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At the Craft Sessions

   
 
Spending a much-needed weekend in the Yarra Valley at my favourite event, the Craft Sessions. 

This is my second year, and it’s wonderful to see friends I made last year, and to finally meet in person some of the Aussie makers I admire most.

I’m teaching three classes this year (sock knitting, blocking, and introduction to lace), but have most of today off. Free time to read, knit, drop in on other classes, and think.

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Low-tech 

 


Despite all the fancy apps that claim to improve the modern knitter’s life, this is still my favourite way to track rows and decreases. Paper, pencil. Measuring tape. A sewing gauge with a little red slider is about as fancy as my tools get.

I’ve seen countless iterations of basic knitting tools: measuring tapes shaped like sheep! Square knitting gauges, triangular ones, pink ones, wooden ones! Darning needles in glass tubes, in plastic boxes, in felt sleeves. Square needles, ebony needles, colorful needles, see-through needles.

I’m not competing for the title of least materialistic crafter of the year. When I see gadgets of all types being hawked to makers, though, it makes me wonder: who are these things for, and what are they for?

Surely not to make nicer things. That comes with time, patience, dedication, raw materials. Better tools, sure, but probably not cuter tools. Does a carpenter use a tiny hammer painted with hearts?

Is it for convenience? Oh. If convenience is the aim, I should probably set my knitting aside and head to Uniqlo instead.

Excuse the slight snark. I’m tired of seeing new crafters become overwhelmed by the plethora of tools they think they need, and by the useless, low-quality junk being hawked at them.

I work in tech, where the stereotype employee has every latest gadget and can’t wait until the next Apple announcement. What I’ve found, instead, is a group of people who are as obsessed as I am with craftsmanship, this time of hardware, code, pixels. I never expected we’d have that in common.

When I spotted an Apple Watch peeking from under a coworker’s sleeve, I gently teased him about his latest indulgence. “Yeah, I know, but yesterday, when it was guiding me through the city? It was awesome.” He had the dazed look of someone who lives in the future. The tool worked.

When a knitting novelty can do that? I’ll start buying. Until then, pen and paper it is.