To Nancy Baur, knitting is just another subculture full of people who want to create fiber art.
Baur teaches a knitting class called Socks n’ Stuff at ARTS/West during which she gives hands-on instructions and support needed to complete different projects and learn new skills. So far, the classes have knitted things such as towels, hats, cup cozies and socks.
With the new technologies of the world, it doesn’t seem possible for the pastime of knitting to still be around today, but knitting is still a growing practice.
“The socialization aspect of knitting is still a huge thing,” Baur said. “There’s a whole online universe full of people who knit and share their projects with others.”
Ravelry.com is like Facebook for knitters, Baur said. The site functions as an organizational tool for a variety of fiber arts including knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving.
“Along with Ravelry a lot of professional knitters have blogs,” Baur said. “There’s this connection factor with knitting where people from all over can trade different yarns and share the really cool things they’re working on.”
Janet Gustafson, an Athens resident, believes technology is actually beneficial to her as a knitter.
“The internet is very helpful when I get confused on how to knit something,” Gustafson said. “YouTube has become my best friend in my knitting process.”
Gustafson has been knitting since she was in third grade and regularly attends Baur’s knitting classes.
“When I was younger I went to a Catholic school where the nuns would teach us a few things here and there about knitting,” Gustafson said. “I take this class because Nancy teaches me things that the nuns never did.”
The skills Gustafson learned from Baur have helped her create projects that she ends up gifting away to others.
“Sometimes I enjoy giving away what I make. It just depends how they turn out,” Gustafson said. “I just knitted a pair of fingerless gloves that I was going to give to my daughter-in-law, but I liked them so much I kept them for myself.”
Nadine Borovicka, co-instructor of Socks n’ Stuff, learned to knit when she was about 10 years old. Borovicka found that she enjoyed knitting because handmade items are so undervalued.
“There’s just something about saying ‘I made this’ that makes handmade projects so great,” Borovicka said.
Although it’s nice to knit your own socks, Borovicka acknowledges that buying products in a store is 100 percent cheaper than making them.
“Just one ball of yarn can cost $26, and that’s only one pair of socks right there,” Borovicka said.
Despite how expensive knitting is, it’s a great way for knitters to show off their skills, Borovicka said.
“One of the more popular things to knit are shawls,” Borovicka said. “Some people are able to knit really complicated lace and bead patterns into them.”
The knitting culture is plenty strong, and Baur does not see it going away anytime soon.