The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Lost skills in fashion: Knitting

Perisha Kudhail gets woolly with knitting


The evolution of woolly clothes has gone from geek to chic and it seems that knitting still has to catch up. With this skill slowly becoming endangered, is it any surprise that knitting seems to be a lost fashion skill? We should celebrate knitting and bring it back into fashion! After all, you can make anything from scarves to socks without breaking the bank!

We caught up with Zoe, a knitting advocate, who recently finished a gorgeous cardigan.

What got you into knitting?

Well I found this book lying around the house, and in our house we make our own little Christmas gifts. So I decided to make these little woolly monsters, they were so cute and they came out really well.  After this I bought my own knitting needles and some wool and decided to make myself a cardigan.

How did it go?

Well it was a bit tricky at first, but with the help of this book and lots of practise I learnt new patterns and designs and got to work. A cardigan is a pretty big thing to start with, so it might be worth starting with something small, so you can practise patterns. It took me about 200 hours to complete this cardigan, but it was my first try and I kept coming back to it. With more practise I could feel myself getting speedier and before I knew it I had finished!

Photo: The Mancunion

Photo: The Mancunion

Photo: The Mancunion

Photo: The Mancunion

What would you recommend to people who want to start knitting?

Well set yourself a project that isn’t too tricky. If you start with something that won’t take up too much time and that you’ll actually wear, it’ll be really worthwhile. Once you’ve done a couple of small things, you can move onto something bigger and you get to wear it! There are two basic stitches that can pretty much make everything up and then you can take it from there. By using forums and Google, you can knit whatever you want.

What do you love about knitting?

I love the fact then when you finish working on your piece, it’s yours and there is no other replica of it because you designed it. When you get the knack of it, you can make small little gifts and great pieces of clothing for yourself for half the price than at the retailers. It might start off a bit fiddly, but once you get the hang of it you will have learnt a new skill that is useful and rare. I feel so great now that I’ve finished this cardigan and I can’t wait to start on my next piece of work. Step by step instructions are available all over the internet, so more people should get into it.

So why not try out a new hobby and bring back knitting! If you need some supplies to get you started, I recommend Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Get creative, get knitting!

  • Wendy

    “With this skill slowly becoming endangered, is it any surprise that knitting seems to be a lost fashion skill?” Did you do any research at all before writing this article? I should think that hand-knitting is less likely to become a lost skill now than at any time in its history. Search for ‘knitting’ on YouTube and you’ll get 1,030,000 results to get you started.

  • Has any research been done for the opening paragraph of this article or did you rely upon your own misconceptions and just string some words together?

    Knitting and crocheting have been booming for years – I should know – I run a successful, indie dye studio of knitting wool here in Manchester with a studio that is open to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays and run a very popular social group that meets on Saturdays.

    There are tons of knitters and crocheters in Manchester and guess what, we’re not all in the Northern Quarter. Knitting is very much alive and kicking and is definitely not a “skill becoming endangered.” Please feel free to pop in when the studio is open to see for yourself.

    ~ Lyndsey at Countess Ablaze Ltd

    (based in Swinton –

  • Sally Youn

    Um, am I missing something? It seems as though knitting, crochet, weaving, and other fiber arts have never been more popular, from the teeny tiny sweaters commissioned for the film Coraline (knit using small gauge wire and a magnifying glass) to that stunning cowl Jennifer Lawrence wore in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In the fashion world, knitwear continues to be a mainstay. Stella McCartney’s Fall 2015 show was filled with it.

    There are large communities of professional and hobby knitters worldwide who regularly share their work via social media sites such as Instagram or (which has added one million more members to their ranks over the last year alone). The amount of knitting patterns available online through sites like Etsy or Craftsy, or even through print periodicals such as VogueKnitting, continues to skyrocket. You can buy yarn of practically any type of fiber in every color of the visible spectrum. I would say that calling knitting a dying art would be akin to calling mosquitos a dying species…not in this century.

  • Kim Minshall

    I’m sorry but this is a terrible article! It’s badly written, the interviewee (sorry the ‘knitting advocate’ isn’t properly introduced (who is she? What background does she have? Why is she worthy of being interviewed? Surely someone who is qualified to discuss the craft would have been a better call?) Also the person who wrote the cadigan pattern isn’t identified. Which is terrible journalistic practice.
    There has never been a trendier time to be knitting, weaving or crocheting… Believe me! I run a very successful stitch and bitch group that has members who range in ages from 6-70 (most are in their teens, 20s & 30s.) There are small knitting related businesses popping up at an amazing rate.
    Younger people are using knitting and crochet as not just a hobby, but also a way to socialise and manage stress.
    If you had written this 20 years ago- it may have been relevant – but unfortunately it’s a pile of poo.

  • Pam Green

    Has the author of this article done any research ? Obviously not, knitting and crochet could not be more popular. You just need to look at sites like Ravelry to see how many knitters/ crocheters there are worldwide. Misconception is a dangerous thing… please in future do your research before publishing utter drivel.

  • Adzriel Rose

    I’m sorry, what book? Who is Zoe? What is the name of the pattern she used, and who designed it?

    There are thousands of knitting books available, a fact which should hint to you that knitting is not endangered at all. There are dozens of knitting magazines, and millions of knitting related websites, not to mention Ravelry, which is the primary resource for knitters, crocheters, weavers, and spinners (yes, all popular today too!) In fact these days no article on any fibre craft is really complete without a mention of Ravelry. Except that if you were aware of Ravelry at all, then you’d also have to know that the whole premise for your article is not just flawed, but outright wrong!

    In the words of one famous detective “Do your research.”

  • plumtown

    You definitely want to do a google for Ravelry, Youtube videos and tutorials, knitting blogs, knitting podcasts (which have thousands of viewers from across the globe), online book sellers (amazon, loveknitting, patternfish), as well as local knitting guilds and “stitching” groups which meet up weekly all over the world in pubs, cafes, libraries, and public parks. My daughter is a librarian and has been holding a weekly “sit and stitch” for years, where people bring their knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, cross stitch – you name it – and she helps (for free!) anyone who attends at whatever level they are. Google to see the massive “yarn bombing” that knitters and crocheters have done all over the world (including covering an entire bridge in Pittsburgh in knitting which was later washed and made into blankets for a local homeless shelter). Also look at craftsy, etsy, and more. It’s everywhere and as popular (if not moreso) than it ever was. :-) I’d love to see a follow up article after you’ve had the chance to dig into the enormous million member knitting community and see what you think. :-)