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View Full Version : Does knitting run in the blood?


Irishmam
07-24-2009, 05:09 AM
From what I have read, many of you were taught to knit by your mother or grandmother. My darling mother would have rather chopped off her hand than knit (too many years of being forced to knit in her convent education and being slapped on the back of the hand if she got it wrong) and I was taught by YouTube/KnittingHelp videos.

However, this week we have been visiting my aunts and discovered one is a fantastic and hugely talented (oh the lace work) knitter so obviously it seems to run in our blood. She was facinated, and very amused, to discover I had taken up knitting and gave me a quick masterclass.

Do you think knitting is an inherited passion or is it just learned?

Irishmam

globaltraveler
07-24-2009, 07:39 AM
I vote for learned, but I think a propensity for creativity through handicrafts is inherited. My mother hated handcrafts, probably partially from having to work in a sweatshop in Chinatown as a girl. Her mother also worked in the sweatshop but liked it, as it was her social outlet. My father's mother taught be to crochet, but no one could teach me to knit, although my mother's mother showed me how to do the stitches. It never took until the beginning of this year, though.

I do think we inherit the hand-eye coordination, a tendency towards creativity in crafts and arts, and other things that go into making a good crafter, though. It doesn't mean you'll be a good one unless one chooses to work at it, of course (which is the craft part of the art), and amplify on your creative ability.

ETA: did your aunt show you how to Magic Loop? :)

mathwizard
07-24-2009, 08:13 AM
I think it is part blood and creativity. I do lots of crafts which my mother didn't teach me. I got knitting and crochet from her. Now I got my 6'3" son to make something for his dad one year for Christmas and my youngest had to do a sewing project in school(he is turning out to be an excellent chef) and my oldest could care less except if he is the recipient of home made items. No creativity for him at all. The sewing project was a coin purse which I use to store my heads phones. He gave it to me and I love it but use it for what I needed.

newamy
07-24-2009, 10:15 AM
Interesting idea which I actually have thought about. I think the general interest in some sort of needlework may be "in the blood" but not necessarily craft specific.

My mother sewed, and went through a 5-6 year latch hook phase...oh the rugs and pillows! I learned to latch hook and also to needlepoint about that time..none of it stuck however. (Thank goodness latch hook didn't stick!)

My grandmother on my mother's side sewed often and beautifully. I still have doll clothes she made for me. She sewed clothes for me as well. When she traveled she brought her embroidery with her... a nice small portable project you see..like a sock.

I learned to knit here on Knitting Help. I can sew some having learned as a child and even taking sewing in high school but I don't consider myself and expert at all. I like the knitting better which I only learned three and a half years ago.
But I love learning about historical needle work of any type...adore Peicework magazine from Interweave...must get a subscription. I think I am interested in the historical bit because we have a few hand made family heirlooms, special quilts, hand tatted lace on napkins and pillows from a few generations back. Hand made doll clothes for old family dolls.

When I learned to knit I checked around in the family and found that on my dad's side he had some aunts that crocheted, but not his mom. I did not know her well maybe she at least sewed some? My mom cannot knit but I found out both her sisters can knit thought neither one has progressed much beyond scarves and blanket squares. One of my aunts is an avid quilter. I also learned that my grandfather on my mothers side knew how to knit, learned as a boy, but it wasn't a life long hobby.

Also some people think of knitting or crochet as being "crafty". I don't consider myself crafty and often am very surprised to find myself in craft stores looking at yarn. Before I knitted I rarely went to the crafts store and then only for a specific something for a kid project or what have you. I don't scrap book, bead, or make things...I don't like those "crafty" activities. (I know many on this board do and many make beautiful and wonderful things) In my mind the knitting falls in the needlework category and isn't crafty...unless I am knitting a toy or something silly that requires embellishments like embroidery and buttons.

Jan in CA
07-24-2009, 10:24 AM
My paternal grandmother knit and my mother could sew well, knit a little and did a little embroidery, but I don't actually remember them doing it. I only have a few results around for proof. My mom taught me to sew, but I taught myself knitting.

luvmykid28
07-24-2009, 11:41 AM
Also some people think of knitting or crochet as being "crafty". I don't consider myself crafty and often am very surprised to find myself in craft stores looking at yarn. Before I knitted I rarely went to the crafts store and then only for a specific something for a kid project or what have you. I don't scrap book, bead, or make things...I don't like those "crafty" activities. (I know many on this board do and many make beautiful and wonderful things) In my mind the knitting falls in the needlework category and isn't crafty...unless I am knitting a toy or something silly that requires embellishments like embroidery and buttons.

I acompletely relate to that statement. I didn't even pay attention to Joann's, Hobby Lobby or Michaels unitl I started to knit. I even had to call a friend to find out where these stores where located. LOL Now I know where they are in all the surrounding area. And when I go on road trips I look them up as well as the LYS in the destination city.

My grandmother and aunt did crosstictch and sewed. My mom apparently knew how to knit, but I think she "had" to learn and I was surprised when she picked up my needles to try to show me the purl st. She could remember if she was purling or knitting. She was surprised she even could still work the needles. She said it had been at least 50 years. She is very creative, but not at all crafty. She is an amazing and well recognized interior designer.

...To add to my thoughts cause I was interupted by DH.
When I actually learned to knit. I just knew that this was what I should be doing. I felt total uphoria. I have never stuck with any other hobby as I have this one. I just can't get enough of knitting.

Sunshine's Mom
07-24-2009, 11:46 AM
Both of my grandmothers did handcrafts. My maternal grandmother did mostly crochet work (we all usually got great slippers at Christmas, which I now appreciate so much more for the work that went into them and am embarrassed that I ever thought or felt "Ugh, not another pair of slippers!" Shame on me and apologies to you, Mim. I know you're crocheting happily in Heaven!). Unfortunately, I never sat at her knee and asked her to teach me. I wasn't interested.

My paternal grandmother did a lot of crewel (spelling correctly?) work and trapunto, I do remember her either knitting or crocheting. The only thing I learned from her was to, as we always called it, "make hangars". You would take 2 wire hangers that matched up as good as you can, tape them together, then wrap and knot yarn around them. It's really easy and makes nice, bulkier hangers.

It was this that I was doing when I decided that I wanted to do something else with yarn and bought a kit and a book and taught myself to knit. With help from this site and loads of trial and error I've found my hobby and my niche with sock-making.

Although my mom never learned to crochet from her mom, she did do a lot of crewel work and she was very good at it. But, she believes I got the knitting bug from Mim and tells me that she would be very impressed with me and having taught myself. That makes me feel really good.

I think my vote is for nature over nurture. You're either born to love yarn or not.

mwhite
07-24-2009, 11:49 AM
Actually, I think it's probably the dexterity that is inherited. All of my maternal or paternal relatives were involved in some form of handiwork....woodwork, needlework, sewing.....just good use of their hands. I have always enjoyed the needlearts, have two sisters that are great detail cooks, a brother that is heavy into rocks and geology. Mother is a crocheter and great cook, Daddy was a dairy farmer who was gifted in animal husbandry.

I can see it in my son, who's terrific at working on motors from electronics/electrical to major components and daughter is a soon-to-be-RN....she is great with all of those tiny medical gadgets...needles/IV's. Hand/brain/eye coordination is a wonderful gift to have and I like to think that their father and I along with all of our relatives passed this onto them.

Vertigo1414
07-24-2009, 02:12 PM
i can kind see that, my maternal grandmother crocheted but my mom isn't into needle work at all. she did do a lot of craft projects when i was younger though, she made great wreaths out of mussel shells and stenciled some great furniture.

ETA: My paternal grandmother knits, crochets, did wood work, does embroidory, you name it she can make it.

globaltraveler
07-24-2009, 02:17 PM
I think it's a bit sad that "crafty" has lost its connection with "craftsman" or "craftswoman", actually. "Crafty" these days seems to resound with echoes of knitting your own tofu, which is a shame, given that being a "craftsperson" should be an accolade.

stitchabit
07-24-2009, 03:44 PM
My grandfather did crochet. My mother, grandmother and aunt did not crochet or knit:?? . My sister taught me to knit when I was somewhere between 6-8 years of age.
It is interesting to think about. I have delved (:?? not sure that is exactly the word I want here) into sewing , counted cross stitch, crochet, knitting and some other crafts. However, my mother did none of these things. I only remember her reading after work at night or during her free time and then that was mostly the newspaper. She did not really start reading books until she retired. It is sad to look back now and realize I don't remember her really doing anything for enjoyment when she worked - just worked- came home - read the paper-watched a little tv and then went to bed. My mom died this past December and it seems that I am now just getting to know her.

globaltraveler
07-24-2009, 03:46 PM
Aw. Don't feel bad about that, Rose. That's often the case for many people, actually.

newamy
07-24-2009, 05:25 PM
I think it's a bit sad that "crafty" has lost its connection with "craftsman" or "craftswoman", actually. "Crafty" these days seems to resound with echoes of knitting your own tofu, which is a shame, given that being a "craftsperson" should be an accolade.

I think you are right the wording is all in the context and what one associates with that. Some people think "hand made" or "hand knitted" sounds better than "home made". Interesting really.

Years ago, before I began knitting, I painted my daughters room and stamped flowers on the wall...one of my few forays into a craft store at the time. A friend saw it and said "I didn't know you were crafty!" At the time I didn't know I was either, still don't really think so, it was just decorating and making something nice for my daughter.

Irishmam
07-25-2009, 07:05 AM
Goodness what a response!

I am interested by how many other people have gone back through their history to wonder as I did. Of course, it also depends on the culture you came from. I have a photograph of my maternal grandmother (Irish) and her siblings from circa 1910. They are all wearing matching pinafores and I was informed that their own mother had sheared their own sheep, spun the yarn, weaved the cloth, cut and sewn the pinafores and knitted the socks - for 9 children!!!!! And I consider going to Pennys had work cos I have to drive for an hour.

Zina - my Aunt laughed at me and the Magic Loop and said she could never work circular needles either and said she would teach me to use DPNs next time we call - maybe that is more evidence of some genetic/blood relationship with knitting?

Rose - my own Mum passed away 12 years ago and I only began to understand her when I became a mother. My holiday this week was staying at the house where she grew up (her brother still lives there) I could practically see and smell her there.

I wonder would some University in the world let me do a thesis on this topic- I have lots of material already!

Knitting_Guy
07-25-2009, 10:05 AM
Perhaps the inclination towards such work may run in the family, but the specifics are obviously learned. Many of my male ancestors in Ireland were master knitters prior to the industrial revolution although as far as I know none of my contemporary male relatives are involved in such work. A number of them are artists, musicians, etc. so perhaps it's an artistic inclination?

Crycket
07-25-2009, 10:08 AM
I knit, my mother knit, my grandmother knit...but my sister will/can not.

I have a friend that wants me to knit for her...cause she "just can't seem to get the hang of it..." She is adopted, and her adoptive parents do not knit...but we don't know about her birth mother...so...maybe there is something to it!

globaltraveler
07-25-2009, 11:25 AM
maybe that is more evidence of some genetic/blood relationship with knitting?

Nah, my bet is it's just unfamiliarity. I still think if you and I were in the same room, I could show you how to do it in under 60 seconds.

Mommy22alyns
07-25-2009, 12:47 PM
My mom doesn't know how to knit, but she's always been very handicrafty. Growing up and seeing that a lot kept me interested in it. I wanted to learn to knit specifically because it was the one thing my multitalented mom couldn't do. A worthy goal. Now both of my girls see me knitting and crocheting and keep saying how much they want to learn. :)

melmac51
07-28-2009, 02:57 PM
Both of my grandmothers crocheted and embroidered. As far as I know, neither one of them knitted. My mother tried embroidery (probably to please them), but didn't stick with it. She also tried something called "mod podge" back in the '60s. We all took ceramic classes, but that was too expensive. My mom neither knitted nor crocheted. I learned to crochet from a neighbor lady's teenage sister. I learned to knit from a school friend. I taught myself to do crewel and counted cross stitch. As you can see, needlecrafts are my favorite pastimes.

I have two daughters. They're both creative, but neither one is interested in knitting or crocheting. My younger daughter learned to knit, but not by me. A friend taught her. She likes knowing how, but would much rather draw, paint, or cook. She's very good at all of those. My older daughter tried to learn to crochet, but didn't have the patience. She too is very good at drawing and painting. She loves to cook and bake. For awhile, she dabbled in beading.

My husband is a very creative person too. He likes to draw, but his best talent, artistically, is woodworking.

I think it's a little of both nature and nurture.

cftwo
07-28-2009, 03:41 PM
All of my sisters do fiber arts (knitting/crocheting/sewing/quilting/tatting/etc)

My mom and both of her sisters do fiber arts of various kinds

my maternal grandmother was quite the quilter and made needle lace. I THINK she knit, but I don't know for sure. She was into other things by the time I knew her well

my maternal grandmother's mother got a certificate from a correspondence school in some sort of fiber art. I have some of her tatting. My mom has some of her crocheted lace.

my maternal grandfather's mother did needlepoint, IIRC

My paternal grandmother did needlepoint and knitting and crocheting. My cousins on my dad's side either do or did these things, too. I assume that my cousin's mom (and grandmother's daughter) also did these at some point.

I have some of the embroidery my paternal grandfather's mother did.

But when these things are around to play with, and they seem like the normal thing to do, I think the line between nature and nurture is quite blurred. That we all keep doing these things suggests that nature has a hand in it, but whether we would have found these things without nurture is questionable.

(My father is his own kind of artist - has done some beautiful woodwork, and now writes poetry.)

nemaent
07-29-2009, 08:43 PM
My grandmother was a terrific knitter and had some project going on at all times, as I do.

My mom, however, couldn't knit at all no matter how many times she tried. She often used a heating pad to soothe her bunched up muscles after yet another attempt.

She didn't give up, though, and 10 years ago, she took a knitting course. She is now able to make......washcloths. That's all she makes and has never tried anything else.

I don't mean to be disparaging -- she is such a great lady and so talented in so many areas (she can sew anything -- including our underwear, swimsuits, and a wool suit for my brother, to name a few.

So it definitely skipped a generation! I, on the other hand, am a fairly good knitter, but can't sew...... in site of mom's NUMEROUS attempts to teach me..... Funny, huh?

blueygh2
07-29-2009, 09:13 PM
I'm not sure I can answer to this, I was adopted.
My mother used to knit and crochet, my adoptive mother.

She stopped somewhen, I don't know exactly when.
I tried crochet first, and I could do chains. For everything else, my chains were too tight.

I asked about knitting at some point, I was still very young, and she taught me. But I forgot it soon after.

Then I picked it up again, years later. My sister showed me how to do it, and from there I learned with youtube and knittinghelp.

albertpollard
08-01-2009, 11:01 PM
I think that we being made in the image of God, have the NEED to create, be creative, craft. The FORM doesn't matter it is all an expression of the need to make something beautiful.
The ability to take raw materials and MAKE something is a wonderful gift. Sometimes it expresses itself in ways we consider bad (Some of the Tag artistry you see is actually quite beautiful, watch a line of boxcars go by sometime). Some of it may seem strange or unusual due to the materials used.
So, I believe that creativity is inherited from our creator, sometimes one generation may ignore the call...but it's still there.
Just my two cents worth.