Wednesday, November 05, 2014


I was recently told that I should go back to school to learn something about fashion.

I understand fashion as a status display.  I know that at it's best, it is a combination of excellence in design, materials, craftsmanship, and - marketing. I understand the delicate balance between the arty desire for something new, and the demands of functionality and wearability. I have been in the sweaty circles of designers pushed to go too far; and, the production of collections that lack wearability.

That is not the kind of stuff that I knit. (I would never admit to sacrificing wearablity for novel design effects!!)

I am more likely to knit something that you would want to wear when sailing, or hiking, or skiing, or while tending ewes that are lambing in a blizzard, or when you are checking on the neighbors during a hurricane, or restoring power after an ice storm, or shoveling the driveway after a snow-storm or gathering wood to keep the wood stove going and the house from freezing..  Oh, you do not do these things? So what!  You are not dead yet.  You may need to do something like them in the future.  In which case, you will need warm fuzzies.  Then, think of me, and knit them.  It is not fashion, it is knitting.  Not all knitting is about fashion.

I was told that the stuff I knit is far too tight to be considered good knitting.  However, I see QEII at Balmoral wearing sweaters knit just as tightly as I knit.  If the Queen can wear it, I can knit it. Scottish castles are cold drafty places. No matter how many heaters and tapestries there are, warm fuzzies are welcome.

A well knit object is one that fits its purpose.  Sometimes the purpose is to show skin, and sometimes the purpose is to keep the skin warm.  The good knitter knits objects that serve their purpose.  I always knit to serve a purpose.  Everything that I knit is designed for a particular range of temperatures and conditions. Mostly, tightly knit 5-ply makes a nice 3-season sweater for local  conditions, and spring/fall wear in the Sierra. ( We closed Buckeye Campground, and it was a little  cool.) Winter in the Sierra wants 6 or 8 ply.  Summer in the Slot wants 10 -ply.  Thus, I choose the sweater to match the conditions.

I started knitting because I wanted warmer woolies.  Anyone that finds fault with that does not understand cold.  She says, "I live in Canada, I understand cold!"  No!  Living in a tent in cold weather or  fishing for cod on a fine April day off of Fortress Louisbourg will give you a whole new understanding of  the value of warm woolies.


Anonymous said...

Aaron stop being an ass who has to put others down. Where she lives is cold. I grew up in the high Sierra and also know cold and would not want to wear the sweaters I had for skiing indoors nor do I want to wear them most winter days in the Bay Area. So shut up about it and admit that you live in the San Francisco Bay Area where it rarely dips into the low 20s. And if you are really knitting for yourself, do that and don't judge others for what they knit or spin or whatever.

Anna said...

Wow, you spent a weekend IN APRIL fishing, and you understand cold? By that logic, if you were short on groceries the day before grocery-shopping day must mean you understand what it was like to live through the Great Depression.

Spend a winter - or even one month - living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Not April. Try January or February. Then (and only then) you may have some credibility in knowing what cold actually is. April anywhere in Canada does not count as "cold", not truly.

Anonymous said...

She says, "I live in Canada, I understand cold!" No! Living in a tent in cold weather or fishing for cod on a fine April day off of Fortress Louisbourg will give you a whole new understanding of the value of warm woolies.

Okay, firstly - who the fuck are you talking about? And why on earth are there even more random references in your blog?

Secondly, how naive are you to say 'no' to this person... are you under the misconception that Canada isn't cold? What makes you think that existing in a tent in April is the equivalent of spending at least 5 months a year in sub-zero temperatures? I'd love to know your response to this, you cannot be for real.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason why you moderate the comments on your blog is because you know that there are going to be more negative responses than positive to your posts. In fact, I know that's the reason why you moderate your posts.

If you get such a negative response, why do you think that is? Why do you think you get a negative response on your blog and when you post on ravelry? Do you believe that everyone must be wrong because you're so right? Or maybe the world is somehow conspiring against you?

I'm sure you've heard this before, but you truly are the epitome of condescension. You believe your opinion is fact, and the problem is, is that you're wrong. And unapologetically rude and mean.

You are not as smart as you claim to be, and you're certainly not as accurate as you claim either. You're a douche.

Anonymous said...

Your anti-fashion thing is so bogus. Knitting doesn't ever have to be either/or. In the early '60s I knitted a ski sweater. It was an update of an old Norwegian stranded stitch pattern and gorgeous - worsted weight burgundy background with rose-colored Art Nouveau roses. I wore it skiing all over the Cascades in WA and OR, and British Columbia; and the Rockies in Alberta, MT, ID, UT & CO, for 10 years in rain, sleet, snow, wind, and below zero. With a parka in nasty weather and in sunshine without. I never slept in the snow wearing it because that would be a stupid waste of skiing time. The only time I remember being a little cold while wearing it was sitting on a mile long chairlift at Whistler in a sleet storm with the wind blowing so hard they had to stop the lift because the empty chairs were slamming into the uprights. But I had the good sense to be wearing a parka so I was totally dry.

And I wore it when I was not skiing too - a lot. It was lovely.

Aaron said...

What did you wear under that sweater? What did you wear over it?

My purpose was to test sweaters for warmth. Sailors needed a minimum bulk, minimum weight garment. Sailors did not have a place to stash layers as they labored for hours in the rigging.

Mostly, sailors did not face extraordinary cold, but they did face huge wind chill factors. I was testing to see if a single sweater could protect against huge wind chill.

Sailors wearing one sweater would have been working for hours in conditions that will make empty chairlift chairs slam into the uprights. Sailors were not the skiers that can go to the lodge to get a cup of hot chocolate, they were the guys who went out and worked in the weather all day, every day.

Anonymous said...

So tell us what those sailors wore and provide some real evidence, because I'm willing to bet you're fantasising as usual.