Knitting and....Watching (Netflix or otherwise)

The author of a recent article making the rounds on FB meant well, I'm sure. Probably the article was assigned by the editor and was merely a matter of deadline, rather than personal interest or information. So, with that assumption I can forgive the amazing lack of depth in this bit of news that isn't really news.

Knitters have been knitting and watching things since before the days of Netflix or even the days of television. Before "binge-watching" entered the lexicon, some of us would even spend hours in front of things like TCM's Summer Under the Stars; sporting events like the Super Bowl, World Series, Olympics; or catching marathons of our favorite throw-back sitcoms on TBS. I realize this admission might date me as an older knitter and maybe the intent of that article was to make knitting seem to be more hip than is commonly thought (do young adults still use the phrase "hard core"? I wonder...). I'll grant that the relative hipness of knitting has ebbed and flowed over the course of its history. It is that very history, ignored by the author, that shows how little research was conducted for the piece.

In this country during WWII (ancient history, I know, since anything that happened before The Walking Dead is considered unimportant), knitting was embraced by young adults and encouraged as a positive way to help during that global crisis. Etiquette guidelines of the day admonish knitters to be respectful of others when they are knitting at the movies or during speeches, plays or concerts, because they were expected to carry on their knitting no matter the situation.  The etiquette of knitting while watching something has been an issue for hundreds of years, in fact. 

Knitting as a way to stay occupied is nothing new either. When I first took it up I spent a lot of time waiting for my daughter during dance lessons, and since this was before the era of smart phones, knitting became my time-filler. I knit so much during lessons that if other parents saw me without my needles they would ask if I was alright. There was also that brief flirtation with knitting at long, rush hour stop lights while driving, but we won't go into that now...

And what about those Netflix socks? That was an easy link to include and the original article failed us there. Maybe it was because there was technical know-how involved...the sock knitting is just the first step. The second step involves an accelerometer and a soldering iron. (I kid you not.) Maybe the author was so astounded at the young people of today doing something other than just watching copious amounts of TV that the thought of them building electronics was too much to take. The folks I know in the generations younger than mine are pretty darn clever--not sure who that author has been hanging out with.

And lastly, I disagree with the statement that the trend of knitting while watching TV (via Netflix or anything else for that matter) is a) A trend, or b) Unexpectedly on the rise. It's all been around for decades and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Back in 2006 I made this list of knitting seen in movies that I watched while knitting. That was 10 whole years ago. I'm pretty sure Netflix was just a DVD by mail service in those dark days. Also see this and this.

The bottom line? Netflix and knit is not a cultural phenomenon nor is it anything new. If anything it's free publicity for the streaming service and that's good. Maybe now they can afford to acquire more seasons of The Great British Baking Show.  I, for one, have a scarf to finish.  

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