Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Socktober Struggles

Ooofff. That, in case it isn't coming across so well in written form, is a big sigh. Ooofff again. This sock is a struggle.
Here we have a provisional cast on that won't unzip. I'm sure it's not the first, I'm sure it won't be the last but I just wish it wasn't on my blessed needles! I plucked up the courage to try and unzip it last week - ha think again - I seem to have done what I expressly tried to avoid doing and knitted into the crochet loop rather than the bump at the back. Whatever I did I can't release the monster so need to painstakingly unpick the wretched thing. Can you tell I don't have the energy for that at the moment?

For consolation I cast on for the sock equivalent of a big, comfy hug: simple pattern (top down), luscious (DK) yarn and big needles. These, in contrast to the sock sulking in the corner, have flown along and I shall soon have Jess' Christmas gift of guilt all done.I've been having a struggle with some blog reading too lately, for a moment I feared that my love of gentle arts and writing inane posts about them had turned me into some kind of anti-feminism, capitalism crazed construct with no moral or social responsibility.

This is clearly because I spend too little time knitting and too much time surfing the internet. I've been reading lots of interesting reactions to the publication of The Gentle Art of Domesticity. A lot of it is well thought out and real food for thought; a lot of it sadly not.

Personally, as is clear, I'm a fan of the book and the blog. I was therefore pleased to see the lazy and predictable accusations of anti-feminism die down relatively quickly. More interesting to me (as they have mainly come from within the online crafting community) have been the discussions on Jane Brocket's presentation of a highly privileged lifestyle as being too out of touch with reality to be palatable.

I've thought about this a lot as I've always read a deep appreciation for her privileges in Jane's writing - for me it is about a joyous celebration of the best of her domestic life, the opportunities she has been given and making time to hold small things up to the light and get the sense of pleasure and achievement from them that they merit.

In the end my disquiet with many of the comments boils down to the assumptions made, the criticisms built on these shaky foundations and the fact that anyone who has the time and resource to be a crafting blogger is by my definition privileged. I can't help but think of pots and kettles. We all make choices to allow us these luxuries in our life; for some it is easier than others but is there any lessening in the value of Jane's work because we may perceive the materials have been too easily won?

Hurrah at the end of the day for the freedom of speech, for the diversity of crafty bloggers and for the intelligence with which I have seen weighty issues considered; I'm glad to have got my opinions on this down here but, when all is said and done this is what crafting and blogging is about for me and I believe that is enough.

8 comments:

Queen of the froggers said...

That is always the same problem that I have with those cast ons. I do like the DK socks, which yarn have you used for them?
I liked reading your thoughts on Janes book, and you are so right about making things nice, and that blog is great that you linked to!

Veronique said...

I often end up picking out the crochet cast-on stitch by stitch... Also, it only unzips in one direction. It should become easier with practice though, right?
I've been hearing a lot of discussions spurred by Jane Brocket's book. Based on your reaction, I don't know if I ever want to read it!

Charity said...

Grrr, that provisional cast on can be a real pain. I find it very interesting that so many people feel that Jane's book comes from a place of luxury and prosperity that they don't have. Growing up in my own home, we practised many of these arts, largely because of budget reasons, and needing simple, beautiful ways to entertain children and enhance our home. :0)

Seahorse said...

"anyone who has the time and resource to be a crafting blogger is by my definition privileged"

How true. I'm not totally comfortable with Jane and her (apparantly) perfect lifestyle but agree there is a fair old amount of hypocrisy in those uber-critical diatribes that have cropped up recently.

Hope you can sort out the infernal sock!

Curly Cable said...

I've only ever done that type of cast on once, and found it really frustrating, although I do like the idea of these toe-up socks with no grafting to do at the end. I love your DK socks though, they look lovely and such pretty colours too. Thanks for the link to Jane's book, sounds like an interesting read and the blog you linked too is great!

JudyMac said...

small pair of scissors, cut each crochet loop seperately, catch knit stitch before it runs...

Lucy Neatby has great info on that cast on in one of her Socks dvds.

I like the idea of DK socks, nice boot socks.

I haven't read the book in question, but feel that I might enjoy it. I am an engineer, but love cooking and crafts myself.

Piglottie said...

Oh hun! And you're knitting in a dark colour which is hard on the eyes. I find that if I use a thick cotton (like the cheap cotton you can buy for dishcloths) it makes seeing the bumps easier. And I follow Eunny's instructions http://www.eunnyjang.com/knit/2006/03/majoring_in_lace_part_iv.html - invisible crochet cast on 2. She advises to put a knot in the end you are meant to unravel first which I find really helps too. But Jess' Christmas socks are looking wonderful.

I haven't read the book (its on my wishlist) and luckily haven't seen any of the criticisms. To me, its all about choices. I'm an intelligent woman and want to spend my spare time crafing and enjoying those simple pleasure in life, like making cupcakes and chutney. If you dont (we are talking the general you here of course), it doesn't matter to me but please dont imply that what I'm doing is wrong. I think working all the hours God sends and then spending all weekend shopping til you drop rather drab, but I dont thinks its wrong. Oh dear, I seem to have written a tome...

dreamcatcher said...

Thanks for your thoughts on the book and the comments around it. I always feel that you cannot assume or extrapolate anything about a person and their circumstances simply through reading what they choose to blog about. It's glimpses into a life, not the full picture. I appreciate reading everyone's experiences with their crafting as it does make the world a nicer place :-)

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