Friday, November 21, 2008

"Knitting Is Recession Proof" - Lion Brand CEO

I was checking my knitting-related email subscriptions, and while looking at a Lion Brand knit-along invite, I saw the link to a great article at the bottom of the page. Knitting Through A Downturn, published in the New York Times blog City Room, describes why Lion Brand is confident about opening a sophisticated yarn mega-outlet in Manhattan, the very first in the company's 140-year history.

I find it heartening that Lion Brand head David Blumenthal validates my feelings about knitting and knitting supplies. My favorite quotes:

“Knitting has always been recession-proof,” he explained. “In a recession, people are cocooning. So for $5 or $10 in yarn, you can have a great weekend and come away with a scarf that would cost $60 in a store."

"In this high-stress environment, people want to zone out with a skein of yarn,” he said. “Knitting reduces stress; it’s today’s yoga.”

So, so TRUE. For me, at least. Then I read the comments, which ranged from the snarky to the fuzzy ends of the spectrum. Yarn snobbery, like wine snobbery, is a funny thing. It adds stress to what was supposed to be a yoga thing.

Of course there are ideal yarns suggested for specific projects, but the price of yarns should not hamper creativity or the desire to learn. There are good reasons why these yarns are recommended for their qualities, which you want the finished product to express. If you spent USD 5-10 on an appropriate small project, or learning a new stitch in acrylic or other artificial fiber yarn, the pleasure of knitting alone makes that worth it. When you've gotten more experience and can afford higher-quality natural fiber yarns for specific projects, by all means invest. But there should always be something for the person who finds comfort in the activity of knitting, and the current financial situation weighs heavily on all knitters. I think companies like Lion Brand and similar value brands are doing the rest of us a favor by making knitting more accessible to and more affordable for everyone. Lion Brand itself would not have survived this long if it weren't doing something right.

You all know I buy online (auction ; websites) as well as from brick-and-mortar stores. I'm just so happy to have a CHOICE. And, ah, I choose not to be snarky, as my skills are not developed enough to survive a midnight raid from the Knitting Police. And also, taking oneself too seriously adds to one's anti-aging cream budget.

Thanksgiving is upon us, and as you contemplate the cost of your beautiful yarn, please send a blessing to show appreciation for all those people who breed the sheep, shear them, prep the fleece, plant and harvest and process the cotton/ flax/ soy/ bamboo, spin and dye the yarns, package them, market them, sell them, write patterns and books, create jobs and teach knitters/crocheters how to make all those wonderful, wearable and above all USEFUL gifts.

Relax. Enjoy. Spread the love. Elizabeth Zimmerman herself recommends that we "Knit on with confidence and hope, amid all crises."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Needles Clicking Again!

I know, it's strange when Knittipina is quiet. I was sick of the flu most of last week and spent last weekend trying to get the knitting groove back.

Spent some time spring cleaning too, and to my horror found three undocumented projects that never took off the ground. I promptly frogged them and rewound the yarn. Sometimes when you start something offhand and don't make notes of what you were planning to make, it's hard to get up the motivation to continue with it, especially since you can't remember what it's supposed to be or who it's for. They were left untouched for far too long.

I am looking evilly at my bookcase. Some of the old books there will be donated to a provincial library, to make space for my knitting books, stash and general paraphernalia. The spring cleaning will be thorough! Well, it will take a while, but I need to reorganize my little universe (reclaim rest space, reduce clutter, repurpose items, make space for items on my general wish list).

In the meantime, I continue with Mimi's cappuccino socks...