Knitting is fun for some people; heavy metal, same—but you wouldn’t imagine that that particular Venn diagram contained a lot of overlap. Nevertheless, the two disparate pursuits recently combined for the first Heavy Metal Knitting World Championship.
If you’re searching for a common factor to combine the two—besides the metal of the knitting needles—you need look no farther than… Finland. According to the Heavy Metal Knitting website, Finland is not only the home of more metal bands per capita than anywhere else in the world (“50 heavy metal bands per 100 000 Finnish citizens”), but “the number of needlework enthusiasts is equally high,” with “hundreds of thousands of people in Finland who are immersed various kinds of needlework crafts, knitting included.” Both hobbies involve creativity, with “the pleasure of creating something cool with your hands. And—it’s all about the attitude!”
That attitude was on full display at the recent championship, which took place on July 11 in Joensuu. Bands not just from Finland but Israel, the U.S., Japan, and elsewhere performed behind a rocking-out, knitting band member. As HMK poetically explains, “In heavy metal knitting, the knitter becomes a part of the band, showing their best needlework tricks as the heavy riffs echo on the background. The knitter takes part in the jam while their balls of yarn and knitting needles swish through the air.”
While bands like Bunny Bandit and 9" Needles all rocked mightily, ultimately there can only be one heavy metal knitting champion. That honor went to Japan’s Giga Body Metal, which featured a pair of sumo wrestlers onstage while a kabuki band member in a kimono knitted furiously behind them.
The bands were rated on “attitude, performing skills, on how the performer(s) took their audience and by ‘Heavyknittinghood.’” While it’s difficult to explain that last criteria, just a view of the clip above should clear up the concept. And heavy metal knitting definitely opens up the world of hobby/genre mashups. What’s next: Polka scrapbooking? Emo quilting?