Monday, March 12


TLDR: I may be a dinosaur, but at least I have warm feet and a warm heart!

An acquaintance of mine (well, I say acquaintance - he was a mutual friend of an ex and we went drinking as a group before Google bought Usenet and the community died off... about 10 years hence) posted a rather unkind picture of a dinosaur knitting on my Facebook wall this weekend. Some friend, huh? Nah, I won't polish his ego and publish his name, I reckon it's probably too self-satisfied and smug already...

Why do people have this impression? Yes, I hear the "Walmart" argument all the time - "Why knit socks, when you can get them for $x a dozen pairs at Walmart?". Really? Really?! Thankyou for informing me, I don't, after all, have eyes in my own head or a thought in my walnut-sized brain.

I pity anyone who hasn't experienced the luxury of hand- or machine-knitted socks over bought ones. They are thicker, warmer, they wear like iron. Yes, they're not suitable for tight-fitting shoes, I'll give you that. But they are knitted to size. Cheap shop-bought socks contain lycra (to make them fit as many sizes as possible). Lycra, like all elastics, perishes over time. Heck, most of the cheap supermarket socks in my drawer at home, aren't even knitted tubular any more, despite the circular sock machine technology pre-dating Victorian times. They can't often even be bothered to make them as TUBES anymore, FFS!

Let's not even mention the slave labour used to produce a lot of apparel these days. Oh whoops, I just did. There are not many companies can say their garments are ethically produced - why d'you think they're so ruddy cheap?

So, I'm a dinosaur, huh? I honestly can't remember what I wasted my time doing, before I took up knitting again. Now I can watch a film and have a finished product at the end of it. Beats train-spotting or stamp-collecting hands down. I don't always benefit from it - sometimes it's for a relative, and sometimes it's for a stranger that I will never meet, in a foreign country, who may not have access to a disposable income, time, and a supply of stashed yarn.

At the end of the weekend, most folks go back to work with a bad head and a depleted bank account. I may also have a product - something I created myself, and enjoyed the challenge of making (let's not forget I'm a process knitter here - I rarely keep the finished item).  I have a need to create, to think about construction, and I enjoy the process.

Hand-produced garments are made with love and care and are often superior to mass-produced items - where else can you get custom fit without paying a small fortune? Hand-knitted socks, for example, do not contain rotting elastic and are thus made to size (eg shoe size 6-7 instead of 2-9). Home-made means some care went into the production, the item is often one-of-a-kind and is better sewn up than some of the blown-together bought items I've had the disappointment of later repairing.

Sure, go ahead, and look like everyone else. It's your choice, I won't stop you. Another Usenet acquaintance once tried to get a t-shirt printed with the slogan "FCUK - clothing for CNUTS" - which pretty much sums up how I feel about fashion (alas, the print shop didn't have the balls to do it). If you think I care about high fashion - wearing a barely-there dress your boobs fall out of at the slightest provocation, and a small satellite dish on yer bonce, then you really don't know me at all. Shucks.

In the meantime, I get to wear something nobody else will ever be able to buy, and I get a warm feeling knitting for people who need it. I occasionally do knit by request, but only when I think the recipient will appreciate it, which is, alas, not often.

In this consumer society it's kinda fun to buck the trend - and 2 million Ravellers can't ALL be wrong. I don't see that I'm hurting anyone with my creative pastimes - it's certainly more useful to society than going out and robbing a bank - so thanks, but no thanks, for your disapprobation. Perhaps you should mind your own business. Perhaps you should ask yourself what YOU have done for the world, apart from run up debts and consume resources.

Current mood: happy


maliz said...

Interesting thoughts, I agree absolutely.
I love to be self sufficient in creating my own garnments no matter whatever fashion dictates.

Best whishes
another dinosaur

Anonymous said...

Great Post!


Christina said...

I love/prefer hand-knit socks, sweaters, gloves, and so do many people. The ONLY compliments I get on sweaters are the ones that are hand-knit, regardless of how aged and holey they end up! When I find them at consignment stores or estate sales I will be a happy person.