Devils and Details: America’s Knitting Underbelly

A growing obsession overlooked by the mainstream is plaguing suburbia at an cat-wearing-sweater--large-msg-130592658314alarming rate: knitting. I guess it begins harmlessly enough, darning a sock when nobody’s there like Eleanor Rigby. But then it grows into a debilitating illness. Take for instance Deloris Clark. She’s 52 and her cats have a bigger wardrobe than most American children. Or take Norris Berkowitz who is allergic to wool but can’t stop knitting. His hands and face swell up every day beyond the point of recognition. These are just a few of the stories I uncovered as I delved deeper into the corrosive world that is knitting. It’s not just for your Granny anymore.

grannyKnitting carries with it a nice façade. When I picture it I see an older woman sitting in her living room with a cup of tea, knitting a warm cap for her newly born grandson. Lovely. But a little research wipes away that facile image. Look at the example of “Bookfaery,” a poster on the forum “Knitter’s Review.” She claims that after only ten months of knitting, she “drools over sock yarn” and is going to “trade in her librarian degree for a couple of alpacas.” Unbelievable. After only 10 months she is going to trade in her lucrative career as a librarian in order to raise a few llamas in her back yard so she can turn their fur into stuff. You’d think there would only be a few examples of this madness, but this is just the beginning.

Hipknitizer” is a lady who has her own knitting blog. It’s seems docile enough until you search for the tag “obsession.” There you will find a list of justifications for her addiction. She claims “knitting has kept her from weighing 300 pounds.” You’d think, how wonderful, until you find out how she’s keeping the weight off. cheeseburger-paradise-11Instead of eating stuff that is bad for her, she is knitting likenesses of it such as a cheeseburger, a cookie etc. and eating that instead! I am no doctor but I’m sure the side effects of eating woolen burgers cannot be very good. It may in fact be better to weigh 300 pounds. Here’s to hoping she gets the help she needs before it’s too late.

A common argument these addicts make is that “knitting is the only addiction they will not apologies for.” Well, I would say that apologizing for all that junk you made people they didn’t want is the first step on the road to recovery. A blog called “The Maine Page Turner” is like a procurer for these poor folks. She provides reviews of books on knitting so they can further their addictions. She even says that after reading these books, “their needles will be on fire.” I’ll tell you what’s going to be on fire, Deloris Clark’s arthritis.

Arthritis is one of many side effects of knitting addiction. A common affliction that plagues the knitting community is RSI or “Repetitive Strain Injury.” This illness mainly affects 12 year-old boys and obsessed knitters. I came across a tip sheet for avoiding this injury on the creatively named website “The Knitter.” I, of course, would offer the advice “stop knitting,” but since these addicts so blatantly refuse treatment I guess the community needs tip lists like this one. One tip is to “sit with good posture.” Yeah, that’ll help the lady whose needles are on fire. She also argues that “if you knit all day,” avoid RSI by placing your “needle, yarn and pattern in the proper place.” I hope she means the garbage. She does provide a disclaimer at the end of her post about making sure you see a proper doctor for advice because she is obviously not one and you should not take advice from knitting obsessed advice givers. But she does include in the disclaimer that “you can knit in the waiting room.” I told you, it’s an illness.

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I understand that most people don’t fall into the category of the obsessed, but would they admit it if they were? Curing these knitters isn’t exactly a popular cause. No one is “fun-running for cramping hands.” But I think that we as a society owe it to these people to pay more attention to their plight. In the old days we would turn a blind eye to this phenomenon. Accepting ugly, poorly fitting sweaters with a smile and then burying the unwanted garment in the depths of our closets. Well, I say no more. Confront the crocheter. If you don’t, before you know it, your grandmother will be out back feeding her llamas.

You can’t know when the addiction will begin. It could start as simply as sewing the button back on your fat-ass husband’s shorts. Or it could be a curiosity that turns into drooling over sock yarn like that message-board person. Either way, silence is not the answer. Hopefully, this post will act as the spark that leads to a cure for the knitting obsessed. Until then, keep an eye out America; you never know when a hobby is going to take over your life.

215 thoughts on “Devils and Details: America’s Knitting Underbelly”

  1. Hee hee, thanks for the follow! Sad to say, not only does my husband get knitted scarves, but I spin the wool from our sheep to knit them! After all that work he can hardly hide it in the drawer! And you don’t want to even go into the dangers of a spinning addiction… 🙂


  2. Thank you! That was a joy to read. That cat looks like it regrets life, and I would be delighted to receive a knitted cheeseburger (although I would display it, not eat it.)

    When I was in college, I was in the feminist knitting club. I stopped after I got tendonitis and lost feeling in my left hand :\


  3. Reblogged this on knitsbywhit and commented:
    A little late with the Friday Funnies (sorry!). Here is a quite humorous article about Knitting. I would like to thank the author for shedding light on this serious issue (haha).


  4. Wow, I haven’t held a pair of knitting needles in a while(not a very fashionable past-time when you’re in university!) and was thinking of buying a pair. I shall buy ’em but make sure I don’t get addicted.
    Thank you for the informative post.


      1. What can I do to turn the “glimmer” into a “ray”? Host a telethon? A bake-a-thon? Jazzercise Classes? I cannot sit idle and have my children or, goodness forbid, my chickens wrapped up like the ill-fated cat in the photo.


  5. Several of my best friends have taken up knitting.

    I’m in college. They’re in college. Needless to say it’s spread far past grandma’s front yard.
    (I know, needless almost looks like needles, no it’s not a clever choice of words.)

    Fortunately I read this article before succumbing to it myself. I owe you my life.


  6. Thomas, Amazing how you “knit” together such a neat post!!!!!!!!!! HA!!!!! Seriously, very nicely done! And thanks for now “Following” my website “Excuse Us…” Phil


  7. Really enjoyed the knitting blurb. Very entertaining! Thanks for following my blog as well! My daughter crochet’s, I’ll put her on to your knitting story…..I know you’ll make her smile too.


  8. Hilarious! I do not knit, crochet nor have I taken up tatting, but I do need a crocheted cover for my toilet paper rolls. Perhaps you know of someone? Thanks for the follow! I look forward to keeping up with you!


  9. Thanks for the follow. I really enjoyed this post, it was a good laugh but still serious. As a crocheter, I’m glad I’ve escaped obsessing over them, and I only gave crocheted infinity scarves to the women in my family once, and they actually loved them! Ha ha.


  10. So, I was born with rheumatoid arthritis, and I actually knit and crochet to keep my hands/fingers flexible. That being said, I’m not one of those “knit ALL THE THINGS!” people… every day I go online and see the things knitting addicts come up with and think, “for the love of god, why?!?” I mean, if you’re that hard up, you can always knit/crochet stuff for charity. There’s even a charity that solicits little penguin sweaters to protect penguins from the after effects of oil spills, if you really feel you must give in. 🙂


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