Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A book about us

Over the weekend, I happened to catch NPR's Bob Edwards interviewing Mark Frauenfelder, author of Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World. The author advocates the joy and fulfillment inherent in creating things from scratch rather than buying stuff. From the book's description:
DIY is a direct reflection of our basic human desire to invent and improve, long suppressed by the availability of cheap, mass-produced products that have drowned us in bland convenience and cultivated our most wasteful habits.
Ain't it the truth. If I want a new sweater, I can waltz into Catherine's or Lane Bryant and buy a cheap, made-in-China cardigan comprised of the cheesiest acrylic yarn and plastic buttons available in the world today. It will cost me say, $45 on sale. I'll take it home, wear it a few times, and in a couple of years donate it to Goodwill because it's no longer in style and was a piece of crap to begin with.

But let's say I want a quality sweater that will last me a decade or more. It needs to be made of beautiful yarn and it must fit me. That's all I ask. I'll pay for quality, maybe even up to $200+ since it's a long-term investment. Could I find this at Nordstrom? Maybe Niemann Marcus? No. First off, they don't carry my size. Second, even those high-end retailers don't sell sweaters made from quality yarn.

No, the only way to get a good sweater is to make one. If I knit my own cardigan, I'll get a garment that fits in the fiber of my choosing, and in the perfect color to complement my pale skin. Plus I'll get months of stress reduction and relaxation that end with the satisfaction of knowing that I created something very complicated and special, too.

The book sounds interesting - and the radio interview definitely was. If you've got a few minutes, you can hear it at Bob Edward's website. I'm not sure the author wrote specifically about knitters, but he definitely wrote about us. It's nice to know there are so many other like-minded folks out there in our mindless, consumption-driven world.

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