The Hive Mind: Are Knitters Just Sheep? Part 2

This is part two of a two part series, find part one here!

 We’ve discussed the hive mind mentality among the crafting community, and how many crafters lash out at others who express honest but critical opinions of something—anything! Whether it is a magazine, a popular sock yarn or a knitting method, many people consider criticism as ‘mean’ or cruel.

 Then comes the backlash. Inevitably, a frustrated crafter goes off the deep end. Suddenly, everything that is popular is bad. They smugly tout the fact that they have never knitted socks. Why would anyone want to knit something as dumb as the Clapotis? Or Fetching? Or the So-Called Scarf.

 I’m not referring to honest questions. I’ve seen people ask why someone would knit dishcloths—do they really work? What kind of yarn would you smear across your dirty dishes? How do you clean them? Or; why would someone knit fingerless gloves? Where do you use them, are they really trendy right now? What pattern would my teenage son like?

 However, the Kool Kidz aren’t about honesty. All they do is smugly point to their own spotless record of never knitting anything that was even remotely popular. On Ravelry, there have been people who appparently consider it IMPERATIVE that they start a thread to ask, “Hey, retards, why RU knitting socks?” Or, what’s so hot about lace?

 I struggle with my own urges to become a Kool Kid. I don’t want to be seen as part of a faceless crowd. I want to be unique. I resent the idea that I should adore every single popular pattern out there. Gushing praise for every garter stitch scarf out there makes me queasy.

 But I also don’t want to become a part of a different hive mind mentality, one that mocks other crafters for their choices, or eschews wonderful patterns because thousands of people are knitting it. I would simply become part of another little club; maybe a smaller one, but one that’s just as harmful and incestous as the other.

 Honestly, keeping a balance can be difficult, and I think that one solution is to examine your motives. Why are you starting this thread? Why are you lashing out at another crafter’s honest criticism?

If we can be honest about that, maybe we can start to get rid of the hive mind mentality—both kinds.

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April 3, 2008. Tags: , . ravelry, Snark Editorial.

6 Comments

  1. ajrox92 replied:

    Very nicely written Genuine.

  2. sarahkatie replied:

    Well I totally agree with. You know sometimes I see patterns that I absolutely hate and yet they have become really popular. When it comes down to it it has to do with our personality and our taste. Someone like my aunt might really like Clapotis, when I probably wouldn’t spend hours on knitting Clapotis when I could be knitting something that I think is really cool and I have never seen before. I don’t mean to put down Clapotis, I think it looks like a cool pattern, I just am not motivated to want to knit it like everyone else. whew, another long comment from Sarah.

  3. rainin9 replied:

    Genuine, you write so well I’m jealous. Heh. It’s very good.

  4. Carat replied:

    I feel that you should knit what you like, and leave the rest of it alone. Don’t like Fetching? Don’t knit it.

    I just spent an incredibly long time digging through the Yarn Harlot’s blog comments to see exactly what you were talking about in the first post, and finally found the beginning of the dissent. It kind of cracks me up, and I have to admit I liked seeing that little flare up. Until the “fugly” comment I was starting to feel like I would puke if I read “It’s never too early for scotch.” one more time.

    By the way I really enjoy your blog.

  5. Dava replied:

    You give me hope for the future.

    On another note, I use fingerless gloves all the time when I’m working on the farm (they need fingers, though, just no tips). Easier to handle stuff. But then, I don’t understand shawls.

    To each his own.

  6. jinniver replied:

    Actually, I was DEVASTATED by your lack of gushing praise for my garter stitch scarf. I vowed never to read your blog again.

    Oh, wait–that never happened.

    Once again, I agree with you. I’m new enough that I’m not even sure what a Clapotis is (a shawl?) and I’ve never heard of Fetching. But that’s ok. I’m secure enough in myself that I don’t feel the need to either heap insincere praise or gratuitous bile on anyone’s projects. I’ll give an honest opinion if asked…but I rarely am.

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