Friday, July 4, 2008

I'm so OVER knitting.

So here's the negative crusty cranky truth: I don't want to knit anything these days.

I tried knitting a sock and frogged it twice over its short life; I even started to make it into a sock monkey but ripped that back out after less than two inches on a leg. I have no enthusiasm for anything at all that I could be knitting. Reading about it in the knitting blogosphere (sorry, Adam) makes me even less enthused. It feels as if, the more people get into the knitting craze, the less excitement there is to go around and a little more gets sapped from me.

I've been knitting for, what, 31 years? Maybe more, since Gammy taught me and I struggled with ugly first knits that I no longer remember. I've gone through phases of scarves, hats (those were lots of fun), sweaters and more sweaters - some of them fabulous and complicated and beautiful, some failures but worthy experiments; some gifts for unappreciative recipients, which taught me whom not to bestow my gifts upon in future. I have knitted for money, which was better than I expected but not something I felt like keeping up with, and occasionally repaired knits for people too. I had a toy phase, a sock phase. I have designed several cool garments over the years for myself and others.

Last year I submitted two ideas to magazines: one to Knitty, my "dinocerouses," and one to Interweave Knits, a sweater that I really thought would be cool and hip. Both were rejected and this really pissed me off. I started noticing that IWK publishes a lot of designs by friends of editor Eunny Jang, and that annoyed the hell out of me. It probably happened all the time with the previous editor in chief but I wasn't reading blogs of enough people to make the personal connections then so I wasn't hip to it.

Several months ago, I was IMing with my friend "DS" about knitting projects and knitters in general. I had at the time finally started a Clapotis, the ubiquitous and much-lauded famous pattern from Knitty. It appears to be the most common project in all of Ravelry. I actually felt sort of out of the loop for not having made one when everybody else seemed to be in on some big trend. And DS exposed it for the Emperor's New Clothes that it really is - a rather silly, simple, big rectangle with the sexy imprimatur of a French name and the frisson of horrified excitement in dropping a column of stitches every X sts across. The wind went out of my sails after this conversation. I halfheartedly knit on it for about three more rows, I think, and then just gave up on it and ripped it out. It was a turning point for me, and not a happy one. I realized it's like there is this gigantic knitting club out there that I feel kind of disgusted by. I'm not a joiner! I don't want to go to SNB every Thursday night and I am not impressed by the dozens of socks that everybody is making. Socks are the snack food of the knit world. They are glorified swatches. They seem hard because they are on smaller needles but they are actually kind of ridiculously easy, portable, quick, instant gratification. Give me a sweater coat, or a sweater on size 3s with a traveling cable, an Aran that you designed yourself, something that took some love!

I've sat in thousands of meetings over the years knitting sweaters that I showed up wearing, later, and got kudos for. I wish I felt like doing anything like those sweaters now. Maybe it's the summer heat. I don't know. When I go to meetings these days I'm working on a lace scarf (Juno, a pattern that I actually did get from Knitty, even though I hate them since they rejected my lovely dinos), but it holds no satisfaction for me. It's too lightweight, and I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything. Also, and I do adore Sundara yarns, but this one I'm using for the lace is a very unsatisfactory yarn for me (one which she actually refunded me my money for because she didn't have a replacement skein). It's from her Seasons club (which itself felt a little unfulfilling, like a small plate of hors d'oeuvres when you are famished for a big steak); I saw on Ravelry that other people's skeins of this yarn were shot through with a more intentional-seeming color variety than mine, which looks like it was a mistake skein. Why I keep going with it I don't know. It's something to knit in meetings, which keeps me from picking my cuticles during the hour.

I've had times in the past when I didn't feel like knitting, and things picked up again, so I'm not ready to throw in the towel entirely on this. I adore knitting, and I love yarn. I've been spinning a fair amount, not enough to put up much on my Etsy store, but still a decent amount. And clearly (from my last post) I'm still excited about fiber. But this feeling of being on the outside of a big excited dumb club that I don't really want to join but still feel excluded from, has been bothering me for a long time now, and I've never written about it because I don't want to seem negative. But I finally have to say something. The more people get excited about knitting, the more it drives me away!

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