Tuesday, February 6, 2007


I love my job. I love my job. I love my job...

I'm linking to Laurie so often I'm starting to feel like a blogstalker (I'm in Florida and too busy to travel, no need for a restraining order). But I'm on a roll and apparently determined to get myself court-martialed and kicked out of the Knitblog World. But fuck any of you people who make someone think they have to explain their knitting choices.

First of all, and this is directed to you, Laurie, if you are designing your own projects, even if they are "just" hats and scarves, you are not a "beginner knitter" or even an "advanced beginner" or any other stupid label knitter. There are people making money selling books with patterns that aren't as interesting as the things you pull out of your own head.

I understand where Laurie is coming from. I've been on the receiving end of irritating "there there" comments, on my own blog, when I say I'm working on a flat scarf or a shawl or some other "Oooh, soft, pretty!" restful project, like "It's okay, Catherine, someday you'll gwow up and be a weel knitter like the big kids!" Kindly go fuck yourself.

And I would like it very much if people like Laurie, who took to knitting and jumped to creating her own whimsical projects right out of the gate, because she is genuinely artsy and it shows in her work, didn't have to explain themselves to people who never color outside the lines and worry about whether they are knitting "correctly." They need to get a grip, a life, and shut the fuck up when they feel tempted to judge anyone. Not necessarily in that order.

Laurie is creative for a living, and when you're creative for a living, especially in a corporate environment, you tend to come home somewhat depleted (depleted = "run over by a truck") and totally uninterested in taking on a "challenge." My job requires that I shift gears constantly all day long, coming up with answers to questions and creative solutions to bizarre and complicated fucked-up issues. Every time I am overwhelmed by my job and ready to run out screaming, I remember reading drivel on KR about people "anxious" to "challenge themselves" with knitting. I truly cannot imagine a life in which a "challenge" actually means knitting. Where they worry if they are "knitting hard enough." Or "measure up" as knitters. God.

Unless you are making money off it, nobody in the non-knitting world really gives a crap that you knit, and then only a very small portion do. They may nod politely and feign interest, like I do when some guy I meet goes on and on about golf. But they don't really give a shit, and quit kidding yourself that knitting, or playing golf every free minute, is cool enough to be something to aspire to as a lifetime achievement. It's a hobby. You're not going to grow up to be Elizabeth Zimmerman or Tiger Woods. Quit taking it so seriously.

And even if you are making money off it, some of you ought to realize that you are riding a trend and good for you, take the money and run is my motto too. A blog I read occasionally linked to a fiction book about knitting, and I followed the link and read an excerpt, and "lame" would be the kindest thing that came to mind. (Okay, I'm nasty, my actual thought was that at this moment in time, you can wrap a dog turd in yarn and get it published.) This, too, shall pass. All of this crazy shit about knitting will pass, like disco and the macarena, and macrame or paint by numbers will make a comeback with those who have too much time on their hands.

And then people who are genuinely creative and enjoy playing with yarn will be able to do so in peace, and not have to explain themselves. And what a beautiful world it will be.


Kerstin said...

Awhile back, a friend confided that another knitblogger complained that I (crazydaisy) had “alienated” myself from the kntiblog world. WTF? I didn't ask for specifics, but I have wondered about it ever since.

Last night, I came across the wayback machine and read through some of my old posts. Man, I couldn't believe how much I had written. If I burned out on it, who could blame me? Many times, it felt like I was only as good as my last post or project. Screw that.

For the past year, I've made a real effort to focus on my own thing. I could care less what anyone else thinks. Never been happier!

Geogrrl said...

To each their own, and all that.

I have patterns and yarn for sweaters and shetland lace waiting, but just haven't had the energy or the attention span for anything large and/or complicated.

Lately I've been focusing on hats, scarves, and socks--things I can finish in a relatively short time.

No one--not you, not Laurie, not anyone--should have to defend their choice of project. One of my favourite bloggers, Rabbitch, is so frigging overextended that I'm personally amazed she knits or blogs at all. Reading about her life makes me exhausted. Rabbitch's choices of knitting projects are relatively simple, but she's also a good spinner, and getting really good with the dyepot. Yet to some that's "less" than a complicated project.

Heck, in the knitting group I belong to, we have everything from people who knit scarf after scarf, socks, baby blankets, oxfam sweaters, and a few complicated projects. Most of us have busy lives and knit to relax. I'll help those who want to try something more complicated, but really most of us just enjoy the social time. Personally, I don't give a rat's tiny behind what others are working on.

I also don't care that I ended my last sentence with a preposition.

dragon knitter said...

goodness, someone pissed in your post toasties this morning!

i have to agree with you. with me, i do a large quantity of charity knitting, and in order to get that large quanitity done, the simpler the better! simple 1x1 ribbed hats. plain jane socks. fast baby sweaters.

to hell with those who think we are "simple." i know you do a lot of charity knitting as well. fuck em!

Catherine said...

Kerstin - weeel, how special of them to tell you that you were "alienating" yourself! How very female that is. Years back a male paralegal acquaintance sniped about a "bucket of crabs" mentality among the heavily female paralegal population - that if someone dared break the mold or move ahead, the others would do their best to put her in her place and drag her back into the bucket. At the time I thought he was being an asshole, but 10 years later, I do admit I see his point.

It's the idea that knitting is some sort of major accomplishment that gets me - it's just a skill set. If you really want to learn to make lace or a fair isle sweater or socks or what-have-you, you learn the skills to do it and you do it. If you like it you will keep doing it, if you decide it is not fun you can stop, and that is okay because nobody outside of the obsessed knitter world cares. It's not brain surgery and there is no need to be "afraid of" it, or a requirement that you "push yourself" to do it. And all of the explanations and labels - these idiots who obsess about their "knitting style" like it's a swimming stroke and they are about to compete in the Olympics, or coming up with labels like "advanced beginner," like that means anything! I'm over it. You will note that I do not link to any knitting rings from this blog. I still read several, but I read them because the bloggers' lives are interesting, not to see what they made lately. The ones who blog exclusively about knitting bore me to death.

I loved Crazy Daisy but wondered how you wrote so many well researched essays without burning out! You were a one woman Daily Kos for a while there. I love the new blog, your photos are wonderful and the design "feels" peaceful and serene.

Jane said...

At this point, "challenging" knitting means something that I have the energy to pay attention to. So what if I knit the same sock over and over again, or the same ribbed stitch? I just love to knit. Of course I'm very pleased and proud when something I knit is just right, or beautiful, or even extraordinary -- who wouldn't be? The thing is, though, in the end I don't really care if the praise comes from anybody but me.

Great post and comments, Catherine.

Kerstin said...

I've always ignored the Knitting Is the Challenge of My Life women. If for no other reason then I don't get from where they are coming. I've tripped across a few blog posts recently where the blogger questions whether blogging has been good for their knitting. I can relate. I began to feel that no matter what I did, it wasn't enough. Even now, I get an occasional comment after I've finished a knit along the lines of “what's next?” This feels discouraging because it dismisses the fact that I just spent three months on a project and want to bask in the accomplishment, if only for a short time.

Crazy Daisy was fueled in large part by PissOff-edness. Unfortunately, it got to my stomach and I had to step back. I'm glad Whoopsy feels more serene. I only hope I don't become a permanent inhabitant of Snoozeville. ;)

Catherine said...

I don't think blogging has been good for my knitting, mostly because time spent blogging is time not spent knitting, or exercizing, or cleaning the catbox. I don't think blogging has been good for much besides letting me loosen up my writing muscles and be informal and profane and snarky for an audience. I write the most technical and complicated things for business, and they are crisp and coherent and grammatically correct, and properly punctuated too. I know I know how to write, just like I know how to knit, but the writing is generally not for fun. My blog is my "whatever" place, and it's fun. It reminded me that I used to love to write.