I’m almost done with my scarf, though I’ve already knitted nine more repeats than the pattern, and I haven’t decided how many more to do. I’ve also started another project, which will be the subject of my next post. <–And if that preview sentence isn’t the most exciting one you’ve ever read, then clearly you haven’t been reading this blog very long. It’s true: My next post will talk about knitting.

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Anyway, the scarf, at least, has been having a mildly interesting life, even if its knitter has not. Here, it and a Claes Oldenburg shuttlecock get ready for lift-off, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, in Kansas City, MO.

That Little Scarf

Here, it watches the New York City Marathon.

Here is a funny bit of news about how an elderly lady who was slashing her neighbors’ tires (because she thought too many people were parking in her neighborhood) was sentenced to knitting sweaters for all of her “victims.” [via The Rainey Sisters] On a semi-related note, I was reading my Folk Mittens book, and it mentioned that in certain cultures, children were not allowed to go out and play until they had knitted a certain amount of rows (I think the Faroe Islands) and that brides were expected to knit mittens for all of their wedding guests (I think Latvia).

I’ve had a couple people suggest that I sell some of my projects, and I’m like, um no, because then I would turn into a sweatshop serf at home, instead of having a fun little hobby. I would guess that’s how people who had to knit might feel, instead of those who do it for fun. Here, obviously, is the place to link again to that Freakonomics article about knitting, with the salient quote being, “Whether or not you’re getting paid, it’s work if someone else tells you to do it and leisure if you choose to do it yourself. ”

Though on a side note, I am actually rather fascinated by the economics of how people try to make money from their knitting hobby, particularly designers. Sometimes I think that the knitting designers (on the Ravelry boards, at least) seem to get all up in arms about things like copyright, in an attitude very similar to freelance magazine writers. I was a full-time freelancer for a while, and still do some stuff on the side sometimes, and I’ve found that freelance writers seem to get upset (on message boards, at least) in the same way as knitting designers. In a way, I think it’s because neither profession is particularly profitable, so people get outraged about copyright infringement and all-rights contracts (hot topics for both designers and writers) because they need to hold on to every dollar they can. Sometimes I think the better solution would be to (a) find a more profitable line of work and/or (b) look at the future of their business and actual challenges they’re facing. I think the internet has really changed the notion of access and copyright, and for lack of a better term, the “knowledge economy.”

The internet had totally changed something like knitting. In ye olden times, people pretty much knit what their neighbors and families knit, and then when books and magazines became popular, maybe people learned from that. But the internet has totally broadened people’s knowledge of techniques and styles, and more importantly, provided that information mostly for free. I mentioned to Adam yesterday over dinner that I was interested to see how Twist Collective does, compared to Interweave [an internet-only magazine, versus a traditional print magazine], and he said, correctly, I think, that Interweave should be much more worried about Ravelry. Ravelry allows you to search with such speed and ease for patterns for pretty much anything that you want, whether free or paid, that it has become a de facto crowdsourced knitting encyclopedia. For freelance writers and knitting pattern designers, their specialized knowledge has become almost obliterated by everything from Wikipedia to Ravelry.

For something like a medical problem, I would still prefer to go to a doctor who went to medical school, rather than trying to self-diagnose myself, but I think many less-specialized forms of knowledge have shrunk in value, as a direct result of the information posted for free on the internet. So, on that cheerful note, I suggest that all of my readers learn a new skill to see them through the economic recession. Or go to medical school.

Posted in the Business, travelingproject, Uncategorized at November 15th, 2008.