Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Make I-Cords Not Discord

One thing I love about knitting is the amazing scope of the knitting world. There are as many patterns, books, blogs, yarns, and podcasts as there are fish in the sea. And there are as many opinions about all of them.

Lately, I've been seeing more and more comments about "high" knitting (utilizing advanced techniques, lace, cables, high-quality yarn) vs. "low" knitting (easy patterns, novelty yarn) and it makes me sad.

Admittedly, I'm an erratic knitter. I love projects that challenge me- a new way to attach a sleeve, different sock construction, my tentative forays into lace work. And I love really great yarn-- I'm over the moon about Black Bunny, and I do my fair share of obscene fondling in my LYS. But yes, I've used novelty yarns and cheap yarns. Usually for a project that cracks me up, like the Vegan Fox, or for a really so-fugly-I-love-them pair of socks I just finished. And sometimes I like a really mindless pattern, especially after finishing something that really pushed my boundaries. And it hurts a little to hear that it somehow makes me less of a serious knitter.

Same with knitting books. I love Ann Budd's books that give the basics of design for various gages, so one can design their own pieces. And Nicky Epstein's books of embellishments open up a whole world of design possibilities. But I also like having books like One Skein, where I can eat into my stash with some simple, but beautiful patterns, perhaps even creating some handmade gifts for loved ones along the way. I like having options to choose from and really don't want to have to feel shame for my knitting choices.

And now the same kinds of debates are rearing their ugly heads in the podcast realm. It seems that a recent article unfavorably compared Lime and Violet to Knitty D and the City. (To be VERY clear, neither group of women did anything to instigate this.) What a shame. I really enjoy both podcasts so, so much. Yes, both feature two fun, funny, intelligent women talking about knitting. Yes, both have segments talking about yarn. How exactly would one have a podcast about knitting without talking about yarn? It would be like talking about paintings without talking about paint color. I LIKE that there are a variety of podcasts out there. I LOVE that podcasting has put the power of mass communication back in the hands of the people. Shouldn't we be glad to have so many choices at our fingertips? Why would we want to limit ourselves to one podcast, one type of yarn, one type of knitting pattern? The pod-o-sphere is big enough for all of us to play nicely.

Funny that one of Brenda's recent podcasts had a wonderful essay about "older" knitters and "younger" ones (and by the way, what if Brenda had said to herself "Ya know, there is already a podcast out there of a woman talking about knitting. I guess I shouldn't do one too." Wouldn't the world be a sadder place?). This essay was a reminder about our roots as knitters. I frequently remember as I'm clicking away on a sock that my yarn links me back through countless generations of knitters. I am standing on the shoulders of giants. Our knitting traditions, cables, lace, etc. give us roots that we need to keep us grounded, but knitters who look at crazy yarn and say "I can make something really weird with that" remind us that the sky is the limit for our creativity.

I bet there was a time when some knitter made the first cable that he or she was ridiculed by some, and emulated by others. It's a big world and there's room for all of us to knit beautiful things to fill it as we see fit.

1 comment:

profbookwurmknits said...

absolutely agree
thank you for saying it so well