And here we are.
I thought about archiving the (now ancient) content that already exists here, and I might still. I am definitely in the process of reformatting. Mostly right now I am laughing about how sweet and quaint that last post about politics seems, in the light of current events. (The governor of Texas is still awful.)
My life has been a wild and not-very-nice kind of upheaval for the last two years, but I want to talk about something else:
I took three, or maybe a bit more, years away from almost everything making-related on the internet, and the year or two before that was a taper-down. Coming back to it now is deeply illuminating. One of my frustrations at the time, which I’m just now really able to articulate, is that craft had become a site of conspicuous consumption of its own. I am talking about the days of sock-yarn mania, here. “Independent yarn” at the time meant wacky handpaints and shopping frenzy.
It wasn’t that the trendy yarn was inherently bad, or that the people who bought it were. While much of it wasn’t to my taste, some of it was really quite lovely. But the atmosphere was one of stress. My most-overheard conversations were “I have to have that, and it is constantly selling out, what am I going to do?” and/or “I have so much yarn that I am freaking out about it, but I’m still buying more.” That’s what capitalism programs us to do, and I fully acknowledge that breaking that mold is damned hard.
That kind of shopping culture wasn’t something I wanted to participate in, especially in a handcraft context, and, more importantly, that kind of conversation about crafting wasn’t something I wanted to participate in.
It also isn’t that other conversations weren’t happening. I’m overstating a case that was very real, but not as absolute as I am perhaps making it sound. It is true, though, that there were many fewer options. Once I left New England the kind of yarn I found worthwhile was both difficult to access and nonsensical to use in my climate. (My knitting for the last three years is summed up in three or four large wraps, perfect for keeping the air-conditioning off bare summer shoulders. Even worsted weight sweaters have no use here, and wool moths love handknits that don’t get worn.)
So I am looking around this brave new knitting world with wide-eyed amazement. Karen Templer, who I knew in ye VERY olde days as the proprietor of a book site I hung around on way too much, is running a website that everyone else has already heard about, called Fringe Association, where people are having the exact kind of conversation about knitting that I have always wished people would have. Namely: how do we honor the yarn, and the process, by thinking about the knitting we do and the projects we commit to? How do we make garments that will both physically and fashionably last a lifetime? This is positioning craft back where it belongs, as an opt-out for fast fashion, rather than a different kind of opt-in.
(Three related but random observations: 1) I’m deeply amused that Mason-Dixon Knitting and Brooklyn Tweed seem to have, between the two of them and with some overlap, agglomerated every interesting knitter I remember. 2) People knit a LOT more sweaters now. Gee, whiz, a lot more sweaters. 3) Also, they do not seem to post on Ravelry as much as they did when I left. Most of the Rav groups I used to hang in were completely dead.)
I am slightly less behind on the sewing world, as my attempts there were more recent and stalled out by some dramatic shifts in my personal life rather than choice. Even there, though, the last year or two has been, apparently, amazing.
It’s with a new enthusiasm, then, that I find myself rummaging back through my bins of yarn and needles and patterns.