I've heard a lot while I knit these socks. I've thought a lot while I knit these socks. They were a challenge, and I'm very happy with how they turned out. I don't think they were that hard either. Sure, they demanded a certain degree of patience, sure, they demanded that I learn.... but I knit because I like to learn, I like making interesting things and I find knitting, in all it's forms....compelling. I can't tell you how many cool tricks or techniques I learned on the way to finished with these babies, and I feel proud. I'm going to give you my thoughts on some of the things I've heard about these socks...because I've asked myself the same things. (Note: Amanda's feet are a lot smaller than the recipients. The right size feet will change the fit a lot, especially through the toes.)
Wouldn't you be afraid to wear them? What if you walked holes in them?
I want them to be worn. This much of my time and energy should be on the person, not near them. I don't mind that socks get used up. I think things are more valuable and special when you know they are temporary. Would getting gifts be the same if you got them every day? Would cashmere be thrilling if all of your yarn was cashmere? I love that these have a finite, unpredictable life span. It makes them special, exactly because they won't be here forever. (By the way? They are actually very durable, the same as regular socks. The leaves are sewn on very securely and I washed them the same way I wash all handknit socks and then simply lay them flat to dry, without them suffering a single ill effect. They may be fragile looking, but they're as tough as any socks.)
What the H-E - double hockey sticks would you wear them with?
Amanda's wearing them the way I imagine the recipient will. With a bathrobe or your home pants, kicking around the house. I don't know that I can exactly imagine the business outfit this would go with, though seriously...wouldn't you love the thought of those gorgeous, over the top socks in all their frivolous glory worn under your pants at a meeting?
It seems hard to imagine putting that much work into something that nobody will see.
I know, but it's really ok with me. I think of these the way I think of nice underpants. Just because nobody but you (and selected personnel) will see them is no reason not to have beautiful things if it turns your crank. These aren't for me, but if they were, I wouldn't think of them as something "nobody" would see, since I'm not nobody. Given that they are a gift though? It's enough that the recipient will see 'em and figure that I must love them a whole lot.
I can't believe you fixed the ribbing when you can't even see the ribbing.
Yeah. I know. I wondered myself about that one. The issue was really more that I had worked so freakin' hard on these that it seemed stupid to compromise at that point. It would have always bothered me that I knit 34 perfect wee leaves and an inlaid toe, but I screwed up the ribbing and left it. As it is, now I can look at these and think about how they are just as close to perfect as I can make them...and that gives me a great feeling of pride.
There were many interesting comments, and many, many comments that weren't quite what I was looking for. I wasn't looking for the people who left the negative comments to be insulted, hurt or demonized, and I think that in places the comments approached (despite my own articulation that I didn't think they were bad, nasty or unwelcome) the level of unthinking that started the thing in the first place. The whole time this has been going on, I keep thinking " Seriously? All I did was knit a pair of socks you don't like and that's it? Somebody can get insulting?" (Then the part of me that is an adult kicks in and says " and all they did is insult a sock (or a designer) and you're goint to lose it? Nice maturity there Steph.")
I admit, that while I wasn't hurt myself, believing the comments to be more thoughtless than cruel, I did feel more than a pang for the designer. I know her. She's nice, and she reads this blog and I thought that it was disrespectful to her to counter her 32 page, absolutely perfectly clear pattern which must have taken her so much time and energy with only "It's ugly". One investment (even if you don't like it) deserves another, doesn't it? Amy (a reader) left a great comment:
As you said, I enjoy debate - I love listening to reasonable, rational, argument. However, calling someone's knitting "ugly" sounds like the old "you're ugly and your mother dresses you funny." There's no art in it. It's not debate, it's not argument, it's just insult.
There is is. My point exactly. If the negative comments had offered any more at all than a drive-by insult, I wouldn't have worried. I get negative comments right left and centre. Doesn't keep me awake at all, as long as it serves a purpose - or has a goal. I know for a fact (as I said yesterday) that nobody who called these socks ugly was out to hurt me - or the designer. I know they aren't bad people, and they don't deserve insult. However, they did make a comment without thinking, and I've always found pointless communication frustrating. I spend hours wondering what the point of pure opinion without reason is, or what exactly is wrong with society that "I'm just being honest" or "I have a right to an opinion" isn't countered with "Why would you share that with me?" If the answer is "because I believe that something will change as a result of our interaction", that's good enough for me. it doesn't have to be nice, but if there's no answer, or no reason, then I just can't get behind it. The rule on this blog is not "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." That wouldn't invite conversation or debate. The rule here is "If you wouldn't say it if you were in my living room, then don't say it."
Sandra offered a wonderful comment that actually did speak to motive and was exactly the sort of thinking I was hoping to hear:
Maybe this person was surprised that there were so many raves about these socks - no one had really said they didn't like them but this person didn't and maybe wondered what was wrong with his/her judgement? Maybe the person needed someone else to agree with him/her before he/she felt that their opinion was valid. Prehaps they thought that someone else might agree in the comments and then he/she could say - well, I WAS right. This kind of approval seeking can blind one to what is said - i.e. it was a poor choice of words if one did not mean to be hurtful - and perhaps he/she didn't.
I think she's probably bang on. We all want approval for our opinions, and there's nothing wrong with that. All I ask for is a little thoughtfulness when forming negative comments. If there is something you don't like, don't like it with some literate skill. Tell me why you don't like it. Talk about the items or the work in a way that could inspire change or insight. Give constructive criticism. Make it good. Have a reason beyond pure opinion.
Then take a deep breath, and knit.Posted by Stephanie at February 8, 2008 1:05 PM