Every fall, there is an outbreak of people sharing pictures and stories about some misguided lunatic who knits for her chickens. Sometimes they’re little capes, sometimes a kind of sweater-vest. And then, because I am a knitter who has chickens, many of my dear friends share these stories with me. They share them with warmth and affection, with kind thoughtfulness. So I have to restrain myself from responding the way I want to. At least in writing. In reality, I shriek in offended frustration.
Knitting is something I do because I love creating beautiful and useful items. I love making socks for my wife to wear, because I know she enjoys the feel of them and showing them off to her friends. I live knitting a baby hat for a new mama, to share her joy. Knitting creates fabric, a stitch at a time, slowly and magically transforming yarn into lush squishy warmth.
Chickens are wonderful creatures. They are fun to watch, they lay yummy eggs, and they are even themselves delicious. They live outside because they make a nasty mess everywhere they go. They have an amazing layer of feathers that keeps them warm. Humans have been using feathers to make some of our warmest, best insulated garments and coverlets for hundreds of years.
I am never going to knit for chickens. I find the idea insulting. Why would I spend time creating beautiful hand-stitched sweaters for livestock that are perfectly capable of staying warm on their own? And if I wanted to create a garment for a chicken for some incomprehensible reason, I would buy some fleece fabric on sale at a fabric store and sew something that would be quicker, easier, and more washable. I don’t even knit for our dogs, and one of them sleeps in my bed every night.
I will never knit for chickens. Ever.