Contemporary hobby knitting: the preservation and reinvention of traditional craft

Patch, Rosie (2007) Contemporary hobby knitting: the preservation and reinvention of traditional craft. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Knitting today is a hobby activity that provides knitters with a sense of connectedness with their families' past and of participating in a fundamental element of their culture. Knitting's existence in contemporary popular culture demonstrates the widespread desire in Western society to make links with an idealized past. This thesis is based on interviews with ten knitters, in St. John's, Newfoundland, analysis of the objects they produce and observations of a regular gathering of knitters. -- This study has found, knitters emphasize the importance of the act of knitting, as well as the importance of producing functional objects. Contemporary hobby knitters preserve tradition by continuing to use the same techniques as have a long tradition of use in their families and their communities. However, knitters strive to make hand knit objects functional for today's users by conforming to contemporary fashion trends and using modern materials. Migrating away from, and back to, Newfoundland has had the effect of solidifying some knitters' sense of knitting as symbolic of Newfoundland culture. Knitting also offers today's frequently migrating urbanites comfort by providing a sense of belonging to a universal culture that goes beyond the sense of belonging to a particular place or time. Furthermore, the contemporary phenomenon of knitting as a hobby reflects the strength of the knitting tradition in Newfoundland, despite the influence of external culture, such as printed patterns, and hobby knitters today contribute to the evolution of Newfoundland knitting. My aim is to discover how women today are using traditional knowledge as a force for social change.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11218
Item ID: 11218
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 142-145).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 2007
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Knitters (Persons)--Social networks--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Knitting--Social aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's.

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