In Defense of Selfish Knitting

Last week, in my year-in-review blog post, I mentioned a new and growing personal commitment of mine to embrace slow fashion and sustainable creativity. I want to share a little bit more about that intention today, to kick off a series of blog posts designed to chronicle my introduction to the movement, my flawed and frustrated attempts to practice what I preach, and the many knitting projects I know will dominate the better part of my year.

I want to start out this series of posts with a word about "selfish knitting," the term we've borrowed to characterize the things we create for ourselves rather than for customers or loved ones. It's an interesting term when you think about it. Is knitting supposed to be for others? Why? Is there a reason we tend to feel a little guilty making things for ourselves? I don't really understand it (though I am fully guilty of using the term with a little bit of a sheepish tone from time to time). And it's been on my mind while setting intentions for the coming year, as my plans involve focusing on knitting – not with the goal of creating my own designs (though I do hope to do a little bit of that) – but to improve my own skill set and expand my handmade wardrobe.

One of the things I love about a commitment to slow fashion is that it gives us the opportunity to re-frame "selfish" knitting. Knitting for yourself is selfless, in a larger sense. Creating your own garments and accessories pulls you away from consumerism, draws power away from an environment-destroying fast fashion industry, and empowers you as a consumer. It allows you to take ownership over the things you wear, rather than being dependent on a harmful fashion economy. It re-trains your mind to value clothing thoughtfully created, carefully constructed, and specially designed to fit your body. So what I'm saying is, selfish knitting (and crocheting, sewing, etc.) saves the planet – pass it on.

So, my wholehearted embrace of selfish knitting this year is an embrace of slow, sustainable fashion, and in that spirit, I have put together a list of projects I intend to make in the coming year. This grid was created in response to the gentle, creative Instagram challenge, #2018MakeNine, created by the lovely Rochelle New of @homerowfiberco. Also, my personal Make Nine has changed a tiny bit since I posted on Instagram – I added projects more suited to the goals I have for furthering my knitting skills and working through my existing stash.


From top left, reading left to right and top to bottom:

These pieces are all achievable for my skill level, will teach me important basics of construction, will use up a significant portion of my yarn stash, and will fit easily into my wardrobe. There is a good chance that this project list might change over the course of the year and is a WIP in and of itself, but I feel comfortable with this line-up to start out.

I'm excited to share more about this journey with you guys. I am still working out a schedule of future blog posts tackling the topic of slow fashion – what is it, why does it matter, how can we make it work (especially on a budget) – but for now, let me leave you with this: Selfish knitting is good for you, and good for the world. Do more of it this year. I'll be right there with you.