Sunday, May 11, 2008

Machine Knitting - Part 7

Is there any competition between hand and machine knitters?

I walked into a yarn store with my draft of a scarf to buy the expensive yarn I needed. I had designed it and machine knit it in a cheap yarn. This allowed me to see where the flaws in my design were and correct them. I probably knit 2 or 3 scarves until I got it right. A knitter ran up to me to see the scarf, looked at it, asked if it was machine knit and then walked away when I said it was. The owner was clearly embarrassed.

Since I do both, I can see both sides of the issue. Hand knitters feels that machine knitters are 'cheating'. Machine knitters feel that hand knitters have no idea how much time and talent it takes to machine knit. They are clearly 2 similar, yet different crafts.

Hand knitting is recognizable to any knitter. It has a great, one of a kind look. Machine knitting sometimes looks too perfect. There is a lot of love in a hand knit garment. Unfortunately, no one is willing to pay the price that these pieces of art deserve. Hours and hours of work go into sweaters. People complain about spending $300 on a sweater when they can buy a sweater for much less at WalMart. But a store bought sweater has none of the beauty of hand made.

Machine knitters call our works 'hand loomed' or 'hand crafted'. There is also a lot of work, talent and love in machine made knits. We think of knitting machines like sewing machines. No one looks at a dress made by a crafter on a sewing machine as less of a craft. It is using a tool and talent to create. It usually takes us less time to make a piece, but that doesn't account for all the time to learn our craft.

I believe there is a place for both crafts. Lots of love and hand work go into both. I enjoy doing both - I sure can't take a machine on a car trip, or curl up with my machine in front of the fire. But I can't produce my one-of-a-kind scarves at an affordable price knitting by hand.

Hand knitters - as one of you - I salute your craft and the lovely work you do. Machine-knitters - as one of you - I salute your craft and the time and talent it takes to do what you do.


ZudaGay said...

I don't think anyone should think their craft is better than someone else's. It is like the on going debate between stay at home moms and moms that work outside the home....they are both striving to do their best. People do what they are good at and what their passion is and should be respected for that! Good post!!!

Judy Nolan said...

Great post! This is very similar to the discussion about hand versus machine quilting. Both are lovely, but related, just as hand and machine knitting are.--JN Originals

knittsings said...

I enjoy both as well. The rare time I have been snubbed is by a hand knitter. I've never been put down by machine knitters.

I am encouraged that more hand knitters are giving machines a try. I truly believe that once they experience the learning curve, the "cheating" opinion will plummet.