Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lolly/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/news/library/functions/core.php on line 27

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lolly/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/news/library/extensions/entry-views.php on line 86
Legacy and Longevity
Print Shortlink

Legacy and Longevity

Thank you so very much for the condolences, comments, and emails.  Each one of them has truly been a comfort to me, and to my family.  My mother read through each one and was moved by your kind words and thoughts. 

Life has been a little different these past few days, but things have been going smoothly.  Kris and I will travel to Tennessee tomorrow where Nana will be buried, beside my dear grandfather who passed away in 1991.  On Tuesday, my mom and I wrote Nana's obituary, chose a lovely dress and silk scarf for her funeral outfit, and made arrangements for the funeral services.  While it was sad, we were able to remember so many of the funny and sweet memories we had with Nana.

My Nana was a dignified southern lady, in the truest sense of the word.  She raised two children, and later had five granddaughters.  She taught us the importance of being a "lady" not just a woman, dressing for the occasion (she had an amazing collection of shoes!), and that politeness and a smile were always the way to go.  I am so glad that she was able to meet Kris and get to know him before her mind started to deteriorate.  She was even able to be a part of our wedding in 2002. 

Nana and her girls

Nana and her girls - Winter 1996


The purpose for this post was two-fold.  I wanted to talk a little more about my Nana, but I also wanted to tell you about an article that I recently read (thank you Heather for sending it my way!) that discusses a different kind of legacy and longevity.  As an avid book lover, a librarian, and a knitter, I found this article so interesting, and I would love to know your thoughts on it too.  The full-text is at Publisher's Weekly, (The End of Yarn?,28 August, 2006).  I have pulled out a few excerpts that I thought were particularly interesting, and if you are so inclined, please let me know what you think.  I may turn this into a school project!

In the hobbies and crafts category, knitting began to take hold about six years ago; no one knows why. But in a post-9/11 world, the activity has continued to increase in popularity. Publishers, of course, have responded with books and more books. But now comes the challenging part. Is knitting on the verge of becoming a widely established American hobby (like, say, gardening) or is it headed for the fate of philately? Although St. Martin's senior editor BJ Berti characterizes knitting as "the trend that refuses to die," not all the signs promise longevity.

Perhaps we are not the ideal market, very few of us in this online knitting community are "casual knitters". We are "lifers", having fallen head over heels in love with this craft and try to do a little bit each day!  So, for us, knitting is not a passing fancy or a whim… but what about others?  Could knitting become a ubiquitous hobby? 

The norm in knitting these days is an edginess, a pushing of the traditional image of the needle-wielder.

Yes, I have noticed that "edginess" does get more attention on this scene, but I also look at the new fall trends by several of the big manufacturers and design houses: cables and colorwork galore! Many of the patterns hark back to traditional forms and designs. While a trendy knit is fun to bang out quickly and wear a few times (remember ponchos?), true longevity is in the classic forms: the simple stockinette pullover, the lace shawl, the cabled scarf.

The problem with catering to young people who rush to the latest trendy subject is that the audience moves along to the next fad (crocheting, felting, spinning and beading are contenders) just as quickly, although knitting seems to be a bit of an exception. The craft has a higher retention rate than many hobbies, says Craft Yarn Council of America executive director Mary Colucci, who claims the group's research shows that knitting is "addictive," and that newcomers stick with it for its soothing quality, a kind of knitter's high.

The knitting instruction and book market have been saturated with titles geared towards "tweens" and teenagers.  Unfortunately,this age group is known for their short-attention span.  Will knitting be just another fad?  The other crafts mentioned are all closely related to knitting, and can easily be combined with it, so I would not consider a teenager who learned to knit, and then went on to spinning to be "out of the market" (indeed half of this knitting community are active spinners!)

In any case, it would behoove those who are staying put in the category to consider that beginners do not stay beginners forever. Those young women who flocked to knitting five or six years ago have either switched to other hobbies or are now more experienced. Like many craft publishers, STC Craft's Falick is focusing on books that take knitters "beyond the scarf" to more challenging projects. The assumption is that the young audience has had its fill of knitted iPod covers…

This is the bit that really interested me. Many of the books marketed now are moving to another [more advanced] audience.  While many books still have a beginner "how-to" section at the beginning, they have advanced techniques, and designs throughout the book.  Melanie Falick, quoted above, did that recently with her amazing book, Handknit Holidays.  The book had several advanced beginner patterns, as well as colorwork, extensive cable charts, and unconventional shapes and sizes (Christmas tree skirts, anyone?) to push knitters to think beyond the scarf and beyond the square. 

And DIYers seem to appreciate the socially conscious side of the knitting community, visible in its numerous charitable organizations…

I was also happy to see this mentioned. Knitters are a caring bunch (as evidenced by your kind comments on my grandmother's passing) and can organize efforts well. I have been involved with the Dulaan Project, and plan to take part in this year's Red Scarf Project. I am also looking for ways to implement charity work into my own blog projects, like Socktoberfest and Project Spectrum. If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them!

While the article mentioned a few bloggers and some of the blogger-turned-author trends of late, it did not give too much face time to our little movement here in the blogosphere.  However, I am sure that the blogs, as well as several of the online forums are scouted by publishers, agents, and designers who are looking for the latest trends. 

They are looking at us! SO tell them what you want the future of knitting to be! what kind of patterns would you like to see?  do we even need more patterns?  what is your dream knitting book?

(and let me know too by leaving a comment!)

PS-Before I leave tomorrow, I will be posting a short interview with Lisa Kartus, the new author of Knit Fix: Problem Solving for Knitters, as part of her blog tour. Lisa will also help me work through the dreaded holes that form with short-rows, so stay tuned!

Page 2 of 2

57 Responses

  1. Debi

    I know you probably wont see this until after the funeral but my thoughts are with you and yours, Lolly!

    Interesting article, thanks for sharing it. I too think that many knitters become “lifers” even if we take a hiatus for many years! There is something so soothing and innately satisfying in the knitting motion that just can’t be had from other hobbies….even crochet! (for me)

    As far as incorporating charity knitting with Socktoberfest, how about having a contest for all who knit charity socks (for CIC) as well as knitting adult socks in October? I’d be willing to donate some yarny prizes for that!

  2. Karma

    L, Nana was a truly beautiful lady and her legacy definitely lives on through you and your sisters. I’m so sorry for your loss, and yet I see that you were very blessed to have had such an influential woman in your life. Hugs and kisses to you and yours, dearest.

  3. Zarah

    Lolly, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Your family will be in my prayers. Have a safe trip to Tennessee!

  4. Priscilla

    I, too, would like to offer my condolences for your loss and thank you for bringing the PW article to my attention.

    The only thing I would add to the comments is that I think the article would have been better if they had considered the yarn market in addition to the knitting book market. The article says “knitting began to take hold about six years ago; no one knows why.” I would hazard a guess that more and better yarns began to be readily available about that time, inspiring a lot of people to either learn to knit or to reconnect with skills they had learned as a child. Both my knitting and my crocheting have really taken off during that time because the new yarns are just so delightful to work with. Also, during a recent visit to my LYS, one of the employees told me that she had gone to a fiber market and discovered that scarf yarns weren’t selling any more. That says to me that new knitters are beginning to move on from beginner projects to more complicated ones. My LYS had to adjust to that, and now they display sock yarns and lace yarns much more prominently than they once did.

    I just signed up for Socktoberfest, and I would love to take part in Project Spectrum next year. I think the ideas already expressed for tying both into charity work are terrific. I’m looking forward to participating!

  5. chooiwah

    I’m so sorry about your loss, best regards to you and yours family.

  6. Mom

    Thank you, Lol’, for the sweet “spots” about Nana. She was a great lady and left a wonderful legacy with her granddaughters. She was always so proud of you all. Your tributes mean more than you know and it appears that her passing has given your readers another opportunity to share their memories of their own special grandparents.

    I love reading the sweet words from your readers. Many thanks to them!

  7. mary  lynn

    Just wanted to leave you a quick note to tell you how I enjoyed seeing you the past 2 weeks. The service was very nice and know your Nana would have been proud. She was such a classy lady and I was blessed to have known her.We have traveled over 2,000 miles the past weeks and I am a little tired, but so glad I could be there for you and your family…I love you and Chris so very much and can’t wait for you to come to Alabama again. I really think I want to try the socks, please send me the 2 needle pattern, so maybe I can try them first. love,,,love….Auntie Mary Lynn

Leave a Reply