Heritage, Tradition, and a Little Scandal

Knitting has been an economic resource for numerous nations or regions over the centuries in one way or the other. The British Isles, northern European and eastern European countries all have their distinct and beautiful styles that tell a story as well as provide a living for many people.

So when I set out to research knitting traditions in Poland, I was saddened to learn there isn’t anything of note. Like so much of my ancestral country’s heritage, knitting was part of a day-to-day struggle to survive. The yarns were coarse and would rub the skin raw as the women would make the sweaters (and later rip them out to make something else).

Even today, with budgets tight, there’s apparently a prevailing attitude of practicality: why knit a sweater when you can buy one for so much less? While Poland does have numerous wonderful craft traditions, somehow knitting never became one, despite a wealth of such in the nations surrounding them.

Koniakow LaceThere is Koniaków lace, however. It’s small crocheted pieces that are later crocheted together to make say, a tablecloth. Much of this is heirloom quality material, purchased by European royalty yet, and in years past provided a living income for its makers.

Not so much today, however. So it’s taken some ingenuity to keep traditions alive.

In recent years some enterprising Polish youth have scandalized society by using these designs for lingerie.

Photo courtesy of Koniaków Lingerie, Poland

Actually, I don’t know that it’s Polish youth who’ve done this. It could be some bored and broke old ladies. The collection of lingerie includes items such as this tank top and panties.

So yes, saddened to learn there isn’t much, if any, of a knitting tradition in Poland. Yet heartened to discover the Poles will persevere to keep their craft traditions alive…well, okay, they found a great way to make a lot of money.


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