Knitting: A post-apocalyptic skill you MUST learn.

I’ve decided to learn how to knit. Not just because I want to make my own bloody scarves, but because I think it will be useful.

Of course, to the people who get a little concerned about me when I start yammering on about the end of the world, I’m pointing out the accepted benefits- it’s relaxing, it keeps your hands busy so you snack less, you get a pretty jumper out of the deal, learning new skills keeps the brain sharp- but as with all things, I’m mainly thinking about it’s usefulness post apocalypse.

Now, the short sighted and ignorant among you are scoffing. I can see you, you know. I’m outside your house.


Anyway, I can see your point. Knitting is what Grannies do so they can fob you off with some lumpy jumper (sweater, for the Americans) with three arms and two neckholes, right? Wrong. Knitting will be extremely useful post apocalypse, and not just for women. Men should learn this too. Let’s cover the obvious first, shall we?


How are you going to get clothes post apocalypse? Eventually the ones you pack will tear and wear out. The ones in the shops will rot. Then what? Go naked? Never fear. Knitting (and weaving) are some of the earliest known ways to make clothing that’s not just animal skins tied to your limbs. A skilled knitter can make very fine, soft fabric, repair holes. As for those caiming getting wool will be difficult- well, that’s why you take sheep or goats with you. Comb the wool and twist/felt it into long strands. There. Wool. You can even dye it with plant juices if you wish.

So, OK, you get clothes out of it, and that’s a pretty sweet deal. But how else can I persuade you to start knitting?

How about:

Manual Dexterity

Any skill or craft that requires a lot of hand movement means you develop Manual Dexterity. I haven’t played violin for years, but I can still stretch and flex my fingers in almost unnatural ways. And if you can’t think of reasons manual dexterity would be important post apocalypse, you aren’t thinking hard enough.

Manual dexterity is a massive survival skill. Our opposable thumbs and big brains helped us to figure out tool use, which led to our civilisation now. Don’t let your hands become useless lumps only fit for typing.


All of you, Male and Female, should be looking up knitting courses right now. Before you make an excuse, bear in mind you have the internet at your fingertips.

While you’re at it, consider learning weaving and leather work. It can’t hurt.


Certain skills may seem useless or even archaic in the modern world, but you’d be surprised how good they will be post apocalypse. Gather knoweldge and skills. The more you have, the more likely you are to survive.


14 thoughts on “Knitting: A post-apocalyptic skill you MUST learn.

  1. I’m not scoffing, I’m getting my yarn and needles and one of my old “Learn to Knit” books to loan you… 🙂

    But seriously, if you’re learning to knit there’s a wonderful online community at where you can get tips and links and the index of patterns is gigantic.

    1. Well, currently I (think) I can cast on but not much else. There’s a beginners knitting course just down the road from me, so I think I’ll sign up. They also do felting there, and crochet.

  2. For true survival you must learn to spin your own fibres. Spinning yarn from wool, hair or fur is essential. Learning to turn plant fibres into string is very handy, since combined with knitting skill you can make fishing nets!

    And I second ravelry. LOADS of free patterns and loads of cheap downloadable patterns, and loads of people to turn to when you find yourself going “what the hell? I sytk, yo k4 k2tog but I end up with five stitches too many!”.

  3. Ugh, but I already have thick framed glasses and take public transit. People will think I’m a hipster… :o(

    However, I might like to make cute toys. There’s a girl on tumblr who makes the cutest things. She taught herself to crochet by watching youtube videos.

  4. It’s actually quite useful to learn to knit AND crochet, as sometimes it’s easier to make something with one type rather than the other. And while knitting is popular and well known, crocheting is a lot faster.

  5. There’s also loom knitting, which is faster and easier to learn than needle knitting. Looms come in a variety of sizes and shapes and you can make just about anything you could make with knitting needles. The looms I have were made by a company called Knifty Knitter.

    Also, when I was out at the store the other day, I saw a package for some kind of combination crochet hook/knitting needle that allows you to knit by crocheting but I’m not sure how they work.

    1. It might be Tunisian crochet (also known as broomstick crochet), it’s a way to make lace. I’ve never done it though, it looks hard.

  6. I was just thinking the same thing the other day. Not particularly for survival, but because I was freezing and saw a gorgeous, over-sized knitted snood (scarf-like thing) and thought “I’ll have that”, then looked at the price (£30) and though “I’ll learn how to knit that”. Tight? Yes. Resourceful? Indeed!

    How do you know where I live?

  7. It might have been, though the hook/needles were about the size of a pencil (more or less) and in my experience the hooks used for lace are smaller. But then again, my experience with hooks used for making lacy crochet is looking at the set my grandma had and going “…how can she *do* this?!”

    1. If you’re making lace with thread weight yarn, the hooks are pretty tiny, but Tunisian crochet is usually done with worsted weight yarn, so the hook/needle/thingamajig would be larger to suit the yarn.

  8. I’ll knit me some woolen chainmail so I have at least the semblance of armour when I go out slaying the undead. The only downside is I’d imagine that my hideout would be plastered with half knitted practice doilies.

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