Saturday, April 27, 2013

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me or can everyone else on Pinterest tell the difference between pinners who were alive during the 1970s and those who weren't? 

I'm not being critical--there was a crafting optimism in the 1970s that was rather inspiring.  Since I'm in Idaho and we're always a bit behind the times, it might have started in the 1960, but I wasn't alive then so I don't know.  What I do remember from my childhood is that it was a time when one could add pom poms and fringe to any project with wild abandon.  Color schemes were daring--often glaring--and pants were flaring.  (Sorry, couldn't resist that one)  If you could make it, you did it--damn the consequences or the "rules" of taste.  Beer can crocheted hats, ponchos in earth tones made with acrylic petroleum-based Red Heart yarn, dogs crocheted around soap, dolls crocheted around toilet paper, and macramé plant hangers in front of every window.  As anyone who remembers the 70's love affair with tube tops will remember, nothing was ever too "tacky" to make or wear.

However, this freedom from taste came to a crashing halt in the 1980s (which defies logic with the clothing trends the 80s brought, but I digress......).  Hand crafts became decidedly "uncool," (and based on an old turquoise and red poncho I had as a child, I could understand the sentiment) and those of us still knitting were driven underground.  Afghans were scratchy, pilling things that one hid deep inside closets until the mercenary relative who had plagued you with it came for a visit.  Doilies were for old ladies, sewing was for sissies, and suddenly your friends would scoff at you for even having the knowledge to sew on a button.  Take a quick browse through any thrift or charity shop, and you're still likely to find the unwanted craft children of the era of free crafting.

So it's with a little nostalgia, a little longing, and a little humor that I browse the DYI and craft board on Pinterest.  I was too young to be part of the 1970s free-for-all, and now in 2013 I am so rigid in my "Yes-but-will-it-draw-derision-in-10-years?" mentality that I cannot even bring myself to add fringe to even the most tasteful of lace scarves.  Scarred by the 1970s and the aftermath, I skip most popular color schemes as they come along (pink and brown, turquoise and brown) because I've seen them before and know how quickly they look dated.  I browse Regretsy and wonder what on earth people were thinking, yet some part of me wishes I had the confidence to just assume that no matter how "out there" my idea might seem, it is tasteful and "art."  But I know how long I hung on to positively ugly items because someone made them for me--finally dropping them off outside charity shops in the dead of night so they couldn't be returned or refused--and I think maybe a little restraint isn't such a bad thing after all.............