I Knit London Tweets

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I'm just a curio who can't say no...

I've been on the telly again this week. Working Lunch, BBC2, asked me before Christmas to be a guest on their show and talk about whether knitting is an inexpensive option compared to high street shopping, in the current financial climate. I got the impression they wanted me to say yes it is, so I did.

Knitting can be really expensive and as I own and run a knitting shop I do tend to use the more expensive yarns, I'm a little spoiled, I know. We all know there are really good value quality yarns, we sell lots of emu superwash DK and it's great, we recommend it for all kinds of people, not just beginners.

However, there are some very fabulous natural fibres that don't cost the earth, Wensleydale Longwool for example and Colinette point 5. Manos Silk Blend is also fantastic given the meterage! I could go on.

I took some wool to the studio with me, I even brought some Qiviut but I didn't tell them how much it cost.

I didn't realise that I would only be there for 90 seconds and I had so much to say that I didn't get the time to. (Polly, the researcher who escorted me to the studio asked if I was nervous. I told her I wasn't, excited but not nervous as I spend most of my time talking about knitting so I was in gear and raring to go!)

Personally, I don't think knitting and high street shopping are comparable but as the title says, I can't say no! I reckon that in the long run knitting is less expensive than buying clothes from 'hideous' high street shops. (I was impressed with myself for saying hideous live on the BBC.) I think that we devalue clothes that cost a few pounds and when they loose their lustre after a couple of washes lots of people will simply discard and replace. The big difference with handknitting is that the individual pieces are not so easily replaced and even if they could be they are so valuable that we mend, darn, repair.

The other argument, that I will not go into here, is the questionable sources of the clothes in some of the high street shops and how much the people who make them are being paid.

While I was in the studio I met a very nice man, Hamish, the ceo of the institute for practitioners of advertising. Then I met the presenters, who were great - one of them even knits, but I was still left with the impression that maybe I am not the best ambassador for knitting as I feel like a bit of a curiosity and it's becoming harder to smile through the surprise and inevitable question "but you're a man and you knit?'

Honestly, it's not amazing and I don't really think it's that great. I love knitting and I love talking to other knitters and seeing their work. Maybe I'll start saying no. But how could I say no to Kirstie Allsopp? I love her and I'd love to teach her to knit on her new channel 4 program! And Richard and Judy want to film our book group!

And I'm on Market Kitchen this Saturday at the behest of the gorgeous Amy Lamé.

Anyway, it's rather nice to be back! I'm sorry my anti Pope rant was up for so long but we were having password problems (and it was Christmas). I did lots of knitting over Christmas. I did a Charlene Schurch hat for my dad. In red and white with a Norwegian star design. He loved it. I loved that he loved it. Craig loved it and so I did him a similar hat and I have 3 other orders.

Finished Norwegian Star Cap

and oh my god look at Melissa's sock, it fabulous!


msHedgehog said...

I saw you, my Mum spotted you first (I was over at her place). She thinks Working Lunch has dumbed down lately and was about to turn it off when you suddenly appeared. I noticed the "hideous" and enjoyed it. We were both dead impressed at you saying knitting was cheap with a straight face ;)

yogicknitter said...

Oh my god I love that sock. Colour work has to be next I think.
I love the fact you can't say no - just keep it coming!

hamish said...

I'm Hamish Pringle, the Director General of the IPA (see www.ipa.co.uk) and I'm flattered to be mentioned in your blog!

We did have a very interesting conversation in the Green Room before the BBC TV Working Lunch programme and I don't think they got as much value out of you as they might have...

They could have asked you more about all the wonderful wools and samples you had with you - the presenter was waving around the world's most expensive scarf, there was a ball of Harry Potter wool on the table, plus a bag made out of recycled plastic bag 'yarn' which would have been right on the sustainability message.

Anyway it was fun to meet you and when I mentioned it to my Mother who taught me Chinese Rice stitch and Bargello (remember the half-finished backgammon board I left under the seat on the plane back from Nassau in 1977!)she said she was thinking of taking up knitting again!

Sue Wild said...

It's very odd that knitting is not considered to done by men, there are a few out there. My grandad (he died 7 years ago) was a knitter, his speciality being socks (one of my cousins wouldn't wear any other socks). When his eyesight began to go he knitted squares for blankets though my mum and aunt had to pick up his dropped stitches!

mrs moon said...

hi gerard, i thought you spoke really well. you gave a good crafts-persons opinion on mass produced sweatshop style knits....


Anonymous said...

Good gawd the color work sock is awesome! The knitter of that sock has to be pretty impressed with her work. I sure am. I'm jealous!
I'd love to see the finished item and perhaps a peek at her pattern.

USA knits in Florida

PS I think its cool that some men knit.