Friday, September 10, 2004

No Knitting, But Still a Knitty Day

I haven't knit a stitch today, but my day was filled with knitting none-the-less.

First, as you all know by now, the new Knitty is out. I pretty much love the same things you all do: Zigzag and Blaze. I will not post pictures, because a lot of other people have, and you can find it yourself, by clicking on the link. But I will post one picture - Don't forget the hat!
I'm so in love. Must...not...buy...more...yarn!

I will also be polite and refrain from railing on the patterns I don't like. (and believe me, I could, and how!) However, I think this is an opportune time for me to expound on my feelings regarding "knitwear designers" vs. "clothing designers" and what difference it makes.

Designing a good knitting pattern does NOT start with knowing how to knit, or even knowing how to write a pattern. It begins with a good sense of design. A good sense of color. A good sense of proportion. A knitwear designer should first be a clothing designer, and not the other way around. Too often I see patterns in popular publications (whom shall remain nameless, but YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!) that have obviously been designed by people who can knit, but have no clue about design. Do you know how I know? Because they look sloppy, they look unbalanced, they look chunky or blobby or "just not right". They are garments you would never find in a store. Any store, no matter how avant garde. Because they are badly designed. The pattern itself may be clear, and all the pieces may match up, it may be well executed, and the yarn may be of the highest quality, but the design itself is fundamentally flawed. It looks unprofessional. You can't design a decent knitwear pattern without being a decent clothing designer. Someday, when all my dreams come true, at gatherings such as Stitches, classes will be offered not just in knitting, but basic clothing design. It would be so helpful to so many.

I challenge myself almost every day, to try to keep things in perspective. I ask myself, when considering a pattern, "Do I like this because of the knitting, or because of the garment?" "What would I think if I saw this in a store?" That's the one that frequently gets me. There are many things I think would be fun to knit, but I would never buy them if given the opportunity. Why knit something I don't actually like? (Well, of course, gifts and charity come to mind, but you know what I mean.) We have some members here in the St. Louis Knitters Guild who have wandered so far from the path, they're never coming back, and they don't know they've strayed. We sit in the meetings with our jaws open, and we make pacts with each other - "If I ever make a vest with eyelash stripes and a fedora hat to match, just stab me with my number 9's and lay me to rest." We all know people in all crafts who have wandered off the path, following the bright light of "another project" or "I wonder if I could...?" and have left their taste behind. It's so easy to do. Especially when fuzz and sparkles are involved. It would be so pretty, wouldn't it?

-end of diatribe-

My friend Gwen and I went to a new yarn shop today (Knit One Weave Too in Edwardsville, IL), thinking there was a Grand Opening Party. After driving for 45 minutes, we arrived at a nearly empty store with one person sitting at a table doing a crossword puzzle. (We were a week early - oops!) We did our best to linger as long as possible, but really, it was more like a booth at Stitches than a store. Granted, it hasn't been open long, and I'm sure more inventory is on its way, but it was less than enticing. If it were down the street from me, I'd be a lot more excited, but it's a LONG drive (an hour if I started from home). I think it has potential, though. I saw some new yarns I haven't seen before, and I had a new experience. This is very exciting. For the first time, I saw a yarn, and knew what I wanted to do with it, and it wasn't someone else's pattern. It was my own unique idea. Something I'll have to dream up myself. The more it comes into focus, the more I know I can't afford it, and would never wear it, but you never know. It would make a lovely addition to Knitty. Funky and beautiful at the same time. (Based on Marilyn Monroe wardrobe, even!) I'll keep it to myself for now, but I'll just say that this whole thing happened because of the most beautiful silver rayon chenille I've ever seen. Yummy.

2 comments:

linda@yarnzilla.com said...

Hi, Beth! I just found your blog for the first time via Tipper's "Daily Fiber Therapy." Your finished sweater looks gorgeous on you. What do those ninnies at Master Knitter know, anyway? Look forward to adding your blog to my list of must-reads.

amy! said...

I am so with you on the design comment.

Sorry about Master Knitters. I knew there was a reason I've been procrastinating.