The Clip: February 11, 2014

Something clicked this week: I shear, knit, and help with a wool mill, but spinning has been the missing piece. For whatever reason, I picked up my (previously despised, frustrating) drop spindle two days ago and signed up for a spinning class in March at Verb. This is why my husband called me a “prolific producer of hobbies” yesterday.

Knitting is a Right, Not a Privilege
If you read one thing about knitting this week, let it be this post from an American knitter in Bulgaria on why Knitting is a Right, Not a Privilege. It is insightful writing on craft, class, consumerism and the ways in which capitalism makes craft a luxury.

Here are some of my favorite snippets to serve as click bait:

“But if we only talk about those who knit purely for pleasure, and spend top dollar on materials, we leave most crafters out of the conversation. We create a false binary of “regular” clothes, which are supposed to be cheap and fast, and “handmade,” which are costly and slow. This binary excludes most people from access to well-made clothes, and more importantly, from developing the skills to make clothing themselves.”

And: “Instead of consumers, people were crafters, and had access to quality because they had the skills and time to make it themselves. At some point, the forces of capitalism decided that we were better off devoting those crafting hours to waged labor instead, and that in a society with no personal, unmonetized time, quality would be available to those who could pay for it. As wages fall and jobs become more competitive and demanding, many people are too busy to even sit down for all their meals, let alone pursue creative, fulfilling activities. Handknit clothing is becoming a luxury item, because the time it takes to make is a luxury.”

Wool for Trendy Clothing from Dillon Ranch
This is not my first (or last) post to mention Duckworth Wool, because Duckworth deserves every bit of attention and money we can give them: Duckworth makes outdoor clothing that is grown, spun, knit and sewn entirely in the United States. This is a story about the ranch and business creation behind Duckworth and connects textile design with breed selection: “We shear wool on the ranch and sort for different attributes correlated with different types of fabric and products that Duckworth will make.” They point out how the overseas supply chain is “cumbersome and expensive” and I may need to steal their “sheep to shelf” phrasing for the wool book I’m writing.

Open Source Heavy Machinery
A bit off topic, perhaps, but I couldn’t help but wonder what this open source heavy machinery effort might mean for wool and textile development. Hmmm. The story contains the rhetoric you’d expect from New York business writers, like not knowing that a “bucket of waste” in the kitchen is a compost bucket like so many Californians have, but take it with a grain of salt and read through it for the neat ideas, the profiles of intelligent folks questioning everything, and the courage of people working hard to make change (unlike most entities featured in Bloomberg). The story includes a link to the very cool Open Source Ecology site.

In Photos: Rare Breed of Lake District Sheep
My mother lives in the northwest of England, not too far from the Lake District where we’ve enjoyed some of the most stunning hikes (“walks,” in local parlance). Now you can see the sheep we see there along the footpaths. The Lake District is every bit as lovely as these photos imply.

Perfect Potato Storage
I am descended from Polish people. As such, I believe I could live on potatoes and pickles (though they’re even better together in the Polish favorite, dill pickle soup). Is it any wonder I feel called to make this perfect potato storage crate?
Pro Polish Tip: If you make the dill pickle soup recipe, add the sour cream at the very end instead, after you’ve turned the heat off. Otherwise, the sour cream will break.

Knit on through all things and claim your craft time,

Stephany

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