Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The fourth Element

Who would have thought it? Radio four, the home of Serious Radio, The Today Program, The Infinite Monkey Cage, programs on science, outdoor pursuits, documentaries, finance, was appealing to knitters to post pictures of knitted items that represented their programs. And in January there were interviews and whole programs too - all about knitting. So much fun.

Now this brightens up a winter day, gorgeous Malabrigo on sale at A Yarn Story Bath

But is that all we knitters are? a bit of fun, a bit of fluff? Something to cheer the serious folk up, like clowns on a grey January day?  

Something that keeps me warm designed by Alanis Dakos knitted by me in delicious silk and Alpaca  yarn from La Drougherie

Well we got knitted vegetables, a Jenny Murray and the bull trampling poor old miserable Tony Archer. It seems this is R4's view on what knitting, if it is not 'granny knitting' is all about.  The items they added to their Pinterest board and their website  included a tiny bit of unraveled knitting (Loose Ends) and some slugs (Gardeners Question Time). As well as the whimsy there was a nod to 'grannies' who knit for their grandchildren and an interview on The Today program with an Artist who knitted provocative statements into her sweaters, a Grayson Perry of knitting if you like.

Wonderful Porpoise Fur Fibre in The Red Woman colourway

But there was something missing.

Where were the Indy dyers? The knitters who love hand-dyed specialist fires? Spinners who choose fibre by the breed of sheep? And designers and makers of truly wearable art?  In fact where were all those wonderful people out there who inhabit that space where craft meets art?  Now I have to admit I was miffed that the hat I designed was not featured but that's not the point really.  The point is there are so many people out there who would have followed a similar thought process* to me, and probably have posted similar knitted objects but None Were Featured

My Waterlily from Spring Pompom Mag in fabulous Islington from Kettle Yarn Co

So what is the difference between granny knitting (as defined by R4) and whimsical fruit, vegetables and slugs? By my lights both are fine, if that's what floats your boat.  But I wouldn't really want to wear the former or display the latter.  It's fine too to knit sweaters with radical slogans on them, though if I could afford it I would take a Grayson Perry piece instead, every time. But why do those who influence our opinions ignore those of us who knit something that is (to conflate Wm Morris a little) BOTH useful and beautiful?

something I designed (and knitted) earlier in Rowan Kidsilk Haze

I realise I'm talking to the converted here, those who read this blog are a kindly crew of non-knitting friends who like my work and knitters who also appreciate the Useful & Beautiful. But how about a new campaign for February? Most weeks the figures for hits on this blog reach 500, if you are reading this you can help, specially if you are on Twitter.  So if you would like to have some fun and join in a campaign to have people recognise what we do as something very special, here are a few suggestions...

On Twitter - Using two hash tags, #knitR4 and #beautyandutility and tagging @BBCRadio4, post photographs of fibres, yarns and knitted objects that illustrate  the fourth way. 

On your blog - If you blog write about something useful and beautiful and tweet the link with the hash tag.  You can also link to other knitters and dyers. The photographs I have used today include some of my favourite indy practitioners

In the comments here -  please give a shout out to your favourite indy crafter

Wonderful Countess Ablaze whose last years colours were inspired by the Twelve Caesars (this one  is Too Many Rulers Are A Dangerous Thing)

My promise is that I will visit your blogs, comment and retweet your tweets, let's make this big and make the media aware of the full picture

My Suggestions for #beautyandutility awards? - its all in the photographs (the links are there too).  And then there are Asa Tricosa and Kate Davies for their amazing design work.  I could go on... And on...



At Prick Your Finger special purchases are wrapped in vintage paper patterns

*My process is just mine and not a set of instructions but here it is. 

1. Inspiration, person, poem, place
2. Deciding, what shal I make, shawl, hat etc. what do I want to say, theme, technique
3. Thinking, this takes almost as long as making
4. Designing
5. Choosing yarn ( unless this is the inspiration then it's at 1)
6. Begin to knit
7. Don't be afraid to change your plans as you knit
8. Take photographs

My Mother-in-laws go-to pattern for a baby shawl knitted in more grown up colours


Beaker Button said...

Love Rosie's Moments and Unbeliva-wool.

Catherine said...

I've just checked them out, I like Rosie's moments, Unbeleva wool's shop is empty so I'll have to keep my eye out for when she stocks up again!

Mary Lou said...

I rarely tweet, but I'll try to remember to. I like the 4th Way. My favorite Indy yarn person and yarn -

Anita said...

Don't worry about what people might say about knitters....just remember when winter, especially, is upon us, who can knit up those in season clothing items that everyone else wishes they had.....for half the price even!!!! Knitter's rule!!!! lol
Cheers, Anita.