Thursday, January 19, 2006

Cross-stitch: Here or Gone?

"I believe that scrapbooking is not going to die out like, let's say, cross-stitch, because everybody continues to take photos," she said. "The industry's going to change and evolve along with technology. Scrapbooking will always be around."

Because Scrapbooking Never Fell out of Favor
Don’t you just love when the ill-informed get a forum? Scrapbooking was hugely popular in the Victorian period, but then all but died out between, oh, 1910 and 1990. Sure, some girls glued a few scraps in books when they were teens. They didn’t go overboard, like so many contemporary scrappers do. But history teaches those of us who bothered to learn any that all things cycle in and out of favor. Those scrapping retreat people are getting a little big for their britches.

You keep putting too much shit on your scrap pages and you’re going the way of Silk Ribbon Embroidery, baby.

What is with the reports of the demise of cross-stitch? The editorial in the recent Piecework got all worked up about teaching younger generations:

Regardless of its rich past, it's clear that needlework will have no future if younger generations aren't or don't become interested in learning the techniques. You may have learned your own needlework skills from your mother or a grandmother or aunt, but this practice of passing on skills to the next generation has become less and less common in recent years. Of course, many of you are tirelessly teaching others what you know, as well as stitching, knitting, quilting, and crocheting for your children and your grandchildren.

Knit? How did that get included? Are they not aware that this is a Stitch n' Bitch Nation? There are more SnBs in Los Angeles than a girl can get to in a week, and the inhabitants can't even wear knitted things. Knitting stores are popping up all over the place. And the magazines! Okay, most of the magazines are crap, but there are lots of them.

Why do we think learning from your grandmother/mother is the only option? Granny Stitchbitch can mix a martini but she can't cook, sew, knit, quilt, crochet, bake, or any of those other things you are "supposed" to learn from a grandmother. I think the Editors are looking in the usual places and not finding signs of life in the craft industry. But if you look at places like craftster and get crafty loads of young people are into making things with their hands. They're just not beholden to industry experts and industry generated patterns. They're do it yourself-ers. After all, it's not brain surgery; most of these things, you can teach yourself.

I think the Editors can untwist their panties. Craftiness is here to stay, boozy grandmas notwithstanding.


Rosemary said...

Agh! The ignorance makes my eyes bleed.

For the record, I am crafty in many many ways and not one of the craft genres or techniques were taught to me by my Grandmothers. Or anyone else.

Michele said...

What is it with knitting? Why does it seem to be "trendier" than cross stitching? Because its more portable? Because the "Stars" can be seen toting knitting projects on the set? I don't get it. We need a revolution!

Darla said...

I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but the past tense of "knit," folks, is "knitted," not "knit." As in, "I knitted last night" not "I knit last night."

Mia said...

I can honestly tell you that I am self taught at many crafts, cross stitch included. My mom did teach me to knit and crochet but very basic stuff. Only after I taught myself to cross stitch, did my mother tell me that I must have gotten grandmom's "stitching gene". She gave me a beautiful redwork sampler done by my grandmother in 1904. My grandmom cross stitched and embroidered. My mom didn't like it and never did it but always appreciated it.

I have to be honest here too. I get more satisfaction out of cross stitch and needlework than I do out of knitting or crochet. I get bored easily with the knitting/crochet stuff. Give me needlework any day and I am sure that is true of many, many people. Just not the people the editors chose to poll.

Cheryl in DC said...

While all of my family are crafty (women and men), the only one who sat down to teach me any of it was my paternal grandmother who taught me to crochet granny squares. The rest I learned on the fly or maybe in Girl Scouts. I taught myself to cross-stitch one summer because 2 of my close college friends did it.

Anna van Schurman said...

Actually, Darla, we're all right. Knit or knitted for the simple past and the past participle. It's a matter of preference as "knit" is an irregular verb.

Lee said...

I'm wondering exactly *when* cross-stitch was super-popular. I can't put it in a decade. I think it's always been kind of on the fringe. You think?

Interesting topic. I'll comment more in my blog!

Melissa said...

Lee-I could be wrong but I think cross stitch had an upswing of popularity in the early 80s. I had lots of friends dabbling in it back then(the key word is dabbling). Of course it didn't last long for them, didn't become an obession like it did with me. Other than that like you I believe it's always been out of the main stream.

Laren said...

The mention of scrapbooking never going out of fashion is quite funny, because at the moment, one of the hottest topics on many scrapbooking related boards and email lists is how scrapbooking seems to be taking a nose dive and how there are all these problems with it. But like all crafts, there are ups and downs. All have their peaks: in the 80's it was patchwork and quilting, in the 90's cross stitch, the last few years it's been knitting. And after each boom, there will be a bust, where people who got into it because it's trendy will drop out, but many will stick with it, enough to keep it alive.