Monday, April 08, 2013

In some haste, yet again.

I’ve ordered a Relax-worth of madelinetosh sock yarn in Grey Garden. It should be here, surely, by the time I’ve finished the Pakokku socks.

I looked up the Strong-Fleegle heel, a bit. The article by Gerdine Crawford-Strong about her eponymous heel is in the Fall, ’03, Knitter’s, and, as I thought I remembered, is given for a top-down sock. So complete reversibility has to be added to the merits of this heel. Wendy Johnson’s “Socks from the Toe Up” (undated, as far as I can see) has a “gusset heel” which seems to be the same thing except for a very minor difference.

Rachel has sent pictures of Ed in his Gardening Sweater. They strongly suggest that the sleeves are too long, as well as the body. I hope he’ll let me make the alterations.

This turned up on Zite this morning. I don’t know quite what to make of it. I mean, is there the germ of something-worth-saying in there or not?  The writer is clearly angry and sad. He is a gay male knitwear designer. Jamieson & Smith sells 25 gram balls of Shetland jumper-weight yarn for £2.75.


  1. Yes, that guy is angry and sad - who wouldn't be at such a time - but I can relate to some of the things he is saying. I remember when nylon 'wool' was introduced as an alternative to the scratchy wool then available and how it was so much softer and nicer to wear. We knitted garments to wear rather than knitting for the joy of the craft alone and knitting for children in synthetic yarns was definitely cheaper than buying. No Primark or cheap internet shopping then! I would still happily knit in a synthetic yarn for mums who want to throw garments in the washer and dryer, rather than use a luxury yarn that demanded special treatment. Now I'm fortunate. I mostly knit for the pleasure of the craft and yarn but have a drawer of shawls that I have enjoyed making but will never wear. When I think about giving them as gifts I wonder if the recipient will understand how many hours of care went into making them and whether they would be prepared to block them after washing!

    The credit card generation would maybe not understand the concept of having wool 'put by' so that you could buy one skein at a time and not fork out the whole (unaffordable) amount.

  2. Gerri1:46 PM

    For me, his post wasn't just about yarn snobbery, it was also about that awful phrase, "not your grandma's knitting." Really, since neither I nor my mother's generation invented this craft, it has to come from at least my grandparent's generation. I know somewhere I saw the phrase, "yes, it IS my grandmother's knitting."

    It reminds me of that exchange in the recent past, when someone in the USA wrote about historic knitting, I think in Shetland, in a way that seemed to overlook the difficult economics. Another blogger called him out.

    Often, knowing that I'm knitting for the craft, I feel gratitude that no one is waiting for me to finish so they can be warm. (well, it's not true when I knit for A4A, but that is still voluntary, an act of priviledge.)

    We do move forward on the shoulders of those who came before us. I'm grateful, no matter what their color or fiber choices were.

  3. I love your blog header!

    I have two thoughts about the Zite article. The first is, it probably isn't a good idea to write something for your blog when you are angry and grieving. The second is that the whole "not your grandma's knitting" thing could be turned on its head if you went back one more generation. Acrylic would not have been available for "great grandma's knitting", or any generation prior to that. I wonder if the same sentiments existed when acrylic first came out - knitters who had used only wool or other natural fibres for generations feeling slighted because the "modern" knitters were looking down their noses at them.

  4. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Every time I knit a sock (and I have 30 pairs in drawers + the many I have given as gifts) I think of my great grandmother who taught me to knit...she who learned to knit socks for "the war"= Spanish American war. I think about the popularity in recent years of reproduction Red Cross war knitting kits, and they were "Johnnie Come Lately". Nothing wrong with grandma's knitting in my book.

  5. That article certainly raises some questions. My grandmother had given up knitting when I knew her, but one of my aunts was a demon knitter, specialising in lace knit twin sets - 2 or 3ply in pastel shades. Not really the same craft as handknitted underpants in Kaffe Fassett yarns, as featured elsewhere on his blog - except in that each person was suiting themselves by making the respective item.

  6. love the new photo on the header of the blog!

    sorry for that guy ... i love that my grandmother taught me - and we lived in south louisiana where knitting was not exactly necessary - she knit with lovely wool - i have a gorgeous afghan that she made that i love and treasure ...

    as to the snobbery of pure wool - isnt the fact that there is SO MUCH more available now than was available then .. or even 10, 20 years ago?

    the depth and breadth of yarn and especially niche yarns like sock and lace - has grown exponentially over the last several decades.

    if those products had been available (at the relative price of the day)i imagine they would have been used.

    speaking of socks.... am embarking on my first pair having attempted a sole sock a few years ago - and already can see the addictiveness ... am doing toe up (wendy's basic toe up with a rib pattern for interest).. would love advice on good basic sock books and your favorite patterns. especially heel construction...

  7. Anonymous5:53 PM

    The writer neglects to acknowledge that knitting is now done for the sheer pleasure of it and not to save money. We knit for relaxation, a sense of creativity and just the joy of it!

  8. Beth L6:20 PM

    I learned to crochet from my Granmother over 40 years ago. Every craft I do has it's roots in that rainy morning. Acrylics are perfect for anyone who embraces modern life My Mother, at 82, has abandoned hand washing and ironing!(Rock on, Mom!) I admit that I have a severe addiction to merino sock yarn and can be as snobby as the next knitter when working on something for myself; but when knitting for others I take their lifestyle and convenience into consideration. Is it really a "gift" if it only makes more work for the recipient to use it?
    What I'm trying to say is, Yes it is my Grandmother's knitting. The line from her to me runs straight and true though garish granny square afgans and over size purple sweaters. With out the these yarns at the 5 and dime I never would have had the chance to develop as a knitter. I feel the connection to my Grandmother with every stitch.

  9. What a great header!

  10. =Tamar12:39 AM

    He has a point: There is an economic divide between people who can afford to buy the wool and other stylish yarns that are heavily promoted, and those who can't afford it. There are people in the middle, who can only afford it by cutting costs severely somewhere else in their lives. The knitting-magazine culture that says your work is inferior if you use "inferior yarns", that your work will be wasted and sneered at - that culture tries to tell people to be ashamed of their family for wearing what was normal and admired at the time. My grandmothers may not have knitted; I don't know, they died before I was born. But it is my grandmother's knitting, and my great-aunts', and my great-uncles'. The sneering feels like bullying to me, a transparent attempt at self-aggrandizement by attacking others.

  11. Re. the Zite article, we are all children of our time, right back to the 18thC Welsh stocking knitters, knitting even as they went about their daily chores to keep 'the stocking man' supplied - carding, spinning, and knitting four pairs of stockings a week was the norm - and salting ends of yarn away to knit something for themselves in the few spare moments they could find.

    Acrylic yarn's popularity predates washing machines with wool cycles. Maybe if previous generations had had those they would have thought differently. And a person who finds £5.50 too much to pay for a ball of yarn may be quite prepared to pay £15 for a weekly 'wash, set and blow dry' (I'm thinking of my Mum!). There are more factors at work here than one blog comment can encompass and we don't all set the same value on things.

    Oh, and scanning the posts on that chaps blog ... he's angry about most things!

    Love the new header Jean :D

  12. The header is magnificent!

    Jean, I wouldn't change the length of the gardening sweater, as it affords protectioni when bending over weeding, etc. perhaps the sleeves could be shortened, though.