularity is that blogging, web communities, discussion groups and podcasting have brought together knitters from all over the world to share  photos, discuss the latest patterns, share their discouragements and successes and have the very biggest and ongoing “Show and Tell” possible.  This has enabled every knitter to have a new project idea every 15 minutes, driving their desire to build up stash and chat with others about all the possibilities that knitting affords.

This phenomenon is not just on the internet either.  Knitting Meetups happen all over the world.  Knitting guilds and “Stitch & Bitch” sessions are happening every day in various cities and communities.  “Knit & Crochet Outs” and “Knit in Public” days are scheduled annually in cities around the world and tens of thousand attendees are swarming to these events in hopes of seeing what others have done and what is the latest trend.  Conferences, knitting camps and cruises are bringing knitters and vendors together in exciting locations which are changing knitters’ vacation spot choices.

Podcasters and bloggers even spurred on others to “Knit for their Country” during the 2006 Olympics and the International Soccer Tournaments, bringing the spirit of competitiveness while spurring on knitters to learn new things and complete projects.  (Of course this crowd of folks doesn’t need an excuse to complete a project!)

Knitting Knitalongs and meetups have also sparked knitters to knit for charities and causes.  Afghans for Afghans, RedSweaters.org, Premie Caps, Chemo Caps and countless others have brought knitters together to give of their art for helping others and remembrance of their cause.

As the internet continues to mature and the collective intelligence continues to grow, many other hobbies and crafts will continue flourishing because groups of people now have a place and people to engage with and discuss their experiences, keeping these topics fresh and new everyday.  Instead of the public relying on books, magazines and trade journals to find out the latest, now Mary in Mississippi can ask Inga in Germany about the latest Herbert Niebling Lace pattern that just showed up on ebay and whether she can help her translate the 1930’s pattern from German to English!

So keep blogging, podcasting and posting your pictures!  The more we do, the more opportunities to find to knit on……

What are your thoughts on this subject?  I’m interested in your comments.




I used to be afraid of putting my knitting in the washing machine!

For many years of being a knitter/crocheter, I used to be appalled at felting.  Why would I spend a long time knitting something just to destroy it by throwing it in the wash!

Well last year, I saw the Market Squares Bag in the Bags: A Knitter’s Dozen and I was entrigued by the chance to try out entrelac as I always thought it was an interesting way to create a multicolored knit with a unique angle.  Well it is felted.  I thought further on it and realized that this would be a great way to learn entrelac and if the picked up stitches didn’t look quite right then it wouldn’t matter much because the stitch definition would be pretty much gone after the felting.  So I gave it a shot.  (2 new techniques in one project! )

Entrelac is done by casting on making triangles with short rows and making small squares by picking up stitches along the edge of the initial triangles.  This is what makes the squares look like diamond shapes.

After making the Market Squares bag, I found a pattern called Booga Bag on the web and I altered the pattern a little in order to make it big enough to carry my large projects in.


IMG_0071 IMG_0072 

The entrelac bag was knitted with 5 different colors of Paton’s Wool on size 9 needles.  It is started at the top edge with a hem and each row of sqares gets smaller and smaller until you end up with a small ring pulled closed at the bottom.  Handles are 6 stitch i-cord.  All thrown in the wash in a mesh bag with an old set of sheets on hot with high agitation and then within a few minutes (really just 5-8 minutes) pull it out rinse and block.  I had to shave the bag after it was dried, because I put a towel in not knowing that towels will shed.  SO NEVER PUT FELTING ITEMS WITH TOWELS IN THE WASH.

The striped bag was actually really simple once I’d done the entrelac bag.  It is knitted on the bottom and handles with Reynolds Lopi and the body of the bag knitted in the round with Noro Big Kureyon.  Bottom was knitted on size 11 needles in garter stitch and the body on size 13 in the round.  I bound off the top with an i-cord edge which gave the bag a stronger border.  I don’t recommend the Lopi yarn for felting as the fibers really loosen up and make a mess in the washer.  The Kureyon is fantastic though!  Especially since it is self striping and you can make a great multi-colored item so easily with a great look.  After making this bag, I bought the Big Kureyon in 3 additional colors as I think these will make great gifts in the smaller size Booga Bag.

I’m working on a summery colored one now with Crystal Palace Iceland yarn but I will keep you all in suspence until I’ve finished knitting and felting it. 

Have you tried felting yet? Try it out with a small swatch and see what happens!

Even more beads!

I completely forgot that I had pictures of this project which I made for my mom for her birthday this past spring.

This bead crochet project was made on silk thread, with freshwater pearls, amethyst, rose quartz and amazonite.  It is approximately 18″ with a beautiful sterling silver ball clasp and 9mm cultured pearls on the sterling bead caps.

This project was interesting to thread as the rose quartz looked nearly clear which was unexpected.  Both this necklace and the turquoise one are 6 beads around in the pattern. 

I plan to try and make another one of these, however with half the number of flowers.  I think it will string faster and look better. 

More Beads!

I’ve taken some additional photos of recent projects.  I’m still horrible as a photographer, sometimes taking 20-30 pictures before something is in focus!  It’s a good thing that I have a day job….

This bead crochet rope necklace was done with silk thread, white jade, turquoise, and onyx 4mm beads to a pattern I got out of Patterns & Graphing for Bead Crochet Ropes by Judith Bertoglio-Giffin.  This very nice abstract design along with the turquoise reminded me so much of the trips we took to Santa Fe with the black etched pottery and turquoise jewelry made by the Native Americans in the region.


I don’t tend too wear much silver jewely so I opted to use the turquoise toggle clasp instead.   I think it adds a bit of interest to the piece.  Its approximately 18″ and it took about three 16″ strands of the semi-precious beads which I bought at NewYorkBeads in NYC.  It took me about 3 hours to actually crochet, however, many, many, many hours of stringing time due to the fact that I took this project on a plane trip to California and the strung beads ended up in a tangled mess during the security checkpoint and I spent many hours on that trip untangling the strung beads.

This other project, really started out as an effort in swatching. 

I had just prior completed a bead knitted purse in cotton and size 11 white beads when I spotted these lovely colored blue iris beads and thought how pretty they would look on this royal blue thread I had from a lace knit project.  The thread is 10/2 Tencel www.halcyonyarn.com and I hadn’t seen or heard of anyone doing a beaded knit bag with Tencel before so I decided to try it out to see if it would hold up.


The smaller picture although out of focus gives you a sense of the size of the purse.  When I finished knitting the purse, I checked www.lacis.com for a very pretty 2″ silvertone frame which I think works perfectly.

This was quite a fun project to knit.  I wasn’t so worried about screwing it up the way I did with the project before as I kept reminding myself that it was only a test.  The project was from the BagLady Press book http://www.baglady.com/PendantEtc2SUM.htm; the Sundance pattern.  This bag is about big enough to put a lipstick or a key in. 

My plan is to use these beads and thread in another project, so I bought 1/2 kilo of beads and already had the 2 spools of thread on hand.

As you can see, for the past several months I’ve been on something of a bead phase in my knitting.  I’ve certainly made many other things without beads which I’ll continue to post. 

I’m currently working on the Karabella Feather and Fan Top which has a modified Feather and Fan pattern using k4tog and k4togtbl.  Boy is that tough on the fingers.  I’m working in a 100% silk 2/5 Gemstone Silk dk weight yarn.  (Coincindentally also from Halcyon).  I’ve finished the front and I’m now working on the back.  In order to not jinx it, I won’t post pictures until its finished.

Until next time ……

I Am Totally Busy

I’ve been a pretty awful blogger of late.  Much too busy with all my projects and such.  I thought I would put my latest up here since I finally got a new camera with really great resolution.  It doesn’t make up for the lousy photographer I am, so please excuse me for being out of focus! 

Here is my just completed project.  It is knitted with 26 gauge gold filled wire and 5 different kinds of Swavorski crystals.  It was knitted on a size 4 bamboo needle across 3 stitches using garter stitch.  I purl when knitting with wire instead of knit as it is much easier to wrap the wire around the needle with purling.


It is actually the second necklace with wire and crystals which I have done in the past 2 weeks.  The other one was in rose, pale green and deep rose.  However, that one the beads were all the same shape.  I think this one is a little too dressy for work so I may make another one with more “casual” beads. 

I have completed many projects in the past six months which I will be posting over the next few weeks.  Now that I have the new camera, I’m going to try to get pictures of all these things and document how I made each item. 

Until next time…