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.............


kathy b said...

I HAVE SOME non reply comments too Toni.

Mostly though I get comments with a reply tab that links me to your blog or their blog.

Here here for getting rid of the ugly but sentimental stuff. I did the same last week ...must be spring cleaning!

bittenbyknittin said...

Wait until you are 60. You will finally feel old enough to make and wear whatever you damn well feel like.

D. Carlen said...

I'm 53. I loved the 70s. I fondly recall macrome owls and plant hangers. String and nail art. Harvest gold and avocado green appliances. I recall all the kitschy crochet--poodles, toilet covers, watermelon potholders, etc. I wore a red/white/green poncho and a blue/white poncho with abandon.

I didn't own a mesh crochet vest with pompons, but not because I didn't want one. I was 10 years old, away at free camp for 3 weeks and when I returned, all the girls at the Salvation Army "Boy's Club" had learned how to crochet and were wearing their vests. I missed it; they moved on to another craft.

When I was 16, I begged my step dad's ex-wife to teach me how. I crocheted for years making gifts for others. I really had no idea how much that vest shaped my desire to learn to crochet, and how much, in my 40s, making myself one, and wearing it, and loving it, would heal me. Its teal, Red Heart Super Saver, with pompon ties, and yes, I wear it, and whether or not they are genuine, or are poking fun at me (?), I get a lot of compliments.

My daughter is 24. 4 years ago she requested a yellow, brown, orange granny crochet "70s" hobo bag. I made it, she uses it, she loves it. She doesn't care what anyone else thinks.

Be free. Add fringe. Add pompons. Use colors found only in acrylic yarn. Go retro.

Let the haters hate, so long as it makes you happy.

Dana said...

I've thought about this too...about how the winds of craft blow through so quickly! My grandma had a whole set of Time-Life craft books and the color schemes and everything were horrendous. but they got me going on making things.

Of course, in my family, cooking and making never quite went out of style. It helped that my mom was a #6 in a family of 7 from parents who "started late," so my grandparents had a decidedly Depression mentality and the work ethic to go with it.

Back when I started making things in earnest, when I was in high school in the early '90s, I would get very odd looks when I went to the fabric store or craft store, and often treated extremely rudely or condescendingly. The idea of a teenage girl wanting to sew clothing or do embroidery, or quilt (knitting came later) was just not in the vogue. I may have had friends who made stuff, but we definitely didn't talk about it or do it together.

Fast forward to now when my students bring in their knitting to have me help them with problems, or a guy on the basketball team shows off the crocheted beanie he made...I hope it's a change that will last, but since it's been going on for 15+ years, I think it's less a trend than a reappraisal of the value of making things.

that said, if I'm going to spend a month on a sweater, I'm usually going to choose a non-trendy color...

Gaidig said...

I didn't live through the '70s, but as a child of the '80s, I certainly know that some things are really just fads. I generally go for more classic things, but I also think it's ok to have some things that have a shorter life due to fashion, you just don't want to make them be investments. A top, not a suit. A wall color or paint treatment, not a backsplash or refrigerator.
Also, as for Pinterest, it would be interesting to hear someone else's assessment of my boards from that perspective. Of course, I don't always pin things for the same reason. Sometimes it's a concept or technique that intrigues me, or the shape of a garment, and not the color. Etc.