Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Knit Global

I am intrigued with the phenomenon of meme knitting patterns. What is it with a pattern that causes a pandemic? Things like, Evelyn A. Clark’s Swallowtail Shawl, Knitbot’s Whisper and Featherwight Cardigans, Ysolda’s Ishbel, the February Lady Sweater. Somewhere along the line there’s a tipping point and the pattern goes global. The Owl sweater by Kate Davies suddenly is in the magazines as new and exciting, yet the pattern was quietly around since Nov 2008 – my old flatmate pointed it out to me.

What do you think it is? Does the pattern have to be simple or challenging, or strike just the perfect balance between the two? Does it have to be endorsed by some influential people before others sit up and take notice? Can the sea of opinion change and suddenly from indifference, people love it? I have to say I was a little underwhelmed by the Whisper cardigan when I first saw it in IK, but seeing how other people have knitted it, how they’ve adapted it and made it their own, how they've delighted in the simple but cunning construction, you can see why it’s become such a popular choice. This has been especially well adapted with this Featherweight, as pointed out by the pattern designer herself!

My current favourites list? Well, it’s got:

Whisper Cardigan – 1042 projects (although this might become the Featherweight (499 projects) if I think the yarn I bought for it is enough!)
Ysolda’s Liesl – 992 projects
Ysolda’s Ishbel – 2236 projects
Print o’ the Wave Stole – Eunny Jang – 846 projects
Grumperina’s Jaywalker’s – 6490 projects
Evelyn A Clark’s Flowerbasket Lace Shawl – 1422 projects

(These project numbers are the number of people knitting it (or finished) on Ravelry as at 4 August.)

I doubt I actually even want to knit all of these things, but somehow not to have them there means I feel like I'm missing out. I love to look at all the projects people have knitted and to judge the successes and failures. I love being fascinated at how global knitting (facilitated by Ravelry) has become - often comments and explanations of projects are in French or German or those little squares because I don't have the right characters installed on my computer. I love, when I do actually knit one of these patterns, feeling 'in', one of the kniterati, because I too can put my notes down on the Projects list and people can go 'Ooooh, you've done a Baby Cables!'. If this means I've succumbed to the pandemic, then so be it. I'm in with the in crowd!

1 comment:

Clare said...

Be interesting to get some comments from the creators of the pandemic projects.