We only hurt ourselves

I'm not even going to have the subconsciously self-aggrandizing "I haven't been writing here in so long" bit, because it's not as if anyone is clamoring for my words and it's also not as if I've had anything very important to say as of late.

I know, I'm supposed to pretend I do, even if I don't. But I don't! I've just been super busy. That hat pattern for Knitty? It's basically done, but I had to set it aside for now because it's a time gobbler and I can't deal with having all my time gobbled at the moment. babyKNITS? I'm ashamed to say I had to set those aside for the month, although they are officially going out in the mail this week.

I just got a new, paying job that has been in the works for the last two months, and it's certainly a time gobbler but that is a very good thing. That's all I can or will say about it for the moment. Suffice it to say, I'm super excited and can't wait for it to officially start rolling.

At the same time, I'm designing a pair of fingerless mitts for a post-apocalyptic knitting collection, which is right up my alley. I'm submitting them tomorrow and hopefully they will be accepted, but I only found out about the challenge last weekend so I have been furiously knitting and frogging all week trying to get it done.

So why am I writing here, if I have no time?

Well, because I'm pissed. And when I'm pissed, I suddenly have all the time in the world.

This little industry is just that: little. It is certainly growing, against all odds (all odds being a bad economy for 'hobbies', the notion that this is a little ol' lady hobby, and the sad fact that many yarn shops can't stay open in this economic climate). Thank the gods for ravelry with its 2 million plus membership and absurdly fantastic interface (it might seriously be the best website of all time in its depth and usability); thank the gods for all the fantastic magazines, both online and print, for knitters and crocheters; and thank the gods for designers and yarn dyers and producers for keeping the industry fresh and vibrant. You are all doing an amazing job and if you haven't been told that before, I'm telling you now: keep up the good work, you are all awesome.

So the last thing we need is a naysayer, ammaright? I'm totally right.

A few months back I posted about Olek, a Polish crocheter who guerilla-crochets her way around neighborhoods and over fixtures, all for the sake of 'art' and 'expression'.

© Olek
First of all, let me say that I think what she does is astonishing and obviously requires a lot of hard work and commitment. And it's unparalleled in terms of graffiti knit-crocheting—no one else is yarn bombing like this, and for that she should be applauded.

However, and this is my big, fat however which you should read as somewhat laced with venom, surprise, and disgust, however, I'm officially embarrassed and appalled by the things she says, and after my recent coverage of her, I feel the need to separate myself from all things Olek.

Listen, I always thought she was a little weird. She is a little weird. Or a lot weird, depending on how polite you want to be. But I never thought she was rude.

You don't go on the Huffington Post and say "knitting is for pussies" after you've been called "the Tracey Emin of knitting". I get it; the interviewer made a faux pas and mistook crocheting for knitting, but is it really necessary to piss off well over half of the fiber community with a statement like that? You are one stick away from being a knitter, just as I am one hook away from being a crocheter.

I really wanted to completely go off here about how this type of divisiveness is not all too different from the way women tear each other down despite the fact that the world does that for us already, but I don't want to bore everyone with stuff they know. This is like when we call each other fat or ugly. We shouldn't be making it easier to tear us apart. It's as if we live in this neighborhood of buildings that someone desperately wants to blow up, and we go in and weaken all the reinforcements just to make it easier for them to destroy our homes.

I hate to break it to Olek, but one of the giant, neon-lit reasons why she is gaining such a following is because knitting and crocheting have become so mainstream popular. People are yarnbombing everywhere. And knitters are doing it too. I hate to then crush into irreparable bits what I've just broken to her, but there are people who are yarnbombing simply to beautify their surroundings and because they find it fun and relaxing—no deeper message here, beyond joy. But it's still art. And they are knitting and crocheting at home, for themselves, for the same reason. And it's still art. And there are some that are designing and knitting and crocheting to pay their bills, and while Olek might not think that equates to higher art, I can pretty confidently say that any knitter or crocheter meditating on their work can claim a connection to the godhead. That's how transformative it is to make anything with your hands. So try not to crap on for-profit work, other artists, and knitting in general, because it's really harshing our mellow. 
I challenge anyone to say that this isn't as gorgeous a work of art as covering a room in crochet:

© Kate Davies
It might even be more artful, and certainly more beautiful, in my opinion. It looks like a Mandelbrot, fer chrissakes!

Ok, I've kicked the soapbox away. Let us end on a happy note. 

For more beautifully intricate knitting, check out Kate Davies' website. She also produces a fantastic e-zine called Textisles, which explores the history of knitting and comes with a free pattern with purchase. She's an artist I admire.

And be sure to check out Tracy Emin's work as well—I would be more than thrilled to be called the Tracy Emin of anything!

Happy knitting and crocheting!



  1. Amen! Seriously, well-said. Don't even get me started on Olek...ha.

  2. has she gone after you too?? apparently some poor girl was inspired by her work and posted some of her crochet bombing to Olek's fb page, and Olek chewed her out. I just don't get it.