July 27, 2008

Knitting FAQ: Ergonomics and Posture

Knitting FAQ index

"How should I hold my knitting? What about posture?"

Like any activity where you use your hands for long periods of time, knitting can give you repetitive stress injuries if you do it wrong. It's important that you not let that happen. Here are some tips to help you avoid it:

Try lighter or shorter needles. The heavier your needles, the more work your hands have to do with every stitch. Longer needles apply more leverage to your hands; once again, your hands have to work harder to make that stitch. If you're using long metal needles, switching to wood or plastic needles a few inches shorter might make all the difference.

Support the weight of the fabric in your lap. The more fabric you've knitted, the heavier it is. If it's long enough to reach your lap when you're sitting down, take that extra second to arrange it so it's supported whenever you turn the work. The more weight you can take off your hands, the longer you can knit.

Put both feet flat on the ground. I confess, I don't always do this myself; I like to put my feet up. But even so, I pause to put my feet flat from time to time to check that I'm not off balance. You want to make sure you're not listing to one side or the other. Leaning puts a strain on your whole body; you can end up with a sore back, sore neck, and sore hands.

Sit up straight. Just like leaning to the side, curling forward puts a strain on your body. If you can't see your work without bending over it, go where the light is better, or get your glasses prescription updated. Hunching like a cobbler elf means you'll eventually look like one.

Keep warm. Cold weather makes you feel like knitting, it's true. But do the actual knitting somewhere warm. Cold joints are already under stress; putting them under further stress will make them sore.

Let both hands share the work. If you find that one hand gets sore faster than the other, take a good look at your knitting style. There are several different methods for holding the working yarn and moving the stitches, and while they're fairly balanced in their ideal forms, it's possible to pick up habits that leave one hand doing all the work; you might want to consider switching to a different method.

Keep your arms relaxed. You don't want your elbows out and flapping. Not only does it look goofy, it wastes energy and makes you tired. The strain on your upper arms travels all the way to your hands, and the next thing you know you're too sore to knit.

Look at experienced knitters. It's easy enough to find pictures of people knitting; have a look at their hands and arms. Everyone's a little different in the details, but the general posture is the same.

Most importantly: if it hurts, stop! Tendonitis and carpal tunnel are no joke! If you don't take the time to let your hands and wrists heal, you can do permanent damage. Better to lay off the knitting for a day or two now than to end up unable to knit ever again.

To discuss this question and answer, please comment on this post. To ask other questions, please comment on the FAQ index post. Hope it's helpful, and have fun knitting!

Knitting FAQ: Stitch Markers

Knitting FAQ index

"What are stitch markers and how do you use them?"

Stitch markers are a way to mark a point in your work for future reference. There are lots of things you can use for this. In a pinch, you can even use a piece of contrasting yarn, but markers made for the purpose are pretty cheap and a lot easier to use, so you may as well go ahead and get some.

There are two basic types of stitch markers -- open and closed. Open stitch markers have an opening, so you can hook them through a stitch to mark a point in your knitted fabric, or around your needle without moving the stitches that are on the needle. There are plastic loops, and coilless safety pins:

Then there are the closed type, which are simply a ring. These go around your needle, not around a stitch in the fabric. If you were to put them around a stitch, then once you knit past them, they'd be a permanent decoration. Which is pretty creative if you do it on purpose, I guess, but not much use as a marker. So the closed type is useful for marking a point in your knitting that recurs with each row. You can get cheap plastic ones, or fancy beaded metal ones:

There's one difference between the plastic circles and the beaded markers other than the fact that one is prettier (and more expensive) than the other: the bead hangs on one side of your fabric. This means that you can use the bead to keep track of which side is the right side on a reversible fabric like garter stitch, for instance. It also means that you have to keep an eye on which side your working yarn is on when you scoop the marker from one needle to the other, or you can end up tangling it around the bead.

Closed stitch markers can only be placed on your needle when there are no stitches in the way. That means that to use one, you need to knit to the place where you want it, slide it onto the needle, and then keep going. When you reach that point in the next row, you scoop the marker from one needle to the other, just like slipping a stitch.

Open markers are commonly used for things like marking the beginning of an increase or decrease, the turning point in a short row, or anything else that's hard to spot at a glance and which you'll want to find later. They mark a stationary point in your fabric. Of course, you can also use them like you'd use closed markers, by hooking them on your needle.

Closed markers are used to mark things like pattern repeats, the point where an increase or decrease happens on each row, the beginning of the row in a circular piece, or anything else that happens repeatedly as your knitting continues. Patterns will often instruct you where to place markers, and describe these repeating elements in terms of the markers. For instance, in my hat template, I tell you to place a marker at the center of each needle, and decrease right after it. You could do that hat well enough just by counting the stitches instead of using a marker, but the marker's just that little bit easier -- and when you're making a lace tablecloth with thirty repeats of a pattern that looks like ramen until you block it, stitch markers make the difference between ending up with a gorgeous heirloom, and ending up wearing a huggy coat in a padded room.

Since I make and sell beaded stitch markers, I'm sort of biased in their favor, so take my preference for them with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, I do think they're the nicest. The metal rings with a slight extra weight slide cleanly from one needle to the other, the dangling bead lets you keep track of the right side of the fabric (as long as you don't let it flip over when you set your knitting down for a second), and they're just plain nice to look at. Experiment with different kinds and find out what you like best.

To discuss this question and answer, please comment on this post. To ask other questions, please comment on the FAQ index post. Hope it's helpful, and have fun knitting!

July 20, 2008

Knitting FAQ: Beginner Materials

Knitting FAQ index

"What materials are recommended for a beginner to get?"

The simple, albeit somewhat flippant answer, is that all you need are sticks and string. If you're stranded on a desert island, you can knit with grass and twigs. As long as you have something to make loops out of and something to make them on, you can start knitting. That said, some materials are easier for a beginner to work with than others.

Obviously there will be differences of opinion from one person to another about what it's best to start with. This is my own advice:

- Material: I recommend wood or bamboo. It's lightweight and not too slippery. Some prefer plastic needles for beginners because they're cheaper, which allows you to try out more sizes with less initial expense. Metal needles are your worst bet; they're heavier, which is hard on hands that haven't built up their knitting muscles yet, and the stitches are prone to slipping off.
- Type: Straight, single-point needles, not too long. Eleven inches is a good length. That's short enough to be portable, but long enough to make a nice wide scarf or a knit-flat hat. These will serve you well in beginner projects, and remain useful even when you're comfortable with other types.
- Size: Somewhere between 7 (4.5 mm) and 10 (6.0 mm). That's large enough that you can easily see and manipulate your stitches, but not so big that you end up with weird elongated knitting that doesn't look like the pictures on instruction sites.

- Fiber: Start out with something that has a bit of stretch to it. Wool is a very good bet; if wool is no good for you, test whatever fiber you choose by stretching out a length of it and see if it has some give. Non-stretchy fibers like cotton can be hard to work with and make your hands sore. On the other hand, a very stretchy yarn, like elastic-core sock yarn, is frustrating when you don't have a feel for your stitches yet. Avoid mohair; it sticks to itself, and gets threadbare fast if you unravel and reknit it.
- Weight: Worsted, also known as Aran -- around 12 wpi (wraps per inch) -- is a comfortable weight to work with on needles in the 7-10 range. It's a useful weight for scarves, hats, mittens, etc.
- Type: Choose a smooth, structurally solid yarn for your first few projects. Trust me on this. No novelty yarns; no fluff, fuzz, sparkles, dangles, loops, or lumps. You need to know what your stitches look like as you're learning, and that's just about impossible if your stitches look like a feather boa. Also, you'll probably be ripping back and starting over a few times, doing experiments and then unraveling them; a smooth yarn stands up to this treatment much better than a fuzzy or uneven one.
- Color: Yes, this matters. It's much easier to see what you're doing on light colors. I found this out the hard way. I was quite the goth when I was learning to knit, and my first few projects were all dark red, dark purple, or black; I got some spectacular headaches from this. No matter how deep your gloom, you can surely make a case for cobweb gray.
- Price: Do not get cheapo crap just because you're a beginner. I can't emphasize this enough. Pay the extra couple bucks and get something that looks and feels wonderful. Remember, this yarn will be in your hands and in front of your eyes for hours at a time. If you don't like to look at it or touch it, learning will be a chore instead of a pleasure.

Other items:
- Something to cut with: You don't need special knitting scissors, just normal ones. In a pinch I've used nail clippers, my pocketknife, or my teeth. You won't be doing a whole lot of cutting and it doesn't need to be fancy.
- Something to measure with: Again, nothing special, just something that will measure inches. (Patterns which give gauge in only one or the other invariably give it in inches; the rest give both inches and centimeters.) Since you'll be using this mostly for measuring gauge at first, one of those little plastic school rulers would be fine. Clear plastic quilting templates with a grid marked on them are especially useful and quite portable.
- Large-eye needles: Yarn needles or tapestry needles with a blunt point and an eye big enough to get your yarn through. You'll use this for weaving in the ends of the yarn. The blunt point is so you don't split your stitches.
- Crochet hook: Useful for a lot of things, like picking up dropped stitches, adding edgings, making provisional cast-ons, and weaving in your ends when you inevitably lose your yarn needle.
- Attitude: Easy does it. Everybody sucks at first. Everybody was a beginner once. Give yourself time to make mistakes and do experiments. Even when it doesn't feel like it, you're getting a little better with every stitch, I promise. :)


To discuss this question and answer, please comment on this post. To ask other questions, please comment on the FAQ index post. Hope it's helpful, and have fun knitting!

Knitting FAQ Index

This is the index post for the Knitting FAQ. I'll be adding links to the answers as I post them. If you have any questions you'd like to see answered, please comment on this post! Don't be shy, ain't no such thing as a stupid question.


Getting Started
Q: What materials are recommended for a beginner to get?
A: Beginner Materials

Q: How should I hold my knitting? What about posture?
A: Ergonomics and Posture

Tools and Materials
Q: What are stitch markers and how do you use them?
A: Stitch Markers

July 19, 2008

Knitting FAQ

After a bit of Googling, I've discovered everything that claims to be a FAQ on the topic of knitting is either very specific ("What gauge is most traditional for Fair Isle?") or is actually a sprawling instructional site rather than a list of Q&A's. Now, I've been known to ask some pretty specific questions myself (I just stumped the 'Tips & Techniques' group on Ravelry for like a week by asking how you do plaited basket stitch in the round), and I love those instructional sites as if they are delicious candy (just look at my sidebar links), but I feel there's a need for a sort of quick-reference to basic, general questions. Questions like, "My scarf is fifteen feet long; how do I stop?"

I'm going to need your help for this. I know there aren't a lot of people reading right now, but I also know y'all are smart and curious folks, and you have friends. You see where I'm going with this. Would you darlings be so kind as to ask me questions, and see if other people you know have questions? Anything you've always wondered about? Problems you've come up against?

Especially useful:
- Questions so basic you feel silly for asking them.
- Questions to which you've found multiple conflicting answers.
- Meta-questions; that is, not about the actual knitting or its materials, but about how to find out things, why information is given in a certain format, etc.
- Goofy, funny questions.

Peripherally related questions on other topics, like spinning, crochet, felting, or weaving, are also worth asking, though my answer might well be "Durr, I dunno!"

I'm still working on how best to format this for accessibility, so if there's a particular format you like to see FAQ's presented in, I'd love to know.


July 14, 2008

Simple hat in plain English, with long notes

I remember how tricky it was, when I first started knitting, to find patterns that explained what I was supposed to do instead of presenting me with a wall of abbreviations and numbers. Even though I'm much better at reading patterns now, I still lose my place when I blink, and for simple projects I wish people would just say things like 'decrease 8 stitches on every other row' rather than 'row 30: k [x], *ssk, k[x]*; row 32; k[x-1], *ssk, k[x-1]*' and so forth. Bleargh. If you can tell me the basic principle in a single breath, then do so, rather than making me count my stitches.

So in the expectation that I'm not the only one who likes to be told how a thing works (rather than having to figure it out from blindly painting by numbers), I'm going to post the basic templates I use to knit some common items, and explain every dang thing as plainly as possible. If there's a question I didn't answer, no matter how basic, please ask it!

Basic Hat Template

This is a beginner-level knit, but if you use it as a jumping-off point for fancier stuff, the sky's the limit. I'll mention some of my favorite embellishments afterwards. If you're not used to using double-pointed needles, this would be a good project to try them out on.

Here's the abbreviated version, the notes I work from myself:

Using worsted weight handspun on #5 dpn’s:
co 80 st on 4 needles (20 ea), join
2x2 rib 8 rows
k 30 rows (total incl. rib 5.5 in)
pm at center of each needle
dec row: ssk at beginning of each needle, after each marker
k 2 rows
dec row
k 1 row
dec row
k 1 row
dec until 8 st remain, break yarn, sew tail through and draw tight.

And now here's the verbose version, where I explain EVERYTHING!

-- About 50g/1.75oz of worsted-weight wool. Most skeins are at least that much, so one skein should do it. Worsted-weight is about 12wpi (wraps per inch); if you're not sure, you can test it by wrapping a length of it around a ruler. Hats are pretty forgiving, so you've got some wiggle room here.
-- A set of five double-pointed needles. I generally use size 5 (3.75 mm) needles, but again, you have wiggle room. You can go up or down sizes to get gauge, or just use your favorites and wing it. The hat will fit somebody. (You can also use a circular needle if you prefer them; I hate them for anything smaller than a sweater, but that's just me.)
-- Four stitch markers. You can get cheap plastic ones at your local yarn store, but I prefer the dangly kind with glass beads and whatnot. Not only are they more fun to look at, they're just a tad heavier and the rings are metal, so they're easier to move from one needle to another; just scoop them up and they slide into place, tick!
-- A tapestry needle or yarn needle for sewing in the ends of the yarn when you're done.

-- Some kind of cast-on. I like the long-tail cast-on, but any kind will do really.
-- Knit and purl stitches.
-- Some kind of decrease. Use ssk if you want it to look like the picture.
Excellent instructions and handy videos of all these things can be found here: knittinghelp.com

-- A hat like this usually takes me three or four hours. Even if you're learning as you go, you should be able to do one in a weekend.

How to make the hat:

-- Knit a gauge swatch. I get 4 stitches per inch (which is 16 per 10 cm) with worsted on 5's. Knit a little square, measure an inch's worth of stitches in the middle of it, and see what you get. If you're noticeably off, you'll probably want to try bigger or smaller needles. Or you could adjust the number of stitches; as long as it's a multiple of 8, you'll have no problem with the decreases.
-- Cast on 80 stitches on 4 needles. That's 20 per needle. It's tricky to get 80 stitches on one dpn, so there are a couple things you could do. What I usually do is cast on 21 stitches, slip the most recent stitch onto the next needle and cast on 20 on that needle, etc. This means you've got a dangling chain of needles hanging out of your hand, but if that doesn't bother you, it's pretty simple. Just gotta remember not to end up with one extra stitch on the last needle, since you're not slipping it anywhere. Another option is to cast onto a straight or circular needle, then slip the stitches onto your dpn's.
-- Join, being careful not to twist. Patterns always say this. The day you scoff at 'being careful not to twist' is the day you'll twist it and not notice for an hour; do not tempt the knitting gods.
-- Work knit-2 purl-2 ribbing for 8 rows. Knit two stitches, then purl two stitches; keep doing this. If the number you cast on is divisible by 4, it'll line up right. The number of rows you do it for is fungible. You probably want at least 4 to keep it from curling; other than that, it's totally up to you.
-- Knit until the hat is about 5.5 inches long. That's 14 cm, and the measurement includes the ribbing. Most hat recipes say 6 inches, but I find that a frustrating length; long enough to meet my eyebrows and make me look like an ape, not quite long enough to turn up the brim. You can, of course, alter it if you want your hat taller.
-- Place a marker at the middle of each needle. Since there are 20 stitches on each needle, there'll be 10 on either side of the marker.
-- Decrease at the beginning of each needle and after each marker for one round. That's a total of 8 decreases; you should now have 9 stitches on either side of each marker, 18 per needle total.
-- Knit 2 normal rounds. No decreases, just knit.
-- Do another decrease round. Just like you did before; beginning of each needle, and after each marker.
-- Normal round.
-- Decrease round.
-- Normal round.
-- Decrease every round until 8 stitches are left. You can even go as far as 4 stitches left, but that's just one stitch per needle; your needles are going to want to slide out, especially if they're metal.
-- Break yarn, leaving about 6 inches. Or cut it. The only reason patterns say 'break' instead of 'cut' is because a clean-cut end is harder to splice. You don't need to splice this.
-- Thread tail through remaining stitches and draw tight. I find it easiest to use the yarn needle as if it's another knitting needle, and just slip the stitches onto it from the dpn's, then pull the tail through once the dpn's are out of the way. They're kind of a hedgehog at this point, so it's easy to get tangled otherwise.
-- Sew in ends. Poke your needle through a stitch near the ring you just drew tight, rather than through the center; the yarn will hold better that way. Then just sew the yarn through the backs of a few stitches on the inside. Cut the excess, leaving at least a cm to keep it from pulling loose. Then thread the tail from where you started onto the needle and sew that inside the same way.
-- Show everyone your fab new hat. I still do this, no matter how many I've made. :D

There are lots of ways you can make this hat your own. I personally like to knit it plain and let the yarn speak for itself; I'm proud of my handspun and like to showcase it. But I've sometimes added stranded colorwork patterns, embroidery, beads, little fleece flowers, etc. Most knitting stitches will work just fine, too; ribs, cables, moss stitch, various pattern stitches. Even fairly dense lace stitches will work, although if you go to a thinner yarn you'll get an awfully floppy hat.

Have fun! And again, any questions at all, just ask. I want these instructions to be plain as day even if you're a total beginner.

July 9, 2008

More loot-whoring, but this time for a good cause

Get handspun, handknit goodies dirt cheap, and help me help a friend at the same time! Details here!

July 8, 2008

Shameless Loot-Whoring

I generally try not to post just to say 'I PUT THING IN STORE, YOU GO BUY!' Cuz it's rude, yeah, but that probably wouldn't stop me if it wasn't also boring. So I don't do it. BUT...

Well, I'm just so amused by myself today.

Yep, I made buttons. They are all fiber-geek related. Here's the master sheet (click for make bigger):

Thassawl. Now back to my busy schedule of -- no, actually, I think I'll go snuggle Seebs. I have had enough busy today. :D

July 3, 2008

Geekings and Sparklesnot

Warcraft Geekery meets Fiber Art

I have a massively nerdy plan. See, I'm a big gamer geek. Me and my boy are pretty much Gabe and Tycho with hippie hair and sexors. And my biggest game addiction is World of Warcraft. (Wanna see my tailor? So close to max skill! So close!) So when I thought of a way to combine that with my other addiction -- fiber -- I did a little dance of nerdish joy. No, I'm not going to knit a guild tabard.

I'm going to spin Imbued Netherweave.

Now, I know the 'weave' in that implies that it would be a woven fabric. But let me have my fun. I'm going to dye a variegated deep purple, card it with clear angelina, and -- and what? Does it need something else? Beads? Little felted voidwalkers? Hell, I dunno. It's just an idea so far. I try to avoid spinning sparklesnot into my yarns because the result is usually fugly and useless, but this is conceptual, man.

Hm, I might actually weave fabric from it. Sew a bag. Guess I could knit a bag. I dunno, would you be bothered if something was called an Imbued Netherweave Bag and it was actually knitted? I just know my pet autistic supergenius is going to have a problem with it.

My Kind Of People

There's a new craft store in town. I walked over there today and had a look. They didn't have much of anything I wanted to buy except knitting needles, but I still love them lots. See, they're my kind of people.

I mentioned in a previous entry how the local yarn store, Digs, is also a lots-of-other-things store. What I didn't mention was the attitude. Digs gives off a certain vibe. It's a stylish, clever, self-satisfied, hipster kind of vibe. I once went in there to buy some fabric (to make little pouches for my dpn's so I'd never again have to squint at every single #4 I own in the hope that one of them is secretly a #3, a project I have still not managed to complete) and couldn't find a single thing I was willing to pay money for. Every damn bolt of fabric in the place was hipster retro flowers and 70's wallpaper patterns in robin's egg and brown or chartreuse and pink, I fucking swear. The yarn they have is wonderful, all crazy textures and colors and sparkles and concepts -- but only about one-tenth of it could conceivably be used for anything other than an accessory scarf. Basically, the Malabrigo and the Brown Sheep Superwash are of use to me; everything else is for teenage girls with peg looms. Oh, and you have to walk through aisles of $40 scented candles to get to the yarn. So yeah... not feeling real comfy there.

No, I'm a craftsman, not a hipster. I'm a worker. I do things because they want doing, not because they make my friends squeal. I don't need hot pink mohair/angora at $21 per ounce. I need a wall of wool/nylon self-striping sock yarn.

The new store does not have this. Yet. What they have is every product Red Heart makes. Which means all they have is acrylic. I don't use acrylic. Even the stuff that feels nice doesn't wear well and isn't warm, and I've seen pictures of what it does to you if it melts to your skin -- you wanna cozy up by the fireplace in an acrylic sweater? Hello skin grafts! So... no, they don't have what I want a craft store to have, in terms of products. BUT. Big but. Wait, lemme get you a bigger one.

BUT. What they do have is the right attitude. When I asked if they planned to get in some natural fiber yarns, the lady behind the counter, whom I believe is the owner, got out a notebook and asked if I had any other suggestions. She wrote them down. She told me lots of people were asking for 100% wool and for sock yarns. When I told her what kind of stuff I like to work with, she took notes. She was really pleased that I liked the Takumi bamboo dpn's, and asked what sizes I'd like to see in stock. When I told her their selection of quilting fabrics is wonderful, she glowed.

If she wasn't the owner, she was at least a partner. She was a dumpy, cheery, Mom-ish woman in a sweatshirt and jeans, with no-time-for-curlers hair. Not a sleek shopgirl with a plastic smile. The shelving was all cheap and functional, the lighting was bright, there was no attempt to create a 'mood'. But everyone who was shopping there -- and there were quite a few -- looked relaxed and satisfied. The prices were pretty damn good too.

It's clearly a shop for people who want materials for exercising their own skill and creativity, a workmanlike shop, a shop for getting things done. Not an ironic hipster sparklesnot shop full of things for show and giggles. Once the new place gets their sock yarns in, I'll be doing all my shopping there.


And while I'm being catty, I have to tell you about the Fugly.

People who are old enough to remember the last 'crafting renaissance' in the 70's know what I mean. If you're too young, ask your mum; she'll make amazing faces as she recalls it. The macramé owls with wooden bead claws clutching a piece of driftwood. The avocado green and mustard acrylic zig-zag afghans. The fringed purses, the appliqué dishtowels, the VESTS. Oh god the vests. Quilted ones, knitted ones, macramé ones, wobblishly hand-woven ones, all made of unshaped rectangles in dreadful poopy-diaper 'earth tones'. I love the colors of the earth, let me point out; nothing soothes my soul quite like seeing 'espresso' and 'parchment' paired in clean stripes, or a mottling of forest greens leavened by granite gray. But these earth tones looked like nothing found in nature. They looked like things found in the bottom of the crisper drawer upon returning from a two-week vacation.

So as crafting resurges again, I've been fighting not to cringe. I lived through hand-sewn backpacks with yellow rickrack and iron-on ladybugs. I do not want my art, about which I really care, to be compared with the kind of therapy-for-shut-ins yarn-poop that defined the 70's for me. I've been trying not to jump at shadows, trying not to defensively insist that the flame-colored laceweight merino I'm spinning is very high quality lovely stuff suitable for heirloom knitting, and is not orange dammit.

On occasion I've wondered if the 'art yarn' contingent might be where the fugly is. Certainly it's possible to attach some really stupid shit to your lumpy yarn and call it art yarn. If you talk a good line, you can get $50 a skein for forty yards of grab-bag-fiber rope and half a dozen doll heads. It is to describe this nonsense that Luka coined the term 'sparklesnot', in fact, and I've found the word very useful. But some art yarn is awfully nice; I wouldn't work with it myself, but I can see the appeal. And the same goes for free-form knitting; while I myself would neither make nor wear a hat that looks like the 'after' picture from a piñata party, there's a certain DIY, fuck-you appeal to the stuff.

And then, just when I was starting to relax... I found the fugly. Have you heard of the 'butterfly loom'?

It's a way of making sloppy-looking squares with loopy fringe all around the edges. You can make many awkward and stupid things by attaching these objects together. Like purses that look like tangled yarn globs, or scarves that look like tangled yarn globs, or ponchos that look like you dove headfirst through a landfill and kept whatever stuck.

This shit is absolutely equivalent to the worst fug of the 70's. It, like that fug of bygone days, is a ton of fun if you're teaching kindergarten, and absolutely unacceptable in the decorating scheme or wardrobe of an adult. It, like fug of yore, has been 'raised to an art form' by people who want kudos for genuine craft without bothering to develop any genuine skill. It is the real deal.

I find it a huge relief. If this is the extent of our fug, I think we'll be all right. No one outside the art-therapy room will even pretend to take it seriously, and meanwhile, real craftsmen and craftswomen are producing things like this: Susanna Hanssen's Bohus knitting page.

Yeah, I guess there's hope for crafting in the 21st century. Just do me a favor and don't put avocado next to burnt orange EVEN FOR FUNNY. My heart can't take it.