I am painfully aware that I cannot knit, but The Sims 4 Nifty Knitting seems determined to make that pain sting just a bit more.
As soon as I boot up the game and jump over to Evergreen Harbor (the site of the latest Eco Lifestyle expansion and the most fitting Sims neighborhood by which to start a knitting hobby) it is apparent that my Sim is pretty handy at knitting from the get. This is infuriating as I tried to pick up my roommate's knitting needles once and lost patience after the fourth or fifth go-round. Knitting isn't this easy, it can't be.
But that doesn't mean Nifty Knitting isn't a great stuff pack - it is. It was quite literally handpicked by the Sims community and is full of adorable new animations and features that feel really considered, like Maxis sat for hours watching their Yia-Yias work on a fourth pair of puke-green mittens. It's all very Taylor Swift's Folklore cardigan, but far less self-involved.
If we temporarily ignore the core of this Stuff Pack (the knitting), there's a carefully cultivated environment that screams cottagecore. As someone stuck in a small apartment in a densely populated urban center, the appeal of sitting in a rocking chair inside of a woodsy cottage filled with the smell of gently burning firewood emanating from a fireplace is unparalleled. It is the definition of the Norwegians word hygge, or a mood of coziness, and one that is hard to find these days.
The Nifty Knitting stuff pack could easily be called the Hello Hygge stuff pack - there's not a ton of new items in it, but they could furnish the Swedish cottage of my day dreams. There's an array of rocking chairs which can be enjoyed by Sims of all ages, but most importantly the Elders, who can sit and reminisce on their long(ish) lives while gently rocking their twilight years away. There are hanging plants that you can knit little decorative covers for (although I think it's technically crocheted covers) that hang at three different lengths to give your apartment Big Plant Person Energy.
There's also a handful of new clothing, although you can't dress your Sim up in many of the chunky knit sweaters until they reach a certain level in their knitting skill - but just imagine a Skarsgard brother wearing one of these cable knit fashion statements, offering you a cup of glögg. Yeah, that would be a nice life. Call me, Alexander.
The Nifty Knitting stuff pack also brings a few new hairstyles to the Create-A-Sim menu, and while most of them are a bit too granny chic (ya know, that blow-out your grandmother gets once every two weeks at the salon that's hair-sprayed into an immobile 'do that resembles snap-on Barbie hair), there's one that stands out. The aptly named Crochet Locs are a gorgeous addition to the hairstyle library, and one that adds a much-needed and much-requested Black hairstyle into the mix. There's even little baby hairs around the hairline - gah, it's so perfect!
The Knitty Gritty
So, about the knitting in the Nifty Knitting stuff pack. As mentioned earlier, as a non-knitter, it seems like an entirely unrealistic representation of knitting. First, there's no ball of yarn supplying the necessary material for these knitting projects. Second, if beginner knitters could sit down and make a damn tiger face beanie on their first go-round, we'd all be wearing sweaters that would make Molly Weasley green with rage.
Now, the magical ability to knit articles of clothing aside, the sheer act of knitting is gleefully adorable. My Sim knits while sitting on the designated rocking chair, sure, but she also knits on a park bench and on the toilet, humming and making tiny noises of excitement as her project materializes. Actually, she probably knits a bit too much - I'm worried she'll get early onset carpal tunnel syndrome.
I've tried giving her creations away as gifts to prospective lovers, but so far they've reacted with disgust, sending my Sim into a fit of embarrassment that lasts a few Sim hours. So, she has turned to selling her creations on Plopsy, the adorable in-game version of Etsy, where everyone IRL sells their surplus of knitted creations to those of us who can't master the art of the needles. Plopsy is such a cute, realistic addition to the game that I've now become obsessed with checking it to see what I can buy on there - I'm currently eyeing a gorgeous Skarsgard sweater that costs well over 200 Simoleons - try turning down that gift, Knox Greenburg!
In short, we've been waiting for the Nifty Knitting stuff pack to drop since it was willed into existence by the Sims community last fall, and while it's not full to the brim of new content, what it does bring to the craft table is adorable and quaint. Now, if I could only learn to knit in real life...