Knitting a community: weblogs and institutions

Torill Elvira Mortensen

Research output: Contribution to conference - NOT published in proceeding or journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Knitting is an important cultural marker in Scandinavia. It signifies connection, skill, tradition and
history, while the clothing produced are practical, useful and unique. It is connected to contemporary fashion, history and tradition. Knitting is an everyday practice as well as present in institutions such as archives, museums and modern textile production. In this presentation I will look at knitting blogs and how they touch on the importance of the public sphere (Habermas 1989). My discussion here will follow up on earlier examples of academic discourses arguing the thesis that participation in the public debate, even with topics of no obvious importance, gives the participants important skills and affordances which can be translated into agency in other situations.

I will further look on the exchange of recipes as a practice of gifting. Gifts within a consumer culture means linking connections through objects, while a gift culture is based on the circulation of objects between participants (Lury, 2011). My claim is that online participation and exchange of knowledge is a gift-culture inside a consumer culture. Through their mixture of creative and poaching strategies for sharing, renewal and creation, the knitting weblogs connect individuals and institutions, new designs and tradition.

The objects of research are knitting blogs based mainly in Scandinavian countries. On these blogs I look at the use of patterns poached from different institutions (museum, archives, commercial agents), and the sharing of traditional or historical patterns. The theoretical approach will touch on the public sphere, gifts in consumer society, and networked cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date18 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2012


  • Knitting
  • Cultural heritage
  • Public sphere
  • Gift culture
  • Consumer culture


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