Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Yarn of a New Era

Jolene just wrote the following in a blog post:

"Why is it that our primary consideration is that the yarn is not fine and that it is quick and fast? Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that this type of knitting is "“bad"”. But I am saying it should not be at the top of every single list."

I'm with you Jolene! I love to work with fine yarns. I can do much more with a pattern at a higher gauge. It can be compared to the resolution on a digital camera, or the fidelity on a stereo system. I know some people appreciate fine yarns. Sock knitters for instance. Lace makers.

I believe that the era of the fun fur yarn is dead, and we are beginning to see the dawn a new era of novel construction. Witness such designs as the Sunrise Jacket.

Then there's Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature book.

There are sock designs that are re-inventing how we look at the construction of the sock. From the first toe-up sock, to Elizabeth Zimmerman's arch shaping on the bottom of the foot, to the new Cat Bhordi gusset construction on the top of the foot (in Vogue Knitting). And there's modular knitting, and sideways knit scarves, and the Mason Dixon Log Cabin and Mitered Squares blankets. You could probably name a bunch more.

I think the modern knitter wants to knit something interesting. Fun fur scarves will always have a place on our needles, because they make great gifts and are simple to do. Also, we will always love a yarn that brings us a new experience. There are natural fibers that do this: silk, linen, hemp and bamboo. Then there are new spinning techniques that added feathers, or beads right into the yarn. And there is a whole world to explore in hand painted yarns. But I think we are seeing a trend that moves beyond getting our kicks from the yarn into exploring new construction for designs.


  1. Those fish mittens are way too cute! I, too, love fine yarns, but then I also love garter stitch. It seems there is a different yarn for a different mood! Isn't it wonderful that there are those yarns there for every knitter and every mood! Having Jo with me in the shop made me realize just how lucky I am to have access to all these fibrey delights.

  2. I think there is a time and place for every yarn. I also think that knitting trends go hand in hand with the fashion of the day. However, we knitters tend to like what we like. So, I for one will take advantage of the new lace / fingering weight yarns that are becoming more readily available with the resurgence of lace knitting.

  3. Anonymous9:01 pm

    your fishes look great on display!!

  4. I agree - that's what has me so excited about knitting!