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sarahknits
New Pal

11 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  2:20:56 PM  Show Profile Send sarahknits a Private Message
Maybe I'm just in denial, but I don't think knitting is going out of style. I'm 21 and a grad student in New York-- going to school in the East Village, of all places, where 90% of the population are hipsters of some kind. (Not me. I live in Brooklyn.) I see women my age knitting all over the place. I went to the antiwar protests in DC yesterday, and on a bus of left-wing college students I was not the only knitter!

What I'm wondering, though, is whether the young knitters who do get hooked for life (and I agree that it will be a percentage of those who knit now) are reacting to the environment of our generation. (And here I'm going to pretend to be a spokesperson for people my age, although I have no more authority than anyone else...) We grew up in the 1980s. All of the cartoons we watched as kids came with Happy Meals, mass-marketed toys, and movie tie-ins. Everything that came into style when we were teenagers was immediately co-opted and marketed into oblivion. We grew up surrounded by everything plastic and manufactured and marketed, to a degree unprecedented by previous generations. And there's a lot of dissatisfaction about that. A lot of us are horrified at the way our McDonald's culture chews up and spits out every other culture in the world. Young people are desperate for something real-- and that's where knitting comes in.

My great-grandmother inspired me to start knitting, and my mom to restart, and Mom taught me. But my most influential knitting teacher has been a friend who was also my landlady and professor in college. She's in her mid-sixties and loves everything handmade-- in addition to being a veteran knitter, she cans, bakes, sews, makes soap and candles, composts, you name it. She rents rooms in her big old Victorian to us impoverished college girls, anywhere from two to six at a time. All of us who live with her are new to this way of life-- and most of us are thrilled and fascinated. I had never tasted fresh-off-the-farm vegetables until I lived with her. With her as my knitting coach, I made hats, socks, scarves, and a shirt this summer-- and of the five other young women in the house, all of them saw them and said, "Teach me how!"

So I'm hoping that knitting will be part of a revival of a less plastic way of life. This could be wishful thinking, but I think there are a lot of young people who are sick of choosing from the same three sweaters at the Gap, and who want an outlet for their creativity and style. Hip or not hip, I'll do my part by teaching anyone who asks! :-)

sarah

"If you want to own the means of production, grab a set of 8's and get to work."
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achrisvet
Permanent Resident

USA
5986 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  2:24:04 PM  Show Profile Send achrisvet a Private Message
How true. I also echo the sentiments that we want our LYS and online yarn sources to stay in business and lots of very active designers. Other than that I couldn't care less if the rest of the world thinks it's hip. I came back to kntting after a 20 year hiatus just to knit a few squares for Warm Up America. I had gone to Michaels for some other reason and saw the promotion. I already owned a beautiful set of straight needles (Bernat Aero) that i had bought when in college. So I bought a skein of yarn and made some squares. Suddenly I was hooked. The internet made a big difference, too. I discovered a wealth of information that really intrigued me.

The year has been spent mostly making scarves for Christmas. I think I'm on numbers 12 aand 13 of about 18. Next year I will make mostly sweaters for myself and DH, plus socks, socks, socks!


Anita

quote:

How sad that some are so easily led by the "latest, hippest things" that are "in". I like to think for myself and we knitters already know that knitting will always be "in", whether others agree or not-----knitters are leaders, not followers!!

Regards, Patience






See my completed projects!
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=977585&uid=619962&members=1
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anotherbev
Warming Up

90 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  2:54:12 PM  Show Profile Send anotherbev a Private Message
I grew up as a "child of the late 60's, early 70's." I was taught to make things at a young age, and taught myself to make other things. I made my own jewelry, re-made other jewelry, etc. I could knit, crochet, sew, grow plants, and other stuff. I grew up, married a "long haired" forestry major, and ran a plant shop.
Now, I am older and I still make my things. I can't imagine not being creative or not being able to create. It would be scarey to think that there are those who think creating is "trendy," isn't it? However, I do know that the larger retailers have craft departments because it is "trendy," and if they ever get wind that a certain form of needlework or craft is not going to make as much money for them they will drop it like a hot potato!!!! It's bad enough to go to Wal-Mart and see that they do not stock double pointed needles; I would really be upset if they were to phase out the whole knitting section. I see so many kids there with their parents, looking for supplies to make jewelry and other things, and it makes me feel really good to see the creative juices still flowing. Oh well...that's the end of my rant.
anotherbev

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CatherineM
Permanent Resident

USA
3363 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  3:23:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit CatherineM's Homepage Send CatherineM a Private Message
quote:
So I'm hoping that knitting will be part of a revival of a less plastic way of life. This could be wishful thinking, but I think there are a lot of young people who are sick of choosing from the same three sweaters at the Gap, and who want an outlet for their creativity and style.


There are a lot of older people sick of the same thing and doing the same thing. A few weeks ago I was inspired to buy a sewing machine (haven't used one since junior high) because I am sick of the sameness of mass-produced everything, and I have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head for my own designs. Right now I'm just noodling around getting familiarized with the basics because my time is not my own these days, but I plan to take some serious sewing and clothing construction classes in the future. Since I started knitting again (after a very long hiatus) I feel much more like myself - I need to make things and do things with my hands, and the day job definitely doesn't allow for any creativity. <sigh>

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mokumegane
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
558 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  4:08:48 PM  Show Profile Send mokumegane a Private Message
Personally I don't care- the media can... Well, maybe you don't want to hear my thoughts about the media. (Heehee!) I think the media is there more to control our lifestyles than anything but you know... Everyone has their own opinion. As far as knitting not being hip, I think what should be addressed is "Is there any programs for middle schoolers/high schoolers (maybe even grade schoolers) to go to so that they can learn knitting? That's what initially got me into braiding my own hair, as well as basket weaving...

Amanda

quote:

After having been uncool (in a pleasantly independent and obscure sort of way) for so long, I must confess it's felt a little weird to be a part of something considered hip and cool.

How long do you think our trendy status will last? I've heard some people say that knitting is already "out" and macrame is in. Others have said crochet is the thing, yet elsewhere I've even heard mention of sewing as the next media darling.

Will we suddenly be discarded by the media and left to languish, like a discarded pair of Gloria Vanderbuilt jeans?

What do you think?

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher




Laugh- it keeps you sane!
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PCam
New Pal

USA
37 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  4:17:16 PM  Show Profile Send PCam a Private Message
Pcam

I am not sure if knitting is hip or not. I started knitting just recently. I have crocheted since my first child was born seventeen years ago. He slept so much I was bored to tears because he slept most of the time and I was determined to stay home with him at least for a while. I didn't think of crochet as hip then.

Frankly, knitting is not for the faint of heart. I enjoy the process of creating something completely my own. I took to giving hand-made Christmas gifts several years when the current "non-recession" made our money too tight for expensive shopping sprees. I think I will never turn back.

In Texas, there isn't a lot of need for sweaters, even in the winter, but there is always a need for socks, hats, placemats, cozy afghans and the like, and such items - especially when hand-crafted, are deeply appreciated by their recipients.

If it isn't hip or in, that doesn't bother me a bit. All I need is a bit of yarn and some needles and a little quiet time to focus. I think the best part of knitting or crochet or any other such craft, is that it can be put down and returned to with ease. You often can't say that for a good book or a good TV show. When you're interrupted, the flow is lost and be difficult to re-establish. Not so with hand-crafts. I personally hope knitting, crochet, macrame or whatever never really comes into the world of the latest fashion craze, other than to expand our choices. The fact is that fashions come and go. I know a person who is always going out and buying the most expensive, fashionable clothes on the shelf, but she never once has considered how they make her look. I don't think I've ever seen her in something that truly brings out her beauty. Knitting and crochet bring out my beauty. They give me a chance to express my creativity in a way that is unique and personal, and deeply appreciated.

'nough said. Handcrafting will always be "in" in its own way. It may go through hard times, just like life, but it will stay because there are those of us out there that need that release, and we will keep it going.
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schoolmama
Permanent Resident

USA
2310 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  4:33:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit schoolmama's Homepage Send schoolmama a Private Message
I'm with a lot of the rest of you, I don't care if it's hip or not. I am hooked and I have enough yarn to keep me busy for a long time, but I do hope the stores keep stocking yarns!! I have never really cared what was hip or not in fashions or otherwise. I wear what I like, and often make clothes because store bought doesn't fit, and I don't like a lot of the fashions these days. I am not quitting knitting no matter who says it "out." It took me too many years to get to where I thought I could do it, and now I have all these great things to make. There, that's my ! Barb

P.S. I got rid of all my macrame stuff in the 70's and don't plan to make any more! I did make a cool yellow belt back then, that probably would not go around me after 4 kids...!

"OF ALL THE THINGS I HAVE LOST, I MISS MY MIND THE MOST!"
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mokumegane
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
558 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  4:49:14 PM  Show Profile Send mokumegane a Private Message
Lol! Hey, the only stuff I macrame are bracelets and necklaces. Even then, it's done in tatting thread or thick, colored beading thread so it looks finer and more classy but still something many others would like! If there was a place here to post pictures, I would so you could get an idea... oh well! Think of it, though: macrame has really gone in and out of style but knitting, crochet, etc. may have gone in and out of style but still have many people dedicated to keeping them from becoming "endangered". I have seen macrame in a book dedicated to "lost and endangered" needle arts but not knitting!

Amanda
Laugh- it keeps you sane!
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susanne
New Pal

39 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  5:33:47 PM  Show Profile Send susanne a Private Message
It may be that there's something really deep and meaningful at work here- a reaction to the mass-produced plastic world we all live in, but it may also be that the recent increase in interest is somewhat the result of media manipulation combined with the cyclic nature of fads. A look at the history of handknitting will reveal many ups and downs in the popularity of knitting over the past 150+ years- knitting was seen alternately as a declasse necessity of the poor and as a proper accomplishment for the wealthy victorian lady- especially if she made small, tedious, relatively useless items or knitted for charity- ideas which persisted into the early twentieth century which then turned into more recognizable fads- war knitting, refugee knitting, and the incredible, fashion conscious dressmaker knitting of the thirties when women with little money for entertainment and clothes but ample time and skill created beautiful suits at 8 stitches to the inch.Then more war knitting, and the argyle and angora craze of the forties and fifties.

Quick knits with bulky yarns popular in the sixties probably contributed to the languishing of the skill in the popular arena- like many of todays "hip" patterns- they're not particularly flattering or memorable. Quilting and crochet, especially lace crochet, have gone through similar cycles. I plan to stock up on yarn while the going is good, storing it up against the hard times that are sure to come to the knitting market sooner or later. Enjoy the abundance, but don't expect it to last. Like others here, I can't imagine macrame making a comeback....

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CatherineM
Permanent Resident

USA
3363 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  6:04:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit CatherineM's Homepage Send CatherineM a Private Message
quote:
look at the history of handknitting will reveal many ups and downs in the popularity of knitting over the past 150+ years-


Excellent point - we of the Boomer and post-Boomer generations tend to think we are the first to experience fads or media-created crazes, but both have been around as long as there have been forms of mass communication. Knitting has waxed and waned with hemlines for generations. I also agree that the "quick knits" tone of some of the trendy knitting books is a clue to the fad aspect - instant gratification, "look at me I can knit" stuff may or may not lead someone into a real appreciation of the finer aspects. If it does, great, if it doesn't, so what?

I dunno, macrame may make a comeback yet, it's one of those fairly isntant gratification, no huge amount of skill required things and the 70s are nostalgic (aaak! I graduated in '75! I'm part of the Happy Days of this era!), macrame is probably due for a rebirth.

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lacylaine
Seriously Hooked

USA
993 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  6:05:33 PM  Show Profile Send lacylaine a Private Message
I think the media is just trying to jump on the bandwagon. I think they were caught by surprise when they learned that actors were knitting on the set. But the actors are finding out what we've known all along.

For relatively little investment (unless you're a bibliophile like me ) you can knit so many different items. A cable sweater only takes one small piece of equipment more than a stockinette stitch sweater takes.

Do you like to knit scarves or socks for your entire family? Do you like to make something and then move on to another item completely? Either way, you can be creative, reduce stress, and slow down your life!

Let the instant gratification people drop out. We'll retain many more. Number of items we want to knit, times all the different yarns out there, divided by the number of friends and family members, equals a lifetime of pure bliss.

Melanie

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." Ecclesiastes 9:10
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argus
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
595 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  6:10:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit argus's Homepage Send argus a Private Message
I like knitting, it relaxes me after day's work. When I wear my creations, people always ask: "Did you make it? Wow!" It is wonderful to give your loved ones presents you make.

What more can one ask for in a modest hobby?

Regards,
Tanya


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Kays
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  6:22:47 PM  Show Profile Send Kays a Private Message
What an interesting topic, with knitting being so close to our hearts! I am 34 and have been knitting for 20 years with the obligatory pause during high school. I too believe that knitting is here to stay, however probably not with the fanaticism it has now. In particular, the yarn labels might be hit hard... think of Debbie Bliss who jumped on the yarn bandwagon at its peak and some of the other hip and trendy specialty yarn names. In the very long run, people might tend to favor good standbys like Brown Sheep, Cascade, Plymouth, etc. and stick with real learning tools such as Vogue Knitting and the Principles of Knitting. Some of those new books out there are so tacky!
I follow a lot of blogs on the internet and there is a new web site out there at www.knitty.com IMHO, this is really kind of silly. Here is someone else who has jumped at the idea of making knitting hip, when most of us really don't care. We can and do make beautiful items and are amazed at the colors and fibers out there! I am all for people expressing themselves and trying something new, but that web magazine Knitty really goes overboard to say, We are hip...look at me...I'm a knitter!
One final hope: that we knitters will stick together to prevent the LYS-drought that hit the country 10 years ago or so.

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ms_little
Warming Up

Australia
61 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  8:16:26 PM  Show Profile Send ms_little a Private Message
Hi all - I've read all the opinions on this topic with interest and hope that great yarns, magazines, patterns, etc. will always be readily available. Kays, your opinion on www.knitty.com is quite valid, though I must disagree with some of it! I love knitting and have been doing so for several years now. When I first started to knit, before the knitting craze really took off, the kinds of patterns that were generally available really didn't appeal to me. www.knitty.com (and others) is exactly the kind of approach I've been waiting for - a 'fresh' outlook on the craft. Without the so-called 'hip' projects available, I doubt a lot of people would have been interested or tempted to pick up their needles. I'm all for diversity as it can only increase the appeal of knitting to all kinds of people and tastes. Like you Kays, I don't really care if knitting as a hobby is no longer cool as I'll still be doing it...but there's nothing wrong with trying to entice new people to the craft, even if that means jumping on the bandwagon. This is the only way to ensure that enough people continue with knitting, or at least have the skills to come back to it, after the craze has passed.

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morris@innercite.com
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  8:30:06 PM  Show Profile Send morris@innercite.com a Private Message
For my 2-cents - I will be teaching Beginning Knitting at a local community college starting next week and I have 25 students signed up!!! This sure feels like there was some pent-up demand for knitting instruction in this area (Northern California).

Knit & be happy,
Terry
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  9:51:53 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message
What an interesting subject!! So many people with so many diverse comments yet most are of a similar opinion! Great!! I, too, don't care about the "hipness" of knitting. I knit because I can, and because I want to. In New Zealand I have never noticed that knitting was "in" or not, especially now. We seem to be a little behind the times over here, and knitting hasn't really caught on here, yet, recently. Still, one can hope! Our spinning group recently went into a local primary school and taught the basics of knitting to about 20 children between the ages of 5 and 9. The younger ones were not enthusiastic - too young we felt - but the older ones enjoyed it more. Many comments such as "my grandmother knits". Great exercise to keep up the profile of knitting.
But about the macrame. I haven't seen anyone doing that for years. I feel old here . I was one of those who macramed their way through the early 80s! But looking in the shop windows this week I have seen a myriad of macramed belts. In fact I said to my daughter that maybe I should go into production - I could make a fortune!
But like everyone else I know that this will only be a fad - I haven't seen too many macramed socks and hats out there.
But I do blame the media, to a certain extent, for the rise and fall of crafts. I would not like to be a retailer these days, at the mercy of the "popular" crowd.
But I do agree with ms_little about the knitty.com website. I enjoyed the young, fresh approach. To keep a craft alive and healthy, there needs to be an injection of fresh blood occasionally to keep it going, and maybe knitty.com is one way of providing that.
Anyway, that is my . Sorry to go on so!

KathyR
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mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  10:40:44 PM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message
I worked for a Canadian craft chain in the late 80's, and knitting was hip then. Now it's hip again. I have been knitting for 15 years and noticed a gradually increasing interest from others in knitting. As many people my age(32) have mentioned we are sick and tired of paying The Gap(my friends call it The Crap)$35.00 for a hand knit scarf that they paid some child 5 rupees to make. A lot of us would rather buy some good yarn for $10.00 and give the difference to charities or social causes. I hate when a lot of stores ask me to make a contribution to something, and they get the credit! Even my nieces, 21 & 22 want me to teach them(again) how to make scarves so they can wear some and give some as presents, because the funky stuff at cool shops is too much money! Hopefully I haven't gone on too political a rant(the older I get, the more left I lean)but if knitters ruled the world I don't think Americans would be sniping each other, the Russians gassing some of their own, and there might be peace in Palestine if everyone fired off scarves instead of bullets. So my American neighbours, vote for the candidate that knits, in public!

Peace!

"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness." Gandhi
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Sunshine_Amy
New Pal

13 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2002 :  11:11:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sunshine_Amy's Homepage Send Sunshine_Amy a Private Message
I'd love to see crochet and macrame come into hipness; last time I browsed through the library books on these topics, I'd never seen more books from the 70's in one place! Talk about dated! (The books are quaint in their hippie sort of way, but not very useful for us current crafty folk.)

Has knitting been trendy lately? I heard Julia Roberts knits, but other than that I hadn't really noticed. Then again, a barely watch TV, and don't read mags, so that's just the sort of thing I'd miss! It's enough for me when someone on the bus asks me what I'm making, and has that wonderful awe-struck look. Who needs more?
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Emaruottolo
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
472 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2002 :  06:32:08 AM  Show Profile Send Emaruottolo a Private Message
I just borrowed from my library a book titled "Crochet with Style" by Melissa Leapman. What a great book. Copyrighted 2000. I have never before seen crocheted sweaters, vests and tops that I liked. I usually crochet afghans, small baby items and just started snowflakes with crystals. I only knit clothes. I will be venturing into the world of crochet sweaters very soon. Not that I will ever give up knitting.
I started knitting when I was in my early 20's. A friend (that I am still in contact with), who is older than my parents (I do not make friends based on age) would knit during lunch at work. She has two children who she knit for (she now also has 4 grandkids who she knits for). I fell in love with the idea of making something out of string and 2 sticks that I was pretty sure noone else would have. I traveled a lot for my job and did so much knitting on airplanes that it made every trip something to look forward to. I remember one flight, we were delayed and I was happily knitting away, when a young man approached me and said "Hey your too young to be doing that", I guess that was suppposed to be a pick up line, I just gave him an icy cold stare and shut him down right away. We started talking a little while later and he apologized and said he meant no harm by his comment.
Okay enough rambling for one post.


"Happiness is not the destination, but the road traveled."
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flangum@netscape.net
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2002 :  08:27:57 AM  Show Profile Send flangum@netscape.net a Private Message
What I worry about is that there has been a "dumbing down" of knitting in general since it has gained in popularity. Far too many "quick and easy" patterns that look terrible. Too much super thick yarns and hats that can be knit in fifteen minutes. Maybe this is another topic all together. But for me, size 8 needles are big. So when I see these sweaters in knitting magazines on size 10+ needles I cringe. I am too big myself for big guage sweaters, and I worry that something major, ie. talent, patience, beauty, is being lost in the attempt to make knitting accessible to the young and impatient.

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