Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Is It In The Ether?

What makes something popular? Is it just the next logical step in a progression? Knitters did socks. Then scarves. Then ponchos. Now fingerless gloves.

I finished these over the Christmas weeks:


They are of 3-ply handspun cashmere fiber from Peace of Yarn that I bought at SOAR in 2003 just for this purpose.

In the Spring of 2003, my hands began to hurt while doing a marathon knotting project in the studio. I thought it might be signs of arthritis, or carpal tunnel, but the ache disappeared after a few days. Since I had not stopped knotting, I deduced that the pain was not work related. The weather had warmed up, though, so I thought my hands might be reacting to cold, and I decided to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves for work.

They had to be fine threads, so I had ease of movement, and soft is always good for next-to-the-skin clothing, so the cashmere seemed perfect.

Time passed. I spun the yarn, dyed it and knit the gloves this winter, making up the pattern as I went, and yes, ripping a few times for fit and shaping.

Now, lo, fingerless gloves are everywhere. All sorts of knitters have knit them in all sorts of colors and patterns. Mostly like mine: without knitted half fingers.

Was I tapping into some Universal Knitting Project Craze? Or are we all just getting older and have aching hands (I *know* that's not true, most of these knitters are younger than I am).

I know this phenomena is not exclusive to me. Other people talk about ideas they've had and then suddenly: it's everywhere. It's like we have synchronized thought patterns.

The Buddhists are probably right. We are truly connected.


Blogger claudia said...

I could say something smart ass about Sara actually *knitting* but I'm distracted by the beauty of the fingerless mitts.

As for the flocking/lemming fashion instinct, it certainly is pretty strong. But unlike ponchos, fingerless mitts are a damn good idea. I wear mine all the time, even when technically its way too cold for them. BTW, its snowing like a banshee again.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Back at ya Sara! Love those gloves - one more thing on my list of to dos for me, me, me.

I will come visit someday-I am working on it, really I am.


1:51 PM  
Blogger Charleen said...

Old! Whatever could you mean? I'm going to try mine while weaving tonight. If you see a shuttle flying over your house it means my dexterity is off :-)

3:15 PM  
Blogger judy said...

Beautiful halfmits. I agree that they are the next step. See my January 11th post:

I've since updayed the address but this old post remains at this url.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Joni said...

Your mitts are truly beautiful! I could go on but you must know how wonderful they are much better than I. ;) I have been making/wearing fingerless mitts for years. For me it began with inspiration from a book I purchased which was a collection of 19th century knitting patterns reprinted.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


The gloves are lovely. As far as everyone getting the same idea at the same time I think there are just so many ideas out there and way to many people so duplication. Hence there are so many communities of people who developed spindles to spin on but had no contact with tall the other communities.

8:10 AM  
Blogger beadlizard said...

They are beautiful! I love what you do with color...

Am I retro because I still like fingers on my gloves? Sometimes I leave off the very last bit so I can have bare fingertips for knitting outdoors, etc., but I need as much of my knuckle area covered as possible -- that's what feels the cold!

12:17 PM  
Blogger kim said...

Absolutely beautiful gloves. I was fondling some cashmere at Rhinebeck this year, wondering what it would be like to spin, Heavenly, I imagine.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Nadia said...

Your colours are beautiful and so warm looking. If you have leftovers, you should make a neckband or headband, as that yarn looks to good to waste a metre of.

12:46 AM  
Blogger Krista said...

Gorgeous mittens!

Re: noticing that *everybody else* is doing whatever you're doing, I think a large part of the phenomenon is that when you start something new, you suddenly notice all the other people who are having it too. Case in point: my family had a bunch of minivans. Every time we'd get one in a new colour, and every time we'd moan and groan that we'd bought the most popular colour and could never find our vehicle in the parking lot. Then one day my brother and I tried an experiment: on the way home from a hockey game, I counted all the maroon vans (our colour) and he counted all the green ones (random test colour) and the numbers were pretty much the same.

I'm not denying there are trends in the knitting community (there certainly are!), but I think we tend to notice specific trends more when they somehow connect with what we're doing.

6:29 AM  

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