Lisa’s List: 17 Amazing Yarn Tattoos You Have To See
I turned 35 earlier this year and since then I have had the insane and persistent urge to get a neck tattoo. I don’t know why, guys. I have two small tattoos elsewhere on my body—neither of them knitting tattoos. One I got on a whim, at age 19, on a Sunday morning in rural Virginia from a guy who SMOKED A CIGARETTE THE WHOLE TIME HE TATTED ME, and I’ve pretty much regretted that decision ever since. It also ruined my opinion of the band Slayer, which was playing really loud in the tattoo shop the whole time.
(Let Older Lisa interject here to say that I’ve never been one for making wise decisions. Most tattoo shops are NOT like that place; it’s just that I have a knack for walking into unsavory situations and smiling through the whole thing like a dope. Do some research before you pick a shop and you’ll be fine.)
So, regrets notwithstanding, here I am. Looking up ideas for awesome neck tattoos. And a little thought crept into my head—what if it was a KNITTING TATTOO? At first, I shook it off, nahhh. I want a mountain or an eagle or a frigate ship, something MEANINGFUL. But what has shaped the path of my life more than knitting? Not frigate ships.
So I narrowed my research and set out to study the yarn and knitting tattoos of other crafters. And I thought you might like to see what I found! So here are some amazing yarn tattoos from real crafters around the world, and I’ve included their stories.
These stories show how central knitting can be to our lives; I find them very meaningful.
AND HEY PLEASE LOOK HERE: These images were provided by real people with real feelings who kindly committed to being featured in this post.
If you don’t like tattoos or you don’t like some of these specifically, please keep your comments to one of the following: the weather in Devonshire today; what you ate for dinner last night; or your current WIP. Or I’ll start posting pictures of your face with Tweetie bird tattoos all over it!
AMAZING YARN AND KNITTING TATTOOS
1. SARAH’S LACE CHART
Sarah Newhouse: “I decided on a very traditional lace diamond chart because I love lace knitting more than colorwork or cables. But I also like that this is an old pattern, so it reminds me of the history of the craft and the generations of women in and outside of my family who have been making beautiful things to financially support and/or warm their families (and who may not have had the luxury of pursuing this as a hobby like I do).”
2. ALESHA’S BALL & NEEDLES
Alesha Popoff: “I [got this tattoo] at a point in my life where I was taking the plunge and had given my resignation at my current job to move to a bigger city and start a new chapter in my life. Of all the things I could have gotten tattooed on my body, I decided on the simple ball of yarn and needles because I loved to knit and I knew it was always going to be in my life and that the passion for knitting would never die for me.”
3. LISA’S YARN HEART
Lisa Quaglia Gordon: “I took a pic of the original Faith–Hope-Love design and changed the open black heart to a Yarn Heart with a knitting needle. I’ve been knitting for 37 years and it’s my daily therapy. All the items I make go directly to various fundraisers—I do a lot of chemo caps for people across the U.S. Any regular orders I get—all the money goes directly to The Parkinson’s Place and Rock Steady Boxing New England in Pawtucket, R.I. (my cousin has Parkinson’s and is co-owner of RSBNE ). Life can be crazy and trying so I got this particular tattoo to always remind me that we all need Faith Hope & Love.”
4. KAREN’S KNITTED BABY BASKET
Karen Crouch, owner of Shall We Knit in Waterloo, ON, Canada: “The inspiration when I was pondering this one was trying to pull together a couple of my major loves—my kids (and now my grandkids) and my knitting. There is a verse in the Bible: ‘You were knit together in my womb.’ I told that to Debbie at Addictive Tattoo and she drew this. She even put in a couple of daisies without me knowing it and they are my favourite flower, so needless to say I love it!”
5. DENISE’S BIRTHDAY DRAGON
Denise Daniel/briagha on Ravelry: “The tattoo is a 40th birthday present to myself. I had wanted a tattoo when I was in my twenties, but I wasn’t sure what I would like for the rest of my life. So when I got to 40, I decided that I probably had a good handle on that. I’ve always liked dragons and I’d been knitting for 20 some odd years, so I wanted to combine the two and I came up with the idea of a dragon knitting, while wrapped around a ball of yarn kind of like it was treasure. In researching knitting tattoos, I saw the phrase ‘Yarned & Dangerous’ and thought it’d be cool if the yarn that the dragon was knitting spelled that out. I described the idea to my tattoo artist and she came up with the final design.”
6 and 7. CAROLINE’S TAKE ON THE CLASSICS
Caroline Dick/Sales Manager for Ancient Arts yarns: “The tattoos were my ideas/designs and they were refined by my tattoo artist, Grant Hartley. I love knitting and I think it’s saved my sanity in so many ways, so it’s fitting to pay homage to that via tattoo.”
8. RACHEL’S WIP’s
Rachel Maurer/owner of Woolyn in Brooklyn: “I got [these tattoos] because I wanted to express my love of knitting; it is still a work in progress. The first part done was the Fair Isle band with flowers. Next was the knit and crochet stars (and one flower!). I met my artist on Ravelry and though she is 2000 miles away from me, we’ve managed to make it happen!”
Curious about that artist and Raveler? Rachel’s tattoo artist is Molly Tsunami of Lady Luck Tattoo in Denver, Colorado; her Ravelry name is TsunamiTattoo.
9. and 10. DIANA’S SPINDLES & GORGON
Diana/Chewiedox on Ravelry: “I’ve been a knitter for 40+ years and I learned to spin a decade ago in order to combat boredom while I was hospitalized to receive treatment for cancer. I have a deep and abiding love for the spindle creations of Jonathan and Sheila Bosworth. My collection, now numbering over 100, is affectionately known as The Bosworth Museum and it was pretty much a given that I would pay homage to them in ink form. My right forearm features a Sumac “Bossie” amongst flowers and swirls of fiber. On my left forearm, a lifelong interest in mythology is represented by a badass knitting and spinning-themed Medusa. Her hair is a tangle of actual snakes along with snaking fiber, knitting needles, and another Bosworth spindle thrown in for good measure and she serves as fair warning to those who would seek to cause distraction while I’m working a complicated lace pattern…. Do so at your own peril, for under my Gorgon’s glare you will instantly be turned to stone. All of my tattoos were created by the supremely talented Nate Hudak of Crying Heart Tattoo, Cincinnati, Ohio.”
11-13. KAREN’S CRAFT SLEEVES
Karen/Minihaha on Ravelry and owner of Woolz’N’yarnZ : “The tattoos were all done by Tank at Eternal Art in Sunbury, Australia. I have a photo of my cat with knitting needles so that was the start of my craft sleeve. We progressed on from there with the knitting which includes Mum then the sugar skull. Knit/purl is at the bottom. I also wanted to include spinning in my sleeve so the ‘spin or dye’ happened with my Golding spindle as a model and the silhouette of the spinning lady on the inside of my forearm. Had to get my business logo there too and joined it all together with patchwork flowers and a NZ flag (I’m a New Zealander living in Australia).”
14. and 15. MICHELLE’S CROCHET TATS
Michelle/@cuteashook on Instagram: “My Too Legit to Knit tattoo—no matter how hard I try to knit, I just can’t do it. This tattoo is my dedication to crochet. My yarn ball tattoo also is a sneaky skull and cross hooks tattoo (if you turn your head to the left, you can see the skull face in the yarn ball). My tattoos are my way of keeping the things I love with me; I have others that are for my passion of photography. All my tattoos have been done by Adam Cornish who is based at Oddfellows Tattoo Collective based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.”
16. CARO’S WOOL TRIBUTE
Caro Sheridan of Split Yarn: “The Woolmark logo was developed as a way to guarantee the quality of wool in garments and thus combat the rise of synthetic fibres. While I’m not anti-synthetics, I prefer wool, and this was my way of cheekily identifying myself as a wool lover.”
17. AMY’S GRAM TRIBUTE
Amy/ Spunky Eclectic: “This is one of my most favorite pieces. I have full sleeves that represent members of my family. The crochet and knit tattoo represents my Gram who taught me to knit and crochet when I was little. She knew what I was up to with the tattoos, so she put together this little scene for me with a ball of yarn and a little granny square. The crochet hook is indeed malformed. It’s one she could no longer use because she’d worn it down. Her name isn’t really on the hook but we put it there for the tattoo instead of Boyd. The needles are ones her father made for her when she was a little girl. Most knitting needles were too long so my great grandfather made her a shorter set so she could work more comfortably. Always working with her hands. I can identify with that.”
Don’t you just love these tattoo stories? I find them so touching, and they really make the artwork that much more meaningful.
If you’re considering getting a tattoo, there are a lot of resources out there to help you get started. And since I like lists, obviously, here’s one from Buzzfeed that might help: 21 Things to Know Before you Get a Tattoo.
Do you have a knitting tattoo? Would you like to get one? Let’s hear your story in the comments, below!
—Yours in yarn,
Prefer to make pictures on your knitting? Try out intarsia!