There must be 500 new knitting books being published this Spring. And 475 of them have the word "young," "cool," "hip," or "easy" in the title.
I don't know about you, but Courtney and I are sick of it. We're sick of people claiming that what they do is "not your grandmother's knitting," as if there was something wrong with our grandmother's knitting.
(Hey, publishers--stop insulting my grandmother. I know that's not what you're trying to do, but I've had it. Eve Plotnick and Dorothy Myers were women of skill, patience, resourcefulness, and creativity. And if you think I'll ever think better of anything you're showing me because you tell me it's unlike what they did or would do, you're way wrong.)
And we're sick of all the books that promise to deliver nothing but easy projects. Guess what? Knitting isn't difficult. In other parts of the world, 4-year-olds do it. Every person reading this--everyone capable of learning to use a computer to read a blog--is smart enough to do any kind of knitting we want.
Do you hear me, publishers? Stop calling us stupid. Every time you tell us that it's all so easy, we hear what you're really saying: "Knitting is so hard. Numbers are so scary. Let us hold your hand." Remember the uproar over the talking Barbie that said "Math is hard"? Same thing.
So here's the new policy at Rosie's: We're not going to order any more books that have "Easy" in the title. We've told our book distributor to take us off the "automatic" program that guarantees that we get every new title that comes down the line. There's too much out there, and too little of it is good. We'll still have books--lots and lots of books--but they're going to be the best of the new (like Knitting Nature) and all the old titles that you may not know if you haven't been knitting for 15 years. (There's a reissue of Sarah Don's The Art of Shetland Lace coming soon. That's a book we'll carry.) We'll choose a few beginner books--some people learn visually, some people prefer verbal explanation, etc.--and keep them, but we won't get all the "Everything you need to know to start knitting!" titles.
I'm not saying everything you knit has to be an epic project. Sometimes you need a quick baby hat for a gift, or you knit the same simple sock pattern again and again because it fits well and you can do it on autopilot. The first mitten you knit probably won't be some 10-color Latvian tour de force. There's nothing wrong with that.
But there is something wrong with letting a new knitter knit one superbulky garter-stitch scarf after another, until she thinks she can't do anything else. We've never done much of that at Rosie's. (All you folks who've taken our Beginners Knitting class: do you have any idea how unusual it is to be knitting a hat in the round, using double-pointed needles, in your first knitting class? Call a friend who learned to knit in Kalamazoo or Los Angeles [Celebrity Scarves, anyone?] and ask her what her second project was.) So you guys are already ahead of the curve.
But now we're going to challenge you to take it a step further. We're going to challenge you, in fact, to challenge yourselves. We're going to give you every opportunity to do something new: to explore a traditional form like Fair Isle in depth, or to try something entirely unfamiliar like crochet.
I'm not saying we know everything there is to know about every single technique. For some stuff, we'll be learning right along with you (needle-felting, anyone?). But there's so much great stuff out there--you've seen it in books, you've seen it on blogs. And there are books about how to do things, and people to call for advice.
And you know what? We're smart people. We can figure it out.