A selection of the kind of article I’m talking about, that definitely does heighten the profile of the fiber arts, but about which I have mixed feelings. I have seen links to these in some cases, but to collect a selection I just went to google news, put in “knitting,” and poof, all the same sort of articles crop up. I’ve been reading these articles for a few years now, in every local paper everywhere I go, in webzines, all over the place.
Unlike their colonial counterparts, whose clothing often depended on what was spun at home, many of today’s spinners are not concerned about turning their handiwork into fabric. Nor are they claiming to follow in the footsteps of Mohandas K. Gandhi, who spun every day to persuade Indian villagers to renounce imported textiles and resume making their own cloth.
Many spinners say they have no intention of making anything at all. They churn out skeins of wool, cotton or more exotic fibers like alpaca or camel, and pile up skeins, in their varied colors and textures, for display. Or they give them away to friends and relatives. It is the calming, rhythmic and even meditative effects of spinning that have won many people over.
Today’s bulky threads and bigger needles mean fewer stitches and less time. They also hide mistakes, which are obscured under embellishments.
“You don’t have to be really bright and know all the fancy stitches to make something beautiful anymore,” said Terry Schuster, a former JCrew and Urban Outfitters executive who took up knitting last year after moving to Tampa. “You just knit a pattern and the yarn does the work.”
“Knitting has definitely become the hip thing to do,” said Dana Lerner. “The yarns are so cool these days. You can make these gorgeous one-of-a-kind things. … It’s a timeless tradition that’s become new again.”
“It was a very spiritual thing. All of that fiber went through my hands the whole time I was spinning and knitting,” O’Donnell, 46, said. “A part of me was in that shawl by the time I was done.”
Spinning, which dates back thousands of years, has been performed primarily by women, Colcord said.
Men, meanwhile, traditionally took on the more elevated roles of knitting and weaving.
On the way home from work last night, Chad and I were talking about this whole trend, and I commented that these articles seem to always interview these people who say the exact same things. “Well,” said Chad, “I mean, they make good copy, and all the people who’ve been involved with textiles forever aren’t going to say that kind of stuff.” I snorted. “Yeah, that’s a point — I mean can you imagine if they called up, oh, Alden Amos, and he said ‘Oh, it just makes me feel so connected to my ancestors to make spinning wheels — it’s so spiritually fulfilling!'” I don’t know Mr. Amos personally mind you, but from the things of his I’ve read, I don’t see that happening.
So, then I got to thinking — what would I say? What would YOU say? If I were going to write an article about this resurgence… well perhaps I should. But I’m also curious: how do y’all react to these articles and quotes?