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Topic: NY Times opinion article on knitting  (Read 2231 times)
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grusinskaya
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2005 07:03:44 PM »

I agree with lisascenic; this article was poorly written & seemed shoddily researched. Although I will admit that some of the trivia included in the article was interesting (I didn't know about the lighted movie showings; that's actually a pretty good idea).

I'm not sure if all of these newbie knitters will stick with the craft. I know that the recent popularity of the craft has definitely created legions of dedicated new knitters, but there are also quite a few people who learned simply to make a few scarves. My aunt for example, threw herself at the craft two years ago and made a few garter-stitched fun fur scarves. She attempted to make a poncho, but soon grew bored and hasn't picked up the needles since.
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gloriana
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2005 07:55:51 PM »

Wow, you all raised some great, and very valid, points.  I wasn't thinking about it that analytically when I read it this morning, honestly.  I have to say that I too worry about the characterization of knitting as a "fad" and hope that it won't suddenly decline in popularity, as the swing dance craze did.  This worry is out of pure self-interest - I plan to keep knitting for as long as I enjoy it (which I suspect will be a long time) and want to continue to have the amazing variety and selection that currently exists.

I think that Debbie Stoller's point about reclaiming knitting as feminist is valid (although rather inadequately represented in this piece) - as Alice Walker said in "In Search of Our Mother's Gardens," domestic creations and activities (such as gardening, cooking, quilting, and knitting) are art forms that need to be recognized, and celebrated, rather than denigrated as "merely" domestic (and hence not valuable).
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lisascenic
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2005 09:12:26 PM »

I found the book she references, No Idle Hands, is pretty interesting.  But I'm aslo a huge geek, and love social history.
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kristiface
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2005 06:57:38 AM »

I had posted over on another board about this earlier, but lisascenic pointed me to this one. 

I will admit that I took up knitting because the patterns were much cooler than the crochet patterns I found.  But hey, if I like a sweater, I wanna be able to make it! 

I found her article not only poorly researched (it was an op/ed piece, so she just has to say what she wants in well- structured sentence), but also embarrassingly ignorant of the things she was saying.  If, as she said, knitting gained popularity as an anti- feminist movement-- if that's what it really MEANS-- then why was she suddenly so happy to jump on that bandwagon?  That doesn't mean knitting makes you "cool".  It means knitting makes you opposed to the feminist movement and feminism in general. 

I suspect that the trends have less to do with social politics than they do with generational ebb and flow.  Seems to me that most of the people I know who've knitted for a long time learned it from parents or grandparents growing up.  Now, they're adults and can afford more yarn, classes, knitting groups, etc.   


I have to say that I too worry about the characterization of knitting as a "fad" and hope that it won't suddenly decline in popularity, as the swing dance craze did. This worry is out of pure self-interest - I plan to keep knitting for as long as I enjoy it (which I suspect will be a long time) and want to continue to have the amazing variety and selection that currently exists.

I suspect! that we'll still be able to find fantastic yarn if knitting becomes less "cool"... and if we're lucky, maybe the prices will even go down a bit Wink   

That or we should all stack up Wink
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starlings
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2005 07:45:41 AM »

I suspect that the trends have less to do with social politics than they do with generational ebb and flow.  Seems to me that most of the people I know who've knitted for a long time learned it from parents or grandparents growing up.  Now, they're adults and can afford more yarn, classes, knitting groups, etc.   

That's a really good point.

You know, one reason that knitting may not have been as popular in the 80s is the scale of the garments. Sweaters were popular, but they were also HUGE. It was impossible to imagine wearing anything that wasn't oversized. (I have an VK from the period in which the garment measurements for the smallest size are consistently over 40").

 I made some attempts at knitting then, but yarn was relatively more expensive and you needed tons of it and tons of time to make a garment then considered "normal" in size. I'd say that now you'd easily use 1/3 less yarn in an average sweater.

Maybe the 80s revival will be the death of knitting. But I'll bet the yarn manufacturers will jump on the bandwagon!
Classic Elite sure did last time around. I wonder what it would have cost to knit up this baby:
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GloryB
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2005 08:23:32 AM »

I agree, that is a poorly written article.  Oh, I'm sure there are some knitters out there that are just knitting because it's the hip thing to do.  Personally, I started knitting when I was a teenager, now I'm in my late 50's.  I knit because I like to. I'm not trying to make any kind of statement.  Todays new knitters that enjoy knitting for the sake knitting, will be knitting well into their golden years too.  And they too will see the fad come and go.
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spaz_muse
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2005 08:51:43 AM »

I'm always sort of amused by articles like this just because of my presonal experience.  I had no idea knitting was on any sort of up or down swing when I learned last May (from a male stagehand who'd learned in Canada a few years before that: he taught me how to cast on, make the knit stitch, and change color in the same span of time it took him to roll and smoke a cigarette).  Then I started noticing all this stuff and all this "knit is the new black" or whatever comments.  But anyway, I'm weirded out by how she's written the article.  No mention of men who knit.  She's aware of Cameron Diaz and Hilary Swank but not Russell Crowe (ok, that was a publicity stunt maybe, but still...)  And then she says she'll try again just because it's hip but turns right around and says she's doing it for the self-improvement?  Weird.  And she really doesn't give a reason why it's "trendy" other than to "reclaim women's work."  Hardly (although I'm sure there are those who are knitting for just that reason).  I DIY because I like to and I like creating things that are unique (or sometimes because I want something I saw and know I can make it cheaper and better).  Ok.  I guess in the end, I haven't said anything new, but I enjoyed responding.

Now what I REALLY wish she'd mentioned in the article: the name of that knitting book Hollywood put out in the 30s.  I'd LOVE to get my hands on that.  Anyone happen to know?  Or any suggestions how I'd google that? 
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lisascenic
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2005 09:21:43 AM »

I'm a bit dubious about there being one particular book that Hollywood put out in the 1930's.  There were a number of pattern booklets with minor stars on the covers, as well as pattern booklets that made promises like "knit the clothes the stars are wearing."  But since this article seems to be cribbing from a book I've read twice (and recently), I think this is about as "true" as the Oakland Knitting Trains.

I don't own "No Idle Hands."  But if I did, I would check the bibiliography. 

In any case, those garments were knit on teeny-tiny needles, and had lots of shaping.  I doubt any of us would really enjoy knitting a 1930's style suit!
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spaz_muse
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2005 11:02:58 AM »

Good to know!  I'll check that book out!  But I'm thinking you're right - I'd probably do better to just find a vintage-y pattern now.  Yarn substitution would be easier, too, now that I think about it....
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"These are hard times for dreamers" - porn store manager, "Amelie"
tigerlounge2000
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2005 11:04:40 AM »

This seems like something she agreed to write, then forgot about till two hours before deadline.  If you are going to write about knitting this late in the game, you can't trot out "Oh, Wow, celebrities love to knit!  It gives them something to do on set!  It's retro-feminist!  There's this really cool lady Debbie Stoller!  Wow!"  I was actually excited to see the article, because it's the NYT, and they usually have a slightly more relevant takes on these kind of things.

I never understand why journalists don't bring up the fact that a lot of people knit and sew because the economy has gone to h***, stores stock badly made rubbish, and if you want to look amazing you kind of have to take it into your own (creative) hands.  I knit because I can buy $25 worth of Lambs Pride, a $6 VK and make something that looks like it cost $200.  I can't buy a sweater that costs that much!

Bad, lazy, Journalist!
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