Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why skulls?

This is a sincere question. It doesn't give me sleepless nights, but whenever I come across a picture of another skull hat, I wonder. I made these wrist warmers for my daughter some time in 2006, and was shaking my head in wonderment the whole time. What is the fascination with these skull motives? I see so many hats, scarves, and mittens with them on it, knit beautifully, and in all kind of color combinations, and I don't get it!

I understand if young kids want skull motifs on their knit items - maybe. But adults, women and men alike wear those items proudly.

I never felt skulls to be nice to look at. Reading up on the symbolism, it didn't make me understand this any better. Why is this skull motif so popular, and not a horse shoe, or a pigs head, or a hammer, for instance?

Doesn't it only remind us of our mortality? We all know how we end up sooner or later.

Wikipedia about Skull symbolism

Have you knit things with skull motives on it, and why did you choose it?

Would appreciate if somebody could shed some light on this. :o)

BTW: some of you know that we have been worrying about my dad's health. As of yesterday we know he's FINE!!! What a releave!


Larry said...

I don't understand it either and have never been able to find an explanation. I guess it's harmless though even if it is pointless. There are some knee socks in the Vogue Ultimate Socks book that use skulls all down the leg, done in fair isle. I have thought about making them but fortunately my daughter isn't into the whole skull thing.

It's good to hear that your dad is doing well.

Pat said...

I feel the same way you do - I've never knit a skull. I can imagine that if my boys were a little younger they might want a skull hat or mittens, but an adult??? Who knows?

Marianne said...

I'm glad to hear your dad is doing well.

The Skull... to me it's a Jolly Roger... pirates... swashbuckling pirates..(so ok, we're talking Captain Jack Sparrow pirate :^). daughter,31, loves them, her sweetie, same age, I did knit him a Pirate Hat... he loves it.... other than the pirate connection? dunno.
(I have no plans for knitting anything for myself with skulls on it)

Yarn Devil said...

Ok, first, Glad your dad is ok. Second, the skull thing... I bet it's just a way to hold onto that youthful rebel in them. Might make them feel bolder, stronger.. who knows... maybe they use it to remind them that we all come to the same end, it's how we get there... That sounds insensitive, but not ment that way. I myself have never been a skull person... I know my BIL likes them though... maybe I will ask him.....

elizabeth said...

Because, as Steven Colbert said the other night - 100% of people want to be pirates!!! Yeah, I don't know - that's a good question. I've not knit skulls, but I'm inwardly rebellious.

fyi - my emails to you are being returned, but it might be user error on my part. Just wanted to let you know.

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

I think Skulls are liked because they remind people of pirates and fun childhoon stories like Treasure Island. Pirates live unstructured lives and do what they want when they want - what's not to like about that? Glad to hear your Dad is doing well.

Agnes said...

I am another one who doesn't get it! Never feel the urge to knit a skull motif ... though I do like Captain Jack Sparrow! LOL!

Anonymous said...

I've never been big on skulls as a youngster. But now at the ripe old age of 30 ( ;-) ), something about a knit skull is somewhat appealing. Maybe it's that I'm holding onto my youth. Maybe I'm just jumping on the bandwagon of trying to be one of the "cool kids". I'm not sure. But a skull hat or mittens just seems kind of fun sometimes.

Angelika said...

I guess it's all about the Pirates of the Carrabian thing right now or just a way for kids to show they can be a rebel as they are growing up, kinda like pirates are? That's my guess. I just made a hat like that too and to ge honest I kind of like the dark mark scarf in shadow knitting I saw on Ravelry.

Maggie said...

Why skulls? Because skulls are BAD ASS! And as I have just entered my 30s in the past couple of years, I have an inexplicable need to feel as bad ass as possible.

Also, there's a delicious irony in knitting things like skulls because knitting is considered to be a meek and quiet pastime that churning out innocuous knitty things while skulls are BAD ASS and IN YOUR FACE.

I'm happy to hear good news about your dad!

Anonymous said...

I don't get it either, and like Pat have never knit one and prob never will.
I see the skull though as a bad boy thing, skaters, and that time, I don't think of pirates or happy places at all hehhe :)
I just don't know

2paw said...

I don't understand the skull craze, unless one is a Pirate and has a Jolly Roger!!! Glad your dad is well. I know how happy everyone must be!!!

Anonymous said...

GREAT question!
i do not get it either. have never knitted one!!!
i don't get the dinosaur thing either.
best wishes to your dad.

Cloudberry said...

I do knit some hat/mittens with skulls for my boys. But I would never wear something with skulls myself.
And I too connect it with pirates - not death.

Glad your dad is well :)

T-Mom said...

I'm glad to hear about your dad.

I don't get it about skulls, either, and have never knit anything with them, but Maggie's comment explains it to me at least a little bit.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to hear your Dad is fine! Yay!

I agree w/Angelika, I think it's Pirates of the Carribean movies and a kids thing. As in Kids! They were the darndest things.

I am so old.

Anonymous said...

I personally wouldn't wear skulls myself, but it's very popular with clothing designers these days. My husband had some t-shirts and shoes with skull motifs on them, I should ask him if he'd wear skulls of the handknitted type...

Dave said...

Skull symbolism ... Definitely a topic one could spend a lifetime researching! Pirate stuff. :-)

Sarah said...

Glad to hear about your dad!!

I heard somewhere that in some cultures he skull is a simbol of rebirth and new life. Unfortunately I'm not sure where I heard it or where in the world this belief comes from but there is maybe a different spin.

(I sorta think having the pirates movies that have come out the last few years have an impact as well)

I haven't knit anything with skulls but I do have two shirts from Cafe Press with Skulls, one says "surrender yer yarn" and the other says "knitter"

knititch said...

oh monika you are addressing a question i have asked myself again and again. i made helloyarn's hat for both my great niece and a venezuelan friend of mine. the baby cap because the dad found it cool, the venezuelan's because he claims to be of pirate descent and the sweater for my 3 year old great nephew with text on the sleeves saying ahoy matey and arrgh because it is a fad in that age group. but to me it is a weird symbol somehow. when i was working with children one child made a pillow with skulls and a text saying the death, the death. the teacher who was very experienced had no idea of how to deal with her 'artwork' . in art history it is the memento mori and i love that for some reason because it might enhance one's life quality while we are here.

but personally i love polar bears much more.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the middle of making a skull scarf for my son-in-law. He liked the pattern so I'm knitting it for him. It wouldn't be want I would like, but I'm not making it for me.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the skull thing, either.

Anonymous said...

I never knitted anything with a skull and I am not planning to do it. I hope my children never ask me to make something with a skull because I don't like it.
It is funny: I asked the same question on our Dutch group on Ravelry (written in Dutch).

Violiknit said...

Glad to hear your father is doing well :)

I don't get the skull thing either. It creeps me out, and I avoid buying or knitting anything with that design. I suppose that since pirates have been quite popular in the last few years, it may have caused an increased interest for those skull motifs...

TllGurl said...

Why skulls?
Why not?!
Despite the fact that I am a modern, educated woman living in the 21st century, I find them mysterious, dangerous and a little edgy.
Maybe I was a pirate in a former life.
Or maybe I like the effect it has on people who see my knitted skull and crossbone fingerless mits. Or the skull and crossbone hat as I knit it.
"What's that? Are those skull and crossbones? Wow..."
I also like and completely "get" the Day of the Dead imagery from Mexico. I love calavera (skeleton) art.
That's my story, and I'm stickin' with it.
And cheers for your dad!!

Zaz said...

hello :)
like you don't know why you don't like skulls, i don't know why i like them ;)
i just got 48 and i like fun things, so maybe the answer lies there? i don't like jolly rogers though, i don't know why.
i don't care for pirates nor treasures.
i have two skull themed knit items on my blog, one is a hat called "cemetry" and another is a sweater in bonbon pink (laced motif).