Thursday, February 20, 2014

Knitting Elitism (Two Words You Might Not Have Put Together till @2010)

OK, after a lot of yoga and hours of sleep, the pain is not as acute. So I'm back to update you on a few things:
  • Amirisu magazine is really amazing. I haven't been able to read it yet - because I can't look at small writing right now - but it's oozing with good production and the garments shown are beautiful, even as I wouldn't wear most of them. Most of the contributors are well-known  and well-respected and I LOVE that it's an issue about the architecture of knitting. This issue considers knitting as design, not craft, and that's my approach too. You can easily donate a few bucks, from right within the publication (you're redirected to PayPal) and I urge you to support this magazine - if you like it. It takes so much effort to produce this kind of media. When the outcome is good, and this is, it's important to show support, IMO. I mean, I'd have happily bought this magazine for more money than I donated.
  • That whole modern knitting scene - the grand spokesperson of which is Jared Flood - is so freakin' cool. (And I say that with an under-current, finger-snapping beat.) You've got your 16 different varieties of Kristin and Johnston (Kirsten J, Kristin F, Gudrun J, Yoko J, etc.). Trust me, if you want to be a hipster knitting designer, it's good to have some variation on either of those names. Note: special points go to those with Scandinavian surnames, denoting heritage. Extra-special points go to those living in the Middle of Nowhere, North-east (with pied-a-terre in Brooklyn) - or Scotland. But don't forget the British Columbia collective - a whole different spin on cool (everything's made for the rain :-))
  • Make no mistake, these are the pedigreed pattern-designers. They learned the craft from their mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers (some of whom, in their own right, were known in the industry in the latter half of the 20thC). Then they went to art school and got BFAs and industrial design degrees. Then they picked up animal husbandry and manufacturing skills, just cuz they were compelled. I do love me some scenester-elitism. (You can take the girl out of the private school, but...)
  • Please note: while I'm very tongue in cheek, above, I adore the modern knitting aesthetic. To me, it's relatable. The designs are elegant and structural. The patterns are clearly written, well-presented and clean. It's why I can get with this amazing art and not feel like a dowdy remnant of the 70s. The design pool is through-the-roof awesome and I sense that this is the most noteworthy art renaissance in a long time. On a side note, it's largely facilitated by the internet, as far as I'm concerned, but that's another story.
Feel free to check out a few of my most-enjoyed knitting blogs. What you'll notice is that most of these bloggers use their blogs to forge forward in their entrepreneurial pursuits - something that works well, IMO, despite my general inability to appreciate the commercialized blog. Somehow, these bloggers manage it:

Ewe Knit (yeah this is my LYS but the woman who writes the blog, Angela Hickman, does a great job - and has her own blog to boot - Pans and Needles).

Brooklyn Tweed, but you're already reading this, if only for the lookbooks...

From the Purl Side - Linda just started a yarn company and her offerings are GORGEOUS.

By Gum, By Golly - very well known - is a knitting/sewing hybrid blog that focuses, almost exclusively, on highly-stylized vintage knits. Despite the fact that our miens could not be more different, the vintage silhouette is one that appeals to me too and I appreciate Tasha's talent and passion for times-past.

The Vintage Pattern Files is also a great resource, though more a pattern inventory than blog.

One Sheepish Girl brings a sweet, clean look to the category. It's very youthful and a bit twee but I like the focus on fashion knits.

Paper Tiger is fairly new to me, but I do enjoy its eclecticism - and its elegant interface.

The Purl Bee - the Purl Soho blog - shows some beautiful (and simple) projects - and everything is purchasable through the website. This company sells fabric, notions, patterns, yarn - basically anything you might want. I would love to visit the actual shop.

What are your favourite knitting blogs, publications or other resources? What do you look for in your experience? Is it about modernity for you, a grass-roots sensibility, fun and easy projects? Do you love the new scene? Does it irritate the crap out of you because you feel it's one step from turning yet another egalitarian domestic pursuit into a competition? Let's talk.


  1. I think I look for modernity and fashion (trend!)-conscious designs. .. but then I end up making do with a pattern that works with the only yarn I liked in the yarn shop! But I've picked up a second hand knitting machine and cone yarns in the hope of making something closer to the looks I pin from designers, as they always seem to be fine drapey yarn that I can't bear to handknit! Ps glad to hear you're coming round

    1. You need to start buying your yarn online! I wish I had a knitting machine. Thing is, I'm not ready to pick up a new skill at this point. One day, though...

  2. I must confess that, for me, it's all about the process. I'm not up on the "scene" and other than Angela's, I don't read any other exclusively knitting blogs. I may know my way around sewing patterns and designers but when it comes to knitting, I'm in the dark ages. Knitting is a source of comfort because the making process gives me peace, but I have never gotten into the designer side of things. Go figure!

    1. Fair enough - one gets different things from the different crafts. :-)

  3. New blogs! Thank you!

  4. Thank you so much for the double shout-out! What an honour to be on such a great list.

  5. I love Kate Davies, whose designs are just beautiful! Mind you, I can't knit anymore due to an injury so I comment on the look of the pieces, not the patterns themselves.

    But I also really appreciate Kate's take on things, as well.


    1. Kate Davies does some beautiful colour work! So sorry to hear about your injury. Hopefully you will be able to return to knitting after a time of rest and healing. xo