Knit Wit: A New Magazine About A Timeless Craft

by Maxwell Tielman

The art of textile making is one of the world’s oldest, a pursuit that has followed practically every civilization since the dawn of mankind. With the potential for functionality and beauty, textiles have served both our physical and emotional needs, weaving together generations, communities and entire cultures through their communicative and connective power. We here at Design*Sponge don’t think we’re alone in saying we love a good textile. In recent years, we have seen the art of textile making, especially in our own locales, experience something of a renaissance—friends, family members and some of our favorite artists have taken up the loom, the knitting needle, or the sewing machine to take part in this timeless craft. Still, despite this resurgence of textile interest, these works have often taken a backseat to other art and design objects, their importance minimized in comparison to art forms favored by the Western tradition, their appreciation relegated to tight-knit online communities and the aisles of craft stores. This is why we are so thrilled to see a new, fresh face on the indie publishing scene—Knit Wit, a lifestyle magazine dedicated entirely to the love and appreciation of textile arts and design.

Founded by friends Zinzi Edmundson and Gigi Jack, Knit Wit promises to be a textile publication like no other. Decidedly au courant in terms of style and design, the magazine eschews long-held presumptions about textile arts, media and makers. We’re repelled by the cutesy; we’re fatigued by the heady,” the magazine’s manifesto reads. “We are a lifestyle-driven art and craft publication that celebrates the people and objects in this dynamic and growing community. It’s a beautifully put-together collection of photos and stories for all interested parties: the master, hobbyist, or newcomer alike.” The 108-page inaugural issue of Knit Wit is set to hit newsstands this November, but in the meantime, you can secure one of these bad boys by donating to Knit Wit’s ongoing Kickstarter fund drive! Max

Winnie Au knitwit_3

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  • Strange that it’s called Knit Wit, when it’s not focused exclusively on knitting, especially since it’s a common refrain among fiber enthusiasts that it’s a shame so few people can tell the difference between knitting, crochet, tatting, nalbinding, weaving, and so on; it doesn’t exactly help to dispel misconceptions, does it?

    Equally strange to use the phrase “relegated to tight-knit online communities,” making “tight-knit” synonymous with “exclusionary” when in fact many fiber communities are overjoyed to introduce new members to their craft. For example Ravelry, an online knitting and crochet community that anyone with an email address can join, has more than 4 million members, which should be evidence enough that the site creators and original members aren’t angling to keep people out.

    “Relegated…to the aisles of craft stores” simultaneously seems to belittle those who shop there and ignore the presence of independent fiber shops, which exist not only to foster community but also, often, local production and consumption of yarns, fabrics, and notions as well as small business enterprise generally. Though not always highly visible to the average person wandering a shopping plaza, I’ve never been in a yarn or fabric store that didn’t welcome everyone who walked in the door, be they veteran fiber fan or simply curious passerby.

    If the fiber crafts struggle to earn mainstream appreciation, it may simply be because the primary focus of fiber publications and communities is on creating and sharing resources for makers rather than promoting themselves among non-makers. And for what it’s worth, there are many, many practical, edgy, daring, and beautiful designs out there, as well as gorgeously photographed publications. If mainstream audiences are only seeing the cutesy or the kitschy, perhaps they’re suffering from confirmation bias.

    I have no arguments against greater exposure for fiber-related pursuits, but I find the persistent myths surrounding them deeply off-putting. The mission statement of the magazine itself suggests to me that its creators are not immune to these myths, which is really unfortunate. I hope that they don’t seek to define themselves by putting down other expressions of the fiber crafts, because I can’t imagine any practitioner wants someone with that attitude claiming to represent them or their interests. I know that I don’t.

    • Hi, Caitlyn!

      I totally get what you’re saying and, for the most part, I think I agree with you. However, I think that Knit Wit’s overall ethos is about allowing fiber art to gain mainstream appreciation—its editorial aesthetic and quality in itself shows an effort to create something that is beautiful in its own right. They do make reference to pervasive myths about the fiber arts community, but I think overall, those statements are made in the effort to dispel those myths.

      In regards to my “tight knit” phrasing, I’m sorry that you felt that way! I merely meant to imply that online communities like Ravelry, et al are “tight knit” in that they are supportive, inclusive, familial communities.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue. I know that textile art in general has been a sadly under-appreciated art form, and I think that an ongoing conversation about it is a good thing.


  • As English is my second language I am confused about this comment : “We’re repelled by the cutesy; we’re fatigued by the heady” Before I respond to this, I would like an explanation as to what exactly is meant by that phrase.
    Thanks so much !

    • Hey, Diana! I think that statement is referring to a desire to steer clear of impulses to be overly “cute” or overly “intellectual” when it comes to art or design— the overarching idea is that the publication is an accessible, celebratory look at textile and fiber art.

  • I think what’s really strange is that we’re already celebrating and criticizing a magazine that has yet to put out a single issue.

  • Max, thanks for the explanation. The word “repelled” came over very strong to me , as if catagorizing potential readers who have a different taste than you. No offense though, wishing you lots os success, will look into your magazine to learn, and hopefully enhance my skills.

  • This is amazing! Great to see knitting/fiber crafts represented so beautifully and in a way that is attractive to the main stream. Can’t wait for this.

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