there appears to be quite the epidemic going around… wanting to knit EVERYTHING right now, as proven by the comments to my last post.
in my wanting to knit everything and being inspired by patterns i see… i got to thinking once again about designers knitting other people’s patterns. a while ago there was a thread about this in the ravelry forums in which a bunch designers said they never knit other people’s patterns. here, i would like to make a brief rant in defense of knitting others patterns.
first of all, i believe that knitting from patterns allows for relaxation. this is one of the main reasons why many people i know knit. knitting is relaxing and meditative and we tap that directly when we find a beautiful, ingenious pattern and knit it. there is value in the act of just stitching. by only designing your own patterns, you may be robbing yourself of this essential part of knitting and disconnect yourself from the people who might actually knit your patterns.
personally, as a designer, knitting from someone else’s pattern allows me to examine and appreciate the ingenuity of other people. granted, i mostly knit from other’s patterns for family and friends and mostly around the holidays, but i still do it. it would be a total shame if i’d never knit an elizabeth zimmermann baby surprise jacket, or lovely historical colorwork.
knitting from many patterns allows us to connect with the continuity of history. there is value to knitting the same patterns for the same practical purposes as our grandmothers or grandfathers. i make mittens to keep my hands warm and so did they. we make seaman’s caps because they are super warm, a lesson from the past. as a designer, this also allows my knitting to have more depth, a historical referent and an echo throughout time.
and the last reason i believe in dropping my work and knitting from patterns is because it provides us with community. this wonderful blogging community would not be much at all if we didn’t have common knits. i now realize the value of writing down or sharing patterns. as an english major with a teaching degree, i firmly believe that reading helped kids to empathize with and understand people and the world around them. the knitting version of this statement is that i firmly believe that knitting common patterns puts us on common ground. not only do we stitch, we stitch some of the same things and some of the same patterns. as a designer, by writing down patterns i may be going in one direction on this, but by taking a break and knitting from someone else’s pattern i am becoming a part of the community.
yes, in this blog i get comments on my artsy knitting and people like looking at what i make, but i get way more comments when i knit something that has been knit a thousand times before. people might understand ‘hat’ as a basic, but knitters, they understand ‘koolhaus hat’ much better.