I Knit London Tweets

Saturday, October 18, 2008

So, why do you knit? It's rubbish!

Here at IKL HQ we get requests for all sorts of things. Do we want to be interviewed on such-and-such a TV programme? Radio? Internet? Would we be intersted in advertising in a certain magazine, or writing a short article about knitting....? Then there's the whole, "can you knit this?" for us, in a day or two for 20 quid? Usually if it's for the telly we'll have a go, but we've turned down Fonejacker, BBC's Oliver Twist, and BSkyB in the past year...the request to knit a hat for each of the Premiership's football managers, in team colours, with the face of each manager intarsiaed into the design of each hat, and with a deadline of 'a few days', still ranks as our favourite "one that got away"!

Anyway, this week we had two requests. One for an interview on the radio and one for advertising. To me it summed up the way that knitting has started to cross the usual boundaries and how it now appeals to people across a huge spectrum. On Wednesday Gerard was interviewed for Kerrang! radio...about knitting? I think they'll probably use the interview to take the piss (the very first question was, "So, why do you knit? It's rubbish", which almost made G hang up straight away), but I suppose it's the man thing. Even if Jonathan Ross calls it the new rock 'n' roll (yawn) and Johnny Borrell namechecks Stitch 'n' Bitch, I still don't think Kerrang listeners are quite ready for an interview about knitting, but it's all good. G took great pains to mention IKL, oh, about every sentence!


The second request was for an ad in a magazine that has completely passed me by. Best of British describes itself as "Britain's favourite nostalgia magazine" (how many are there?) and is amazing. It nestles snugly between The People's Friend and The Lady as one of those purely British enigmas enjoyed by those who live in places with names like Much Mickle-on-the Moor and have no contact with the known universe after 1950. It's just full of cosy nostalgia from the time of steam trains, coal fires, wartime spirit, rock 'n' roll and the like, before the hoodies, iPods, immigrants and Labour government ruined the world (according to BOB). But, I couldn't help but love it. It has, apparently, over 100,000 readers, mostly over the age of 55, and it takes you back to a time when we all loved each other and even murder was cosy (Miss Marple). I realised on Friday that I was officially old when I started to reminisce about things that do not exist anymore; rag and bone men, coalmen, Hillman Hunters. Ahh, those were the days.

We thoroughly embrace all the steroetypes and we actively encourage the breaking of them in the same moment. What's unusual (to me) is that the so-called 'new' knitters (ie those under 40) are the ones who want to use natural fibres, wool, alpaca etc, which I would consider the more 'traditional' choice and most of the old ladies (who are, apparently, the 'traditional' knitters) are only ever after a bit of manmade acrylic.

Craig

7 comments:

Yvonne said...

There's a few "old ladies" I know who'd take that last comment very badly!

Why does the media portrait of knitters have to be "pld ladies", "young and hip", "new yoga" or whatever. Why doesn't it look at the people inside the bodies and see what it is about this craft that inspires and fascinates so many people of all ages and genders

Liz said...

Kerrang! probably aren't aware that Share Ross, bassist with all-female 1980s metal band Vixen, has written a knitting book called Punk Knits... (Neither was I until my brother sent the URL...) Ah, Kerrang. The nostalgia...

Rosie said...

I totally agree with Yvonne. (Especially as it seems I no longe qualify as "young" being an ancient 47!) Brainwave: I think you should try to get an article about IKL into People's Friend. I've been hooked on it since my late 20s and have won some wicked prizes in their Love Darg knitting competition.

Rosie said...

Oh, and how about persuading Kerrang that they need to print a learn-to-knit wristwarmer pattern?

elineof said...

I'm glad to hear that knitting is trendy again I the UK! I have started to knit at airports, conferences and other places where I just sit and do nothing. I would love to see people using this type of time to multitask! I have been knitting so much since I started to use dead time to knit that I have enough to stock a shop! You can look it up on www.elineof.etsy.com

M-H said...

I'm 57 and my partner (52) and I bought some lovely yarns in your shop on our trip to the UK a few months ago. Alpaca and wool - no ack-rylac in our house! But her mother (aged 88) - now that's a different story. She used to spin, but now she's all about the ack. Feathers scarves, horrible bedsocks, vibrant (!) cushions.... she's busy with all that. Keeps her off the streets.

Craig said...

Rosie, I agree too! I always find it interesting that people who aren't into knitting, or who don't some along ot the knitting group are always so surprised at who is here - honestl, it sounds like a cliché, but we do have knitters from 18 to 80. Funnily enough I think Gerard's new book has had an advert in the People's Friend!

There are two stereotypes: 'young and trendy' and 'old and traditional'. I don't know why they can't all just be knitters, regardless.

Liz, Kelley Deal of The Breeders now has a knitting book out too - apparently she took it up to get over her drug habit.