This study investigates feminism, masculinity, and community in the modern knitting world. Knitters and scholars are just beginning to explore and challenge the preconceived notions of how gender interacts with knitting. None of these scholars have addressed the issue of masculinity in knitting, which I have attempted to rectify. I have used the theories by Candace West and Don Zimmerman, Barry Leighton and Barry Wellman, Benedict Anderson, and Karen Sacks to explain how gender and community exist and interact within the knitting world. Male and female knitters believe that the gendered implications for knitting have become irrelevant although they exist amongst non-knitters. I argue that women-dominated knitting groups have the potential to be feminist support groups and that knitting as a whole remains gendered, despite personal opinions of knitters and to the contrary. I studied these concepts through qualitative interviews, participant observation, literature and website analysis. I interviewed eleven people in ten interviews with five men and six women. I spent six Saturday afternoons with a knitting group near a large city. Today, perceptions and understandings of the knitting community are diverse, ranging from those who believe that it is fully associated with femininity to completely separated from femininity and gender overall. I clarify both how knitters perceive the community and gender as well as explain how knitting may move forward from the stigma of being associated with femininity and domesticity. Gender within the knitting world may be becoming less and less important to knitters, although there are still significant links between knitting, domesticity and femininity.


Craven, Christa

Second Advisor

Bader, Mary A.


Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Sociology and Anthropology


Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2009 Emily Neumann