Knitting: Art of Craft? New Documentary Explores


Knitting has been a fairly common domestic activity throughout the years, but a couple of women are trying to shed some light into the various intricacies and cultural impacts that go into the craft — or art, depending on your perspective. It’s this dichotomy that’s actually a big part of the new documentary by Montreal-based Icelandic director Una Lorenzen.

According to, “Yarn: The Movie” attempts to explore the activity that’s been known to be a traditional “housewife” pasttime, and knitting isn’t the only activity that’s been stigmatized. Laundry, which the U.S. textile services industry processes around 15 billion pounds of every year according to the TRSA, is also one of the many activities that’s been unfairly stigmatized.

Part of the film’s mission is to dispel these notions. The filmmakers hope to take back the activity as something feminists can be proud to indulge in instead of feeling like it’s a “step back” in terms of gender roles.

“I was raised with a mother who was the head of the textile department at an art school in Reykjavik, so I grew up around that stuff,” Lorenzen said. “So we decided to find a variety of artists working with yarn and follow them and allow them to be the voice of the film. We wanted to show the sensual and nostalgic aspects of yarn, but also the tension it can create.”

Lorenzen and some of the people in the documentary believe knitting can be a way to enhance feminism, not detract from it, despite the traditional stigmas. She also believes there’s an important debate going on inside the community of whether or not knitting constitutes as merely a craft or an actual art form. Lorenzen and the characters in the documentary argue that it is art.

“There is a difference between knitting in the crafty world and art world, but the lines are blurry and people are crossing them all the time” Lorenzen said. “I think the fact that it is associated with female energy is a good thing, and artists use this association to make different kinds of statements.”

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