25 April 2009

Knitters of the world unite & take over

As Rog has been in NY this week, and I have been putting off doing work, I was able to finish Bliss in record time. I basically knit every night from 9pm - 12am, and I am really pleased with how it turned out! Just in time to go to a dinner party tonight, en plus.



I'll spend this week coming catching up on the work I should have been doing this past week. That'll also give me some time to think about what I want to knit next. Right now I don't have any idea!

* * *

I remember a conversation I had with my father when I was about 13 or 14 about how equal (or not) women were. He said that there was still a lot of work to be done. I said something along the idiotic lines of "well, everyone I know is really strong and independent and unshackled by misogyny" (that's the gist of it, though "unshackled" and "misogyny" were probably not my words of choice at the time). And he said: "How many people do you know?"

That stopped me in my tracks. I had made the presumption that "normal" for me was representative of the world at large.

I started thinking about this again after listening to Hoxton Handmade's podcast about her grandmothers - and grannies in general - the other day (by the way, you should check out her podcast!). She makes the point that older generations of women tended to be crafty, usually because of necessity. Whether they enjoyed it or not was a different matter. Now, I imagine, we only knit if we enjoy it.*

As you might have guessed, I'm making another presumption: I presume that everyone finds knitting normal - there are those who knit and those who don't, but no lack of understanding between the two. I rarely, if ever, encounter people who think it's just for grannies (one of the joys of being freelance, I think, as most of the tales of knit-resistance come from friends who work in offices). I would say that about 90% of the women I know knit. I can, right now, think of only three exceptions (J in New Mexico, Rog's sister and my own sister). Admittedly, I don't know any men who knit.

And, I think most of the women whom I know who knit have parents and grandparents who knit and/or sew and/or crochet. As a kid, my mother taught me how to crochet and sew (by hand and machine). She says she taught me to knit, and I believe her, just that memory never made it into the long-term memory bank. I spent a lot of time during my childhood sewing things. My grandmothers both sewed, and my mother's mother knit amazing things - not necessarily my colours or style at the time, but still beautiful pieces of work.

In other words, in my world, it is completely normal to be crafty. But are the people I know representative of the world at large? According to wikipedia, ravelry has 27,000 members; a lot of people, but in the scheme of things, it's a small percentage. How many knitters are there who aren't on ravelry? I imagine there are quite a lot, but still... And if we're not representative and being crafty is a luxury hobby, what does that mean for future generations?

* She also compared knitting to the Tardis, and I have to say, I am absolutely loving the prevalence of the tardis as a major cultural reference - G mentioning the Tardis-like qualities of the Christmas pudding is the other example that comes to mind.

9 comments:

travelknitter said...

You're a knitting fiend! Must be that continental style.

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Your bliss is beautiful!

Unfortunately I do no know a single knitter. My sister and mother sew but no knitting and not a single friend of mine is crafty....weird huh? The upside is that they are all incredibly impressed when I knit anything :)

Kathy said...

I had to Google 'Tardis'--- I just love the tie-in!
J.,
If you continue to knit at the lightning speed you do, no one will appreciate the fact that you've actually knitted your beautiful Bliss--- how can they? if they never saw you laboring over it! ;) It's just gorgeous BTW and fits so nicely.
And your point about necessity vs. luxury is a valid one.
I think on-lookers to our spinning group share the same sort of confounded amusement at the sight of so many 'yarn-makers' and yarn-making contraptions set up in a coffee house where the yarn 'store' is just a few blocks away.
And you're right about the general perception of knitting too, because the same on-lookers to our spin group don't seem to question the necessity of the yarn store.
Here's to Solidarity of the Knitterly!

PrincessPea said...

Gosh, I wish I knew as many knitters as you! For most of my life I've been the only knitter I know, except for the two aunts who taught me. It's only in the last couple of years that I've found fellow crafters through online sites like ravelry and joining the blogging world.

Hoxton said...

Wow can't believe how quickly you knit Bliss and it looks fabulous! Perfect fit.
Thanks for the shout out for the podcast, glad it sparked other thoughts. Like others I'm jealous of all these knitters you know! It's only thanks to Ravelry and the lovely knitters of Hoxton that I know I'm not some nutter with a weird hobby.
As for the Tardis, Doctor Who is a major reference point in my family - my Dad worked on it decades ago - so I forget it doesn't always translate. Thank goodness for Google!

Alison Boon said...

You mean some people don't knit!! Shock, horror. I may need to lie down and recover from this information. Love bliss it looks fabulous

theknittingcowgirl said...

I love your new sweater! it's a wonderful pattern!

Regarding knitting... I knit, my mother knit and teach me to do it, my grandmother knitted (it's right in english past? knitted or... something else?), my sister doesn't knit... in percentual we have a lot of knitters in my family... and everyone of us can sew, crochet and embroider... :-)

Anonymous said...

wow. bliss looks great! i'm impressed. TK

Skogul said...

Oh my god, I absolutely ADORE that sweater. The pattern is gorgeous and your FO is just stunning!