The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A normal amount of obsession, knitting vs. bread making

hullaf's picture

A normal amount of obsession, knitting vs. bread making

I've been reading wonderful books about knitting by a certain author, S. Pearl-McPhee. She is a yarn fanatic, has her own blog, and is entranced with knitting. It all sounds similar to bread making -- such as -- starting a stash of the various wool yarns or . . . buying many different whole wheat flours, making mistakes with dropped stitches or with a dense not-proofed-long-enough loaves, getting the latest supplies like all the bamboo double point knitting needles or a curved lame/bread-scoring knife, relieving stress by knitting yarn or by kneading bread, giving gifts of knitted winter fingerless gloves or loaves of multi-seeded whole wheat bread, working on three different knitting projects or three different sourdough starters . . . . (and I've done all these!) 

Either you're a knitter or a Knitter, or you're either a bread maker or a Bread maker. With a capital letter. You know. And some level of obsession is normal.  Anyone else? 


fancypantalons's picture

I couldn't agree more.  I happen to be passionate about both, as well (although I've been on a bit of a baking hiatus as of late while I've been working to complete my current knitting project).  I'm not sure what it is about the two crafts, but there's just something about them that encourages a certain amount of healthy obsession.  Go figure. :)

By the way, have you discovered, yet?  If not, I *highly* recommend applying for an account, there.  It's a *fantastic* resource, provides a ton of tools for tracking your stash, completed products, stuff in the queue, etc, and also has excellent community features.  It's kinda like TFL on steroids... but for knitting. :)

SteveB's picture


The subtitle of my blog should answer your question.  :)



AnnieT's picture

I'd like to put a word in for quilting which has many of the same features. Seams to pick out, quilts for gifts, and of course more fabric to buy! I do try to work on one quilt at a time but right now I have one on the go and two more in the planning stage. Don't know that I have time to take up knitting as well, A

newgirlbaker's picture

I am a knitter to.  Knitting has taken a back seat for about 2 years now, I do however have a HUGE amout of yarn, much of it from france and italy.  I discovered that I was spending WAY to much money for yarn etc and my garments were not turning out that great, I can however make a great scarf or purse.

The thing I like about bread baking is that you make it, you eat it, its gone and you have to make more :-)  And its a fairly reasonably priced hobby once you figure out where to buy stuff.  Oh and people are very impressed when you bring it for dinner.

goody1006's picture

I do both--I spend the day usually tinkering around with my breads--and reserve some knitting for the evening.


If I'm needing to 'be' somewhere, like a Dr. appt, or waiting on someone I've taken to an appointment--my knitting goes with me.


I'm pretty obsessive with my various 'crafting indevores'  baking is just the newest...<grin>

Janknitz's picture

I too am a knitter and a bread baker.  I love them both (and I'm a huge Harlot fan!).

I have shoulder problems, and I can't knit as much as I'd like anymore, so bread is a good (though messier!) outlet.  It's good physical therapy.  It's also cheaper than yarn. 

They do have much in common.  I love the sensory part of both--warm, springy dough and real animal fiber yarns have a lot of similarities.  There's the smells (yeast and add-ins, lanolin), the feel (soft, springy, alive, responsive), the sound (a crisp crackling crust that sings when it leaves the oven, the soft click of needles) and the visual stimulation (colors and patterns of wool, a beautifully shaped loaf).  And you are creating something warm that everyone loves. 

I love the tools, too.  I have special needles, guages, knitting bags.  For baking I have my stone, my special peel, my dough wisk, my french pin, my favorite mixing bowl, my silver cake server (the perfect tool for leveling dry ingredients in the measuring cup).  My favorite oven mitt is one I knit and felted for myself in a lovely shade of periwinkle Manos yarn.  I felt my leftover wool scraps for hot pads. 

And the books--visual eye candy that get my fingers itching to knit or knead. 

I think they go beautifully together!


hullaf's picture

Janknitz, oh, you said it so well. I love to do both. 

Maeve's picture

I'm a knitter as well as a baker.  I read a lot, too.  And garden.  And canning the garden.  And then cooking using whatever's in the freezer or pantry.  er, yeah.. I'm kinda obsessed.  :)



knit1bake1's picture

I collect needles, yarns, flours, and breadbaking books. My family says I'm obsessed (I say I'm addicted), but at least it's all legal. I've been away from home for almost 3 months, and have been baking more by feel than by recipe. My current "go-to" bread is a variation on Lepard's walnut bread. It's been very popular among those who have tried it. At some point I really need to get into Hamelman's book. I bought it last year, but haven't made anything from it yet.

I also make hot pads, so it's true that the knitting can serve the baking.