Friday, January 29, 2010

More than One Option

Hi Ducklings--I'm back! Didja miss me? Cairo was awesome. I'll be writing about the trip details over at Hedgehog Librarian if anyone feels the need to wade through it again with me.  

I was thinking a couple days ago about the difference between new things as generally received in the knitting world as opposed to new things in the technology world. It was difficult not to with the advent of the new Ipad from Apple. Immediately I started hearing it called a "Kindle Killer" among other things, though reviews are mixed and I doubt we'll have a clear picture in anything less than six months to a year. I wonder if Jeff Bezos is nervous?

And then I thought about the knitting world and the sharp contrast of how if I published a newly designed pattern or pattern book tomorrow, it wouldn't render other patterns "dead" nor would I be a "killer." I might have an awesome new technique but it's rare that one technique (beyond the knit stitch, which in and of itself can be done multiple ways if one considers throwing vs. picking) will work for every single item we're working on between now and the end of knitting time.

Knitting doesn't have an expiration date, as Franklin Habit likes to point out with the Victorian patterns he translates and updates for us, or other older patterns he genially mocks. If it did we wouldn't be searching for old lace patterns, historical socks, etc.  We wouldn't be drawing on Alice Starmore and Elizabeth Zimmerman and obscure lace patterns from parts of Europe that have changed names a few times over the past centuries. 

Certainly there will seemingly everyday be new big things:  Clapotis, Cat Bordhi's latest book, a Wollmeise update. And these things will come and go in popularity. But the craft of knitting is timeless and even most patterns are*. I think this may be enhanced by the fact that knitting is considered (though not historically) a women's craft and women tend to collaborate more than we compete**. However it comes about, I'm pleased to be a part of something where we grow collectively and progressively without the inherit smacking down, beating, or triumphing over others within the craft. 

In case anyone was wondering, I'm not an Apple girl, I've had PCs forever and expect to as the computers I have meet my needs. With 90% of what I do being Web-based, I'm looking more for functionality in Firefox than I am on the Linux/Windows/Mac platform. I have a Sansa mp3 player, two IBM Thinkpads (freelance laptops) and a sturdy desktop that some guys in a little shop in Queens built me a few years ago when my Not-My-Boyfriend or Roommate fried the motherboard of my last desktop. I don't have any issues for or against Apple.  But I have the tools I have and right now--I'd rather spend money on wool.  


* We of course make exceptions for really horrible intarsia sweaters or 80s power sweaters, though even those seem to be back in vogue again.
** Usual caveat of yes, men used to do this, yes women compete, etc etc so on and so forth.

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