We’re Just Not That Interested

And when you come down to it, we know we’re not the best crocheters, not the best knitters. But, we’re not really interested in that. We are more interested in connecting with people. We’re interested in finding people that feel they’re not good enough in any fiber craft. We want to help you strip away your doubts, help you find confidence in your life by picking up something as simple as yarn. Because, we’re not at all interested in how well you can do it. We don’t categorize your worth by how complicated your patterns are. We’re more interested in the idea that you came to this craft of fiber arts because you wanted to simply do something that helped your spirit, your soul; something that gave you inspiration and enjoyment; something that caused a sudden addiction to hands bringing something to purpose. Or you needed to make some money. I’m all in favor of that….

So, we’re not at all interested in being the best in this field, and Lord knows, we’ve had quite a few of the big wigs of yarn remind us that what we do is second hand, a little “interesting” and “fun,” but not of any real value in the fiber arts community. We weren’t aware this was a competition, and I certainly wasn’t aware there was a prize if you won. It’s the process that counts, it’s the actual attempt at it that matters, it’s the hands on sticks and hooks and challenging yarn that brings us all here. It’s the desire to walk away from a mad life, and use our needles and hooks as the Buddhists may use their mandalas: to breathe, to find calm, to find peace, or to some, to find prosperity in our talents.

So, to the big wigs we are something of a threat, because we don’t promote the competitive desire to be the best possible knitter or crocheter out there. We do something a touch differently. We applaud you for working up your projects, for the fact that you actually held the notions in your hands, for trying to do a scarf for the first time. For trying socks from the toe up. For loving your weekend working up an afghan. For taking the time to feel good about your work when it’s done. Yes, that’s it. We want you to feel GOOD about the work you’ve done.

All of our work (I mean yours and mine) shows an insight into the lives that we’re dealing with. My knitting started with panic and homelessness. Yours may be different…..it may be the same. But, each of us has work that we do that catalogs the moments in our lives where we want to find someone to acknowledge our work, to find some praise. We yearn for that while we’re busy casting on. We want someone else to appreciate what we’ve done. And this weird world of people who claim themselves artists and experts have lost all concept of why YOU are HERE KNITTING and CROCHETING. You just want someone to be proud of your work, to acknowledge that you spent the time DOING it. Not to dismiss you because your work isn’t good enough.

(Ahem….Yes, someone said I only had a career in knitting because people felt sorry for me. I could only respond in the sardonic way in which I often do, “And you’re here interviewing me about my knit pity bear. It isn’t about the bear I knit…it’s about what that bear represents….You call it marketing? I call it fighting for my life….”)

Sorry I’m not as eloquent as I tend to be. Feeling a little weird that his world of knitting and crocheting has become as nasty as Tonya Harding’s boyfriend taking a crowbar to Nancy Kerrigan. Break a leg!

If anyone should dismiss your work, then you come here. Your work is welcome here. Because we promote the idea that it isn’t what you knit or crocheted, but the nod  that you did it in the first place.  Because we’re just not interested in who does it best. We’re more interested in WHY you do it. We’re more interested in the communication of what these knit and crocheted things mean. We speak to the ones we love when we gift our work. We make a declaration of independence when we begin to sell our things. We offer the world our hopes, our enthusiasm when we hand from these to another something we have crafted…..and we’re just not interested in having people tell you it’s not good enough because it’s not complex.

Now, go cast on! (or) chain!

 

 

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11 comments

  1. It make sme so sad that crafting has to be a competition. ….support, encouragement , just somewhere to chat about what you are doing is so important. Thank you for providing that place.

  2. Thank you, Gregory, for being that person who just enjoys sharing your craft with others who may be just beginning or who may have been knitting and crocheting all of their lives. Thank you that it doesn’t matter to you how “good” or experienced we are at this craft and how complicated our patterns may be. Thank you for being a champion and cheering on those of us who just knit or crochet for the joy of it and whose creations may be far from perfect. And thank you also for not joining in with the so-called elite, snotty people who look down on those who aren’t as advanced as they are or who are not constantly striving to get better, those of us who just enjoy crafting something simple. Personally, I’ve never understood the snottiness of those who only crochet and look down their noses at knitters or vice-versa. What the heck kind of perverse pleasure are they getting out of that and what’s the whole point of it? I just don’t get it. Anyway, thank you and Phillip for being our inspiration.

  3. What a good article, one of your best. I do not do knitting or crochet, but I do original needlepoint on blank canvas. I was told once that I would not be able to block one picture because I was using acrylic yarn, but it turned out just fine. I have been told that one should learn the rules concerning anything, once that was done, you could proceed to break them. I started out breaking the rules of needlepoint and all has turned out just fine.

  4. Thank you Gregory. Much needed the encouragement!

    P.s. Suggestion for Philip: Try crocheting the fragile bumpy stuff with another strand of regular yarn at the same time. 🙂

  5. I am a psychiatric social worker. One of the things I do is to promote activities that can help the people who hear voices (and for whom medication isn’t enough) or are full of anxiety get through their day. I have taught a number of people how calming some sticks and string can be (maybe not giant circular lace weight shawls but…..). It’s therapeutic.

    One of my folks has such severe psychosis that her voices break through the heavy duty medication she takes. She can’t knit or crochet. We started making gods eyes and she is now trying to weave pot holders. Are these beautiful, complicated crafts? No, but they come from the heart and that’s what matters. Every time. They get support and encouragement and a sense of accomplishment for finishing even a simple craft. This week, one woman is measuring her dog’s chest (which she finds hilarious) to make a sweater.

    I get as much thrill out of this as they do-probably more. I don’t let anyone tell them that their projects are anything less than perfect.

  6. I usually don’t comment- good or otherwise- and am annoyed at times with your posts, politics & all BUT NOT THIS TIME (caps. Intentional): I wholeheartedly agree & am at appalled that anyone would look down on anyone else because their efforts and achievements are not as slick. A+ for effort & doing the best with what you have been given: I’d rather encourage the one who tries something new than the one who cowers, afraid of the court of public opinion.
    Thank you for the reminder that life is about taking chances and hoping for the best.

  7. I’ve been knitting a long time – decades, in fact. I make no bones about the fact that I’m not remotely interested in any sort of competition with anyone else. I knit because I do sell things once in awhile, or things get donated to charity for those who are in need, or as gifts for friends and family. I have other crafts that I work at as well. I do not consider myself a “professional” I am an artisan/craftsman. Could I teach someone else to do what I do, sure, if they wanted to learn, but it won’t be by the “rules” set down by a bunch of better-than-thou types who look down their noses at anyone who doesn’t do things their way. It is the people who just try stuff, “outside the box”, against the rules, who move craft and art forward. I think it must be very sad to be so attached to your rules and methods that you can’t even accept that someone else is more than capable of doing as well or better than you can at whatever craft you practice. You’re so right, Gregory! Grab your needles, crochet hooks, needles, paint brushes, carving knives or whatever and do what you do, love doing it, make things and let the rule keepers be the miserable people they want everyone else to be.

  8. Your words are so important and timely. Which is one of the reasons I encourage participation in a local yarn group. If you only follow online sources and/or people who do this for a living – it’s just too much to keep up with. Plus the online stuff can be a time sucker. I find so much support and genuine encouragement within my peers in my local group. Such diversity of interests and projects. We each do our own thing and it’s glorious. I love my online resources, but I’ll be darned if I will be goaded into knitting brioche just because it’s the current rage.

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