Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Love to knit

The place where I work has a specialty bookshop and library attatched. I love this. Even though there is a limited amount of materials that interest me in the library, the bookshop means that I can order books. I can order books that are only available internationally, or that come to Australia with a hefty price increase, I can order them without shipping, and with a staff discount. A decent staff discount. So far I have ordered the Crafter's Compantion, The Ghost Map (Which is really excellent, except for the two chapters at the end where he seems to need to drum you over the head with the connection between cholera and google. We get it. It's tenuous, but we get the general similarity. The more he explains it, the less viable it seems) and I have a couple more crafty books on order.

It also means that the manager of the bookshop regularly meets with representatives of the major publishing houses and booksellers. Today she came out of her office with a book called Love To Knit, by Bronwyn Lowenthal. (Something else I love about my work. They know I knit. There is minimum mockage.) I leafed through the book, wondering if I'd even knit anything in the book. The answer is 'no'. The only thing I would even consider is the wrap thing on the front - and maybe the capsleeve vesty thing near the back, but it's hard to tell if it'd be OK, since it's pictured in a mustard yellow that does it no favours.

Also, all the models are just too, too hip for me. The leggings, the stilettos, the vacant looks. It's offputting. The wierd modelling is the reason I have not, and will not, buy the 4th edition of Jo Sharp's knit series, even though I adore the first three. (Also, her attempt to pass of one pattern, with different length sleeves, as three different patterns, and another garter stitch scarf pattern. Who does she think we are?)

But in Love to Knit, most of the stuff that even remotely interests me are things that I already own the patterns for, know whewre to get them for free, or for a small amount of the book's cost, and are better. For instance, there's a sort of slouchy beanie, which is just not as interesting looking as Le Slouch. (pdf link) Also, the world does not need more knit miniskirts. It just doesn't.

But I can see how this book might appeal to some people - people more in tune with what is supposed to be my generation, people who shop at shops where they sell chunky knitwear machine made in china, people who enjoy mustard yellow and opaque leggings. I am not trying to be rude about these people. They are just not me. This book might be especially good if they have just started to knit, and want something a bit more complex, but not intimidating. Most of these projects I think assume that the people who will knit them are not that dedicated (although all the projects call for Rowan wool, so obviously their wallet should be dedicated).

However, the thing that broke me, the thing that made me think 'this must be blogged', is in the homewares section. Right near the end of the homewares section. It is a knit coathanger cover.

For real? With silk roses, and everything.

You know, some days I just want to give up and go home. Not that I am all the way against knit coathanger covers. They have their kitschy place. But what are they doing in this book? Do the publishers even know who this book is for?!? Obviously, if you knit, you must love knit coathanger covers. Why not include a pattern for a toilet seat cover?

I remember hearing an interview with Shannon Oakey, when she was talking about knitgrrl, the first. She said about how she was in a meeting with the publishers/editors, and they were all 'young girls don't wear cardigans. There should be more legwarmers!' but her mum works in a highschool, and knows what 'kids' are wearing. And when they took it to focus groups, sure enough, the kids loved the cardis, and hated the legwarmers.

It's the muggle problem all over again. Knitters are just people, you know.

I know I said that I love my workplace for being so accepting of knitting (it's about the onlyt hing I have that makes me a minority, and being a minority is the way to be cool here) but sometimes there's a glitch. Like the time P found out that I go to a knitting group, and asked how that worked - did we all knit a bit, and then pass it on? Do we all knit the same thing? Do we talk about knitting. Well, yes. But that not... I mean, what is so hard to graps about the concept of a knitting group? How is it different than, say, a mother's group, or a group that meets to power walk through a mall, or to teach their dogs how to do tricks, or whatever? Not being able to knit doesn't make you a muggle, in my book. Not wanting to knit doesn't, either. It's this blank, unwilling to change, ignorance. Seriously, I think some of the people where we meet would deal with it better if we had a talking cat than when we knit.

And then P asked how the group got started, and I said I didn't know, I'm fairly new, and M, my bf at work, made some flippant comment about people being retired and bored, and that I was obviously the youngest in the group. In fact, I probably am, but not by much. I'd say we have a fairly smooth curve of ages, if you know what I mean.

I just... why with the judgy, I guess was my extremely articulate point.

1 comment:

Melinda said...

I enjoyed your post on the Lowenthal book! I too was surprised at the knitted coat hanger covers! The only thing that tempted me was the trapeze jacket...I really liked it. Still contemplating whether that one pattern is worth purchasing the book for!!

Soldier on amidst the muggle ignorance.