Saturday, February 04, 2006

I've figured out the lace passion...

The constant media hype of knitting has been an annoyance to me from it's start 4-5 years ago. I could never put my finger on it. Logically, it should make me happy because there are now knit shops where there once were none. There are thousands of online places where I can look at knitting and knitting supplies. This should make me happy....right?

Well, it should, but it still makes me grind my teeth. One reason....for many years (about 40) knitting was one of the things that made me different. In fact, I took a lot of flack for knitting as a teen. Having four older siblings, there were plenty of perjorative statements about my "grandmotherly" knitting as a high school student and how this would surely cause be to be an "old maid" one day. These were statements intended as barbs way back then. However, I sucked it up, kept on knitting, got a professional degree and married (well, I might add).

I continued knitting: during break times when travelling to professional conferences; baby gifts for coworkers; and gifts for family members. I carried it along on scuba diving trips w/ dh, where others would cast sidelong glances and a few made snide comments. My collection of aluminum and plastic Aero straight needles purchased from the G. C. Murphy Five & Dime Store, from 4th through 6th grade in the '60's, still reside on the top shelf of my wool closet. Circular needles were not then available in small town, USA.

Then I hit my 50's and all of a sudden knitting is THE thing to do. Everyone (including those who made snide comments) is knitting. They walk up to me in order to inform me of some of the most banal knitting news. There's no response I can make that will allow the conversation to continue. If I offer them additional information, they're not interested and I'm too polite to publicly correct them. The only thing to do is politely smile, nod, and say "Is that so?"

In fact, we were at a birthday party for one of dh's friends last weekend and one of the men came up to inform poor clueless me that: "men are now knitting somewhere in either New York or Chicago." If I had his email address I'd send him Franklin's recent post.

I should be glad with all this knitting interest, right? Well....I guess I would be glad IF they continued knitting after the craze has passed. And if they had an appreciation for the quality of yarn and yarn construction. And if they were to continue to stretch themselves and grow in their understanding of the fiber,the fabric, and the stitch.

Instead I feel like Kathy Bates' character in Fried Green know the scene where she rams her Volkswagen into the stolen, occupied parking space saying "Honey, I'm older and have a lot more insurance than you do!"

I suspect that lace is drawing me because it helps me maintain my distance and my difference. It helps that I've taken a couple of classes with Margaret Stove, whom I enjoy and admire greatly.

Cassie asked when I plan on starting the Wedding Ring Shawl... Depends on the definition of 'start'. Once I receive the pattern, it will take some time to read through and digest. Then there will be swatching with the sample yarns to help select yarn and needles. I know that at some point I will consider spinning the yarn for the shawl and my mind will travel to the 4 oz. of superfine merino top in my stash. Sampling will ensue.

There are others online who are starting the same shawl. Marilyn and Franklin are two, I'm sure there's more. But I'm not one for knit alongs and join ups.

Meanwhile, you must visit Jean's site. She's working on the Princess shawl at moderate pace. After you've seen her start on that, make sure you click on the "My Website" link in her sidebar. There you will find links to pictures and construction notes of some beautiful lace she has knitted, like this and this.


  1. Thanks for the link to Jean's blog - I will settle down to happily catch up on her archives. Yes to the rest of your post. We'll be here crocheting/knitting/spinning in a decade when the next fad will be *what?*

  2. I, also , have been knitting since I was a kid. I don't have many projects under my belt because I have commitment issues and there are always so many other things to do. Like weave, crochet, spin, felting, knotting. Not to mention all the rest of my life, like kids and all that come with them. My huge desire to knit lace is to have something BEAUTIFUL! I know myself well enough to know that I won't knit a lace shawl for at least 15 years, if ever. It seems like a good thing to do at the lake in the summer when the kids are all older and mostly gone. I shall always knit, although slowly, always crochet, although sporatically, always weave. And if a new fiber related thing comes to my attention, I will probably want to do that too. Damn! But I love fiber.

  3. Ditto on the Damn! But I love fiber!

  4. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Hi Val,
    When I went to Jean's post the Christening pictures were taken in Wesleyan chapel in Gulval where CArol and I hiked to Penzance and Gulval. We went into the chapel! This was so exciting, not to mention how exciting it was to see Jean's beautiful lace display---WOW
    Thanks for sharing,

  5. Found you from a comment on Go Knit in Your Hat. I've been knitting and crocheting as well as a plethoria of other needlearts since I was in elemtary school.

    I'm not too thrilled with knitting becoming a fad either, I wasn't when the quilting fad started in the late 80's early 90's.

    Mostly, because I feel the industry caters mostly to the "newcomers" and forgets about the ones that kept them afloat pre-fad era.


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