Thursday May 23, 2024

Knitting in winters still a fruitful hobby

By Afshan S. Khan
December 24, 2023

Islamabad : As the old saying 'Stitch your stress away' comes in our minds when we see beautiful work of art hand knitted by our mothers and grandmothers. Our childhood memories reminiscence of the days when they used to sit on a comfortable arm chair for knitting sweaters with needles in sunlight in winters.

The basket full of colourful wools would attract children to play with it and feel the softness of the wool. Stitch by stitch, line by line, adorned with different colours keeps you busy and release from all the stress and worries. The result can be all satisfying and immensely rewarding as nothing can be more satisfying than creating your own hand crafted design of your own choice.

This representational image shows a woman Knitting a sweater. — Unsplash
This representational image shows a woman Knitting a sweater. — Unsplash

Be it grandfather, father, brothers or sons all used to wear the hand knitted-sweaters made by our grandmothers and mothers. This creative skill can still be seen occasionally in the family where middle aged and elderly women try their skills in knitting sweaters, shawls, booties, baby sweaters for their loved ones specially their grandchildren. In art and craft exhibitions in Islamabad there are many stalls of women selling their hand knitted products in the exhibition.

These exhibitions provide a great platform for them to exhibit their products and then sell it in good price. These ladies make sweaters, tea cozies, coasters, gloves, bedroom slippers, caps, scarves, etc. that sells quickly with good prices. Killing the winter laziness with this fruitful hobby consumes much time but gives good result with contentment that you have created something with your own hand. Knitting is done mostly by needles and crochet hook. The sizes and the material of the needles and hook according to your choice and requirement of the piece. Different types of yarns, needle sizes, and stitch types are used to achieve various knitted articles with different colours, texture and weight.

Yasmine Tahir, a grandmother who is very keen of knitting said that there are many who do business of these sweaters, cardigans, shawls, etc. but sadly no one attempts to make their own sweaters by their hands. “It is sad to know that this skill is not being transferred to our new generation. Due to lack of patience and time consuming hobby, our girls are reluctant to learn it. Even getting the wool from the lace shop was easy earlier, but now most of the lace shops have stopped stocking the wool in their shop", she said.

Saleha while talking to The News said that there is a shop in Aabpara market that keeps imported soft wool. Earlier, we used to get so much variety from the lace shops, even the needles of the required sizes are not available in the market. Different material which is used in making sweaters is available online but the grandmothers who make these sweaters don’t order online because of quality issues. Women should sustain this hobby and keep innovating designs in knitting because there is a huge demand in Europe and America because of their long winters. The women love to wear scarves and caps there, so if we could focus on this industry, we can capture their market.

Tahreem Ashraf, a housewife, while talking to this scribe said that she has seen many women who are still making hand-knitted socks, sweaters, scarves, mittens, gloves, and hats for children in winters and sell online. There garments are sold all over Pakistan in winters and they make a good range of profit just sitting at home. Such businesses that are done from the comfort of their home have flourished to many folds because of wide net accessibility. They receive orders by choosing from the pictures from social network and orders are dispatched within days to the customers.

Humera Khan, while talking to this scribe, said that I have still maintained my long time hobby by making sweaters, caps and scarves for children and adults. “I used to work with ABC and Kashmira wool in 80s then there availability ceased to exist in the market and then wool with less stretch-ability flooded the market. Now thankfully I get the imported ‘Red heart and Fisherman’ wool from Lahore and Islamabad. There stretch is superb and they are pure wool without any polyester. Earlier the needles were made from metals, but now the needles are also made from plastic that sometimes bend if a big heavy sweater is made. The tranquillity, I get after knitting an article is great. My mind totally relaxes in this hobby along with other leisure activities, it has been linked to reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Much like physical activity strengthens the body, this mental exercise makes the human brain more resilient by remembering the loops on the needles. More and more women should take up knitting by hand so that the art their mothers and grandmothers used to excel in does not cease to exist,” she said.