I was in a book store the other day, to buy some cards. While there I walked past the crafts’ section (if by crafts’ section you understand that it really was only one book case, not even a meter long for the entire crafts’ section and knitting crowded with sewing and crocheting on one tiny shelf) and decided to have a look if there was anything new in. There wasn’t. Or rather, there was but nothing to my taste. What struck me, and that was the main reason for my disinterest in these books, was that they all had one thing in common. All titles included a word like easy, quick, fast and in under 30 minutes. Now, why is that? It might be that a book store tries to concentrate on the non-knitters and rope them in slowly with tempting words – knitting is not hard and it’s quick. I guess they think that the choir, in this case the knitters, doesn’t need preaching and that they already know where to find patterns and such. Another reason for this interest in quick fixes might be that in this society we don’t have time for things that lasts longer than 30 minutes.
A more scary thought is it that making something from scratch today is so rare that we need the quick and dirty to actually consider doing it? What can you knit in under 30 minutes? A pot holder perhaps? It takes me three hours to make a baby sock and I am a pretty fast knitter. There are no sweaters that can be done in under 30 minutes. No lace shawls (no shawls at all actually unless you settle for a cowl and needle size 10). No socks (again, unless you settle for needle size 8 and only have one foot and kind of breeze past the heel without really making one). A pair of wrist warmers might work, if, again, you use needle size 8 and bulky yarn. But the remaining question is, why does it have to be so fast?
Apparently this isn’t the case everywhere. When I was at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, one of the world’s biggest, if not the biggest, book stores in the world, back in March, I found they had an entire section with books about crafts. Knitting has it’s own sign! Here I found a number of amazing pattern books, new and used, so many I couldn’t even buy all the ones that I wanted (please note that I brought about five or six or maybe more pattern books with me back home and that was really restraining myself).
Just look at these shelves! Of course there were beginner’s books as well as advanced pattern books but I couldn’t see any signs of the American knitters having a high demand for quick and fast. Sure, Powell’s is the world’s biggest book store and compared to my little local book store (LBS? As compared to LYS – local yarn store?) it’s an elephant to an ant and of course that means I can’t expect the same supply but still, if there was a demand, my LBS would have a bigger knitting book section. But this isn’t it though. There are Swedish knitters, or at least there are Swedes who can keep a lot of yarn stores up and running, but if I think about it, not even 10% of my pattern books are bought in a Swedish book store. And that is not because I haven’t been looking or because I was cheap. Maybe the ideal (aka trendy) knitter these days is not the person churning out her own sweaters but the one with an afghan made of super bulky yarn and needles size 15, leisurely thrown over the couch. Maybe the trendy knitter is the one giving away much praised accessories that looks like they took no effort (which honestly they didn’t if they only required 30 minutes of your time. Remember, three (3) hours for one (1) baby sock) and maybe the hours and hours spent on a pair of dress socks or a cabled scarf are just considered a waste of time and the knitter a loser for spending that much time on such a ridiculous entertainment.
These are interesting thoughts and I need to pend on them a bit more while I make a few more stitches. Say hi to me if you see me, will you? I’ll be the dork in the corner, intently working on a complicated lace shawl.
(Please note that nothing will ever be the new pink and especially not orange.)