Penultimate spin

Since the UK magazine Knitting only ran a glowing article about Rowan Scottish Tweed and the Carloway mill in February, perhaps it is still timely to follow up on the end of the Harris Tweed legal showdown.

As mentioned at the end of this post, the action launched by the Harris Tweed Authority (HTA) against Coats (owner of Rowan) and Harris Tweed Textiles (HTTL), the company supplying Rowan with the yarn presently known as Scottish Tweed, was settled. Rowan rebranded its Harris yarn as Scottish Tweed last year — thereby introducing the word “Tweed” into the yarn name itself — and retailers are still selling off the stock with the old labels. It hasn’t completely ended, though, as there is yet to be an assessment of legal costs.

Two views
The announcement of the settlement on the HTA website is rather brief: undertakings not to infringe HTA’s trademark rights, and not to use “Harris Tweed”, “Harris Yarn”, or the domain name “harris-tweed.co.uk” in association with yarn. (It’s a standard provision in most settlement agreements relating to intellectual property rights that a party will not infringe those rights in future, whether there was an admission or finding of past infringement or not.)

The report of HTA’s victory elsewhere by Alice Starmore is a little more sanguine, and takes the opportunity to riff a bit on the subject of creativity and hand knitwear design: the defendants “finally caved in to all demands” and the HTA “won” their case; the defendants will probably try to avoid paying the court-ordered legal costs; the defendants are infringers and criminals; the defendants have had the gall to rebrand their yarn as “Scottish” Tweed; she suggests that Rowan has lost its innovative edge, and cautions all would-be hand knitting designers not to bother trying, because someone will just rip you off in the end; and she turns a bit ghoulish when she describes an accident at Carloway mill. Oh, and she mocks Di Gilpin’s work. (I prefer ghoulishness in relating business or legal affairs, not incidents in which a man nearly died. As for Gilpin, I personally do prefer Starmore’s designs to Gilpin’s, but I wouldn’t wear either of them.)

To clarify, what HTA “won” in court was legal costs. And unlike Starmore, HTA didn’t call the defendants’ activities infringements; the HTA press release doesn’t say that an admission of infringement was involved, merely that an undertaking not to infringe was given. If Starmore is privy to the terms of settlement, perhaps she’d like to share more of them with us.

Based on Starmore’s reporting (the bullet points near the bottom of this page), it appears that the legal costs were granted because the defendants stood their ground and did not attempt to negotiate, causing HTA to continue the action with the attendant expense. I’m a little puzzled by this, because the yarn was in the process of being renamed “Scottish Tweed” before the action was finally settled; but who knows what (lack of) communication transpired.

More interesting, though, are Starmore’s thoughts on the industry in general.

Retreading old ground
A little more of Starmore’s past history comes out when she mentions that she was a creditor of Rowan when it went bankrupt in 1995. The implication in the following paragraphs of her epilogue is that after its acquisition by Coats, Rowan had become morally and creatively bankrupt, as well.

She asks what happened to Rowan’s “innovation.” I find myself wondering what she means. Does she mean a lack of innovation in design? Perhaps the designs published by Rowan ten years ago were a little more elaborate, but on the other hand, perhaps the evolution of Rowan design philosophy to minimalism (with intermittent Fassett and Mably plumage) is a response to demand from knitters for simpler designs.

Still, some of the designers in Rowan’s pattern books pre-1995 are the same as the designers in the books published after the Coats acquisition: Kaffe Fassett, Annabel Fox, Jean Moss, Kim Hargreaves, Sharon Peake, Erika Knight, Sarah Dallas, Sasha Kagan. Some of them have gone on to establish independent design portfolios or yarn lines in recent years. (And I have no idea if those designers did so as a result of a falling out with Coats-owned Rowan, or if they simply realized that they, too, could produce patterns and an eponymous range of yarns, with increased name recognition, just like Alice Starmore did. I hope that Starmore isn’t upset with them for stealing her idea of branching out on their own, too.)

Does she mean the gorilla-like armwarmers and other devices that appear to have been designed at the last minute before publication, and are intended to use only small quantities of mega-bulky yarn? If so, the problem is not simply Rowan lacking creativity; as part of the resurgence of knitting, a market has been built up for quick projects demanding few skills and less yarn. That may be the fault of the customers, or it may be the fault of the industry players who created that demand in the first place.

Does she mean a lack of innovation in yarns? While we’ve seen the regrettable loss of classic yarns since the Coats takeover (remember, one mill that supplied Rowan with some of those classic yarns closed down a while ago, so some discontinuations may not have been by Coats’s choice), we’ve seen the introduction of new yarns that clearly show that the company is willing to take risks (R2 comes to mind) and to introduce new concepts in hand knitting yarns (such as Calmer). They’ve even successfully created a market for luxury laceweight yarn–and they’ve been so successful, that their Kidsilk Haze has been dubbed “Cracksilk Haze” in blogland. Certainly, the objective is to make money for Coats, but means that they have chosen to achieve that end has resulted in more variety for the consumer (and for me, a cotton-blend yarn that I don’t mind knitting). And in the meantime, Rowan has apparently been trying to establish a yarn line to replace the old Donegal Lambswool Tweed and other DK and lighter yarns.

(K)nitpicks
Starmore seems to admit that Rowan is having yarn manufactured in Scotland when she recounts in her epilogue that some American knitters are planning to visit an unnamed Lewis mill. (However, I’m not certain if her mock incredulity isn’t also directed at the use of the term “factory” in place of “mill.”) Prior to that, she also claims that the Rowan Harris yarn (which, note, she herself mislabels as “Harris Tweed yarn”) could not have been “entirely constructed” by HTTL on Lewis, but does not explain why. That missing detail reminds me that the description of her own yarn does not advise that her own products are produced entirely on Lewis (her yarn tags state “Great Britain”), so that jibe seems a little disingenuous.

And on the subject of the Rowan yarn, Starmore states that when she examined it she found it was “made from wool of bog-standard quality and of equally standard knopped construction”. I can’t speak of the relative qualities of Scottish Tweed yarn and Starmore’s Hebridean yarns, but I wonder if she could have possibly meant “standard knopped construction” as a criticism:


At left, Rowan Scottish Tweed DK in brilliant pink; center, Rowan Scottish Tweed 4 ply in midnight (overexposed to show as much colour as possible — overall, the colour reads as darkest blue-black); and right, Alice Starmore Hebridean 3 ply (worsted weight). To be fair, the Starmore yarn appears smoothest overall, because it is composed of three plies to the Scottish Tweed’s two plies. I haven’t got any samples of Hebridean 2 ply to compare. But I still see knops, such as that green one the upper right-hand corner.

The Hebridean 3 ply has approximately 100 metres per 50g skein at 5.50GBP; Scottish Tweed DK has 113 metres per 50g ball at 4.21GBP, not including VAT, meaning that for a generous sweater’s worth of yarn, the Scottish Tweed would likely be cheaper, even once shipping costs are added. (Virtual Yarns offers free shipping for orders over 12GBP.) Hebridean 3 ply is available in about three dozen shades, Scottish Tweed DK in 16 colours.

The Hebridean 2 ply has approximately 85 metres per 25g skein at 2.80GBP; Scottish Tweed 4 ply has 110 metres per 25g skein. Both are intended for use for stranded colourwork, but the Scottish Tweed seems to be closer in yarn weight to typical yarns for Fair Isle-type knitting, such as Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift; according to the numbers, Starmore’s Hebridean 2 ply is thicker. But if we compare the cost per yardage, the Rowan Scottish Tweed is a bit cheaper than Hebridean 2 ply. Hebridean 2 ply is available in the same three dozen shades as the 3 ply, and Scottish Tweed 4 ply is available in 24 colours.

This comparison suggests that at present, Starmore’s main advantage (aside from her design catalogue) over the competing Rowan Scottish Tweed line is the number of available colours — and some of the colours of Scottish Tweed, in fact, are exceedingly similar to colours in the Hebridean line. (I would not say identical, since these yarns are spun at different mills, and as far as I know the wool is dyed by different people.)

And it seems to me that therein lies Starmore’s reason for reporting on HTA’s dispute with Rowan and HTTL: she wanted an excuse to air her own grievances against a competitor, because she must not have any other recourse. She has complained that they have attempted to copy her “Hebridean Yarn Concept” and her colours; what is missing in her complaint is a clear statement that in doing so, they had transgressed her rights (beyond copying one webpage containing terms and conditions). Given that she calls HTTL “infringers” and “criminals”, one might think that she wouldn’t shrink from making further allegations if she thought she could make them stick. But as it is, after reading her three-part tale plus epilogue, I came away with the impression that the worst crime committed by HTTL, in Starmore’s eyes, is that they decided to compete. Against her.

The end… or is it?
One passage in Starmore’s epilogue is almost cryptic:

I have never known of a genuinely creative person who is confined to a single field of expression. That is not the way the creative mind works: never has and never will. If original creative work is abused by those seeking a free ride, then the creators simply turn to some other medium. Those who support and collude in such abuse can only expect to be becalmed in the dull doldrums of plagiarism and ersatz design values.

Since the above statement was posted, there have been few additions to Starmore’s online shop: new photographs of an existing design, an adaptation of an old Starmore design in the new yarns, and adaptations of a couple of designs from Jade Starmore’s first book — but no new designs. In fact, it has been a while since any new designs were published. Thus, this statement was cause for concern among Starmore fans: was this her way of saying that she will not be designing any more knitwear?

I’ve heard of one person e-mailing Virtual Yarns to put that question squarely to Alice Starmore; I haven’t heard that any response has been provided. After decades in the field, if Starmore had chosen to effectively retire from designing hand knits and move on to some other medium, that would be an understandable decision; but to go out on such a sour note? Is she suggesting that her competitors should be blamed for driving her out of this industry? Or is she only taking a break, and leaving her diehard customers with a cliffhanger?

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22 Responses to Penultimate spin

  1. Linda says:

    Thank you for this very interesting analysis. I have spent many frustrating hours trying to find substitute yarns for A. Starmore’s designs and trying to hunt down some of her books or patterns at a reasonable price, all without much luck.

    Starmore seems to manifest a combination of classic monopoly behaviour combined with, and supported on, a righteous diatribe against all the greedy and dishonest individuals who want to exploit her creativity and steal from her. Yet people (who must have masses of money) will pay $400 for one of her books, used! She reminds me of the crazy General Jack A. Ripper in _Dr. Strangelove_ who’s ready to nuke the world in order to keep the enemy empire from corrupting his precious bodily fluids!

    Anyway, your analysis here has provided an rational and logical explanation for what is otherwise a pretty crazy affair.

    Thanks,

    LC

  2. WonderMike says:

    Wow!!!! What an amazing read I’ve had. Thank you so much for your wonderful insight and detective work. As someone who has admired Lady Starmore for a while and even paid for an auctioned copy of “Fair Isle Knitting”, I’m happy to say that she’s definitely worth the effort but I’m a little hesitant to say that it’s worth the crazy money. Even she would agree. In fact, Mairi MacLeod (who works at VY) answered one of my emails (in part, I believe, because I purchased two kits in the last few months), which I have posted on Ravelry, here

  3. Deana says:

    I agree, she is a great talent but she seems a bit odd. I have emailed her asking why she doesnt republish her books, she just ignores the emails. I have emailed a number of times. I have hear of others who have the same thing. I read somewhere she has the rights to all her books. I think she doesnt republish because she gets far more attention if she doesnt. The price of her books soar and she can charge quite high prices on her website. i have asked if i can buy a pattern seperately but she just ignores emails she doesnt want to answer. Think about this if she republished all her books then no one would fight over the books, and she wouldnt get so much attention about it. I think its all about fame and money….

  4. Marlene says:

    You know, it is got to be hard to see your intelectual rights been violated… and all, so I understand to an extend Alice actions, but at the same time, there are so many other sucessful designers in the world such as Elsebeth Lavold, Jean Frost, Meg Swansen, and so on, that have found a way to be sucessful and to make their designs available, and make money without having to fall into this sort of controversy with everybody they do business with, that makes you wonder what is wrong with A.S. So, although I don’t know the details of why all this is happening, I do know that it is possible to do business in the knitting industry and be in peace with the market players at the same time.
    As far as copy rights, if your designs and yarns are available and the price is reasonable, the chances of people infringing copyrights will be less and vice versa. I think that Alice herself is to blame to some extent for her losses in copy right infringment since she has not been sucessful in making her designs and even her yarns available and somewhat affordable.

  5. Honor says:

    Thank you so much for explaining the Starmore debacle! I’ve only just found this after searching for some time. I actually sent a long email to Big Alice when I found the harangue about Harris Yarns on her website: I was horrified to find such a malicious and spiteful diatribe against Di Gilpin. I live near St Andrews where Di has her shop and although I’ve only spoken to her a few times, I’ve found her to be a very pleasant, honest and sincere person. My email to you-know-who was long and detailed but (I hope) politely refuting her arguments. Naturally, I did not receive a reply. At the time, I had no idea of the other paranoid wrangles she has engaged in, so I was quite shocked and upset to find a designer whom I admired ranting on like this. With what I know now, I would hardly raise an eyebrow, just dismiss it as the usual Alice eyewash.

  6. Violetsrose says:

    FABULOUS article!!! – thank you

    One thing I do disagree with though is the whole big quick knits bring in more money – if someone knits a one skein big knit item per month they’ve spent about £6 per month – £72 per year – if someone knits one cracksilk haze jumper per year they’ve likely spent £120 on yarn for that one project (to get a decent thickness it is knitted double for garments so I’m guesstimating 20 balls) – and if you’re that into knitting that jumper wont be your only project for that year.

    I think its because the thick bulky yarns with cheaper content are cheaper to make than the fine delicate yarns with luxury content – but they still charge stupid amounts per ball for the the bulky ones – thus upping their profit margin per ball.
    (I can understand why cracksilk haze is over £6 per ball – its kid mohair and silk and spun so fine it must be a nightmare for snapping if you haven’t got the spinning tension right – but I cannot understand why the big knits stuff is that price – its just wool and hardly spun at all!!)

  7. j. says:

    Well, she hasn’t complained about sales of her original books to my knowledge — historically, she has had auctions shut down in which people were selling competing brands of yarn for her designs, even when a pattern is not included in the sale (i.e., just providing a yarn pack and suggesting the pattern), or in which it was not clear that the pattern for sale was a legitimate copy.

    But why not reprint a popular book? Two possible answers:

    1) She doesn’t want to.
    2) She can’t.

    This assumes that AS is the appropriate “they” in your question. From a business POV, if she had the rights to reprint her books or patterns, it seems she’d be crazy not to; but if she doesn’t want to do business with any of the likely distributors, then she’s stuck fulfilling orders herself from Scotland, and books are heavy. Maybe she has concluded that it’s not worth the investment.

    Or maybe she’s tired of providing such active support for them. Or maybe she just wants to put her memory of bad business associations behind her. Or maybe she wants to steer customers towards new designs where substitute yarns are not as easily sourced (except for Rowan’s Scottish Tweed line!), which means that all of those patterns must be reworked for her new yarn and she hasn’t got around to it yet/lost interest?

    Or what if she can’t? What if she didn’t have the right to republish those patterns or books? I think AS might have said that she does own the copyright, at least with respect to certain works, but it’s possible to license partial rights, and not others. What if actually taking the step of reprinting might trigger a legal fight she’s been avoiding? Who knows.

    You could try asking her, but I’ve never heard of anyone reporting a definitive answer.

  8. Can somebody explain to me why her books are so ridiculously expensive ?

    If the Aran Knitting book and the Fair Isle book are so popular why they just don’t reprint them ?

    I heard that she complaints all the time about Ebay selling her stuff, but what option do her fans have if the books are out of print ?

    Right now there is a copy of “Charts for Colour Knitting” selling on Ebay for $ 300 and the auction is not closed yet!

    Regardless of her excentricity regarding copy rights, you guys have to admit that she is incredible !!! Otherwise why would people pay so much money for one of these books. I am among those whishing I got the Lotto so I can purchase them…

    I don’t mind that she might seem… let’s just say not very humble at times… But hey, she is you know who… I mean, as a knitter I pay my respects to her. In my opinion, she deserves to brag, and she deserves to be picky on her copy rights.

    ANYWAYS, I just want to know why the books are not been republished instead of letting the used-book market party with the profits on them.

    Anyone?

  9. Lola says:

    Well, my guess is that her creative energy has been 100% directed into nursing grudges, which could explain the lack of new designs. As for Jade Starmore . . . maybe she’s lurking, biding her time? Or moved on to anything that does not have to do with knitting? I know that if I had a mother like She Who Shall Not Be Named, I’d want to put some distance careerwise.

  10. In a way, if Berroco et al have dreamed up new yarns, created a market for them, created patterns for them then are they not innovative? I’m not saying I like the stuff, but those hedgehogs look pretty innovative to me.
    On the subject of simple patterns, I’m torn. Now that I’ve been knitting for awhile, I’m flabbergasted when I see people knitting garter-stitch scarves from a pattern. But I also remember needing those patterns when I started, and that working on them gave me the confidence to move on to more complex patterns, like charted colourwork. You know, the kind that makes Starmore all her money.

  11. Nancy says:

    Thanks for this post! I’m an economist who teaches some intellectual property stuff and I’m also a fair isle knitter who once took a class from She Who Cannot Be Named Who. You’ve done such a great careful job with all the details.

    And yeah, she seems to be cackling with glee that someone was seriously injured.

  12. j. says:

    Yep, that’s the one.

  13. 3c says:

    Were you looking for this hedghog pattern (the one that got the “Less Is More” award for use of novelty fibers? You might have been spelling it correctly, it’s spelled *hedge*hog for the designer’s purposes :)

    http://www.rainbowfibres.com/Pages/hedge.html

    -3c

  14. Beth says:

    Thank you for taking the time to explain that. What you say makes a lot of sense. I never really considered the implication of ice cream cozies past “shudder.”

  15. j. says:

    I like me a challenge. But please, keep your frizz to yourself.

    1. Fiber Trends hedgehog pattern. I was actually looking for a different, smaller hedgehog (a version that’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand) that was published by someone else, but I can’t find it. This one I was looking for was a lot cuter than the FT version. (If someone knows, please…) Oh, wait — does that count as “simple”?

    2. Karen Baumer’s multidirectional scarf for self-striping yarns. She actually designed this in response to a challenge to a mailing list from Iris Schreier that no one could figure out how she did her multidirectional scarf… I think in response to Karen’s pattern, Schreier said that wasn’t her solution. (If you don’t like this one, then of course there’s Clapotis, another design that relies on self-striping yarn. Is Rosedale too complex to be simple?)

    3. Vegan Fox.

    4. Frontier, the coonskin cap.

    Um… okay, what I’m listing here is not dirt-simple, but not complex, either. Do they count?

    And I notice that the stuff I’m listing for use with frizzy/fuzzy yarn is all animal-themed.

  16. Susan says:

    I’ve been rather surprised at the diatribe on her site. I’ve always been turned off by the way her ego dominates her writing, and her reaction to Rowan does little to endear her, or her work, to me. As for her knitting – she has put out nothing new for so long that I had assumed she had run out of inspiration and was moving on to something else, like needlework. I wonder how many of those kits have sold? They are way, way out of my price league, and I don’t sew, I only knit. Her comment about creative people is rather interesting, and typical of her. Many artists (as in painters) only paint/sketch/draw. Does that mean they are not “genuinely creative”? Authors write – are they not really creative because they don’t have other talents?

  17. DoryO says:

    Dear J.:

    I’m so glad I found this blog. Can you please post a link to a pattern for an ice cream cozy? Preferably one that can be knit flat on size 13 needles. My ice cream carton is about 5 inches around and 8 inches high. Will eyelash yarn freeze to the carton like a tongue on a tetherball pole? How much yarn will it take? Will these also work for sherbet?

    heh…just kidding.

    But seriously, I think you’re being polite and trying to be “fair” when you say there are “a lot of good simple designs for novelty yarns.” Name three and you win 2 balls of Moda Dea frizz I’ve got in stash. Seriously.

  18. Thank you to you and the commentators for the discussion. I feel like I have just attended a seminar. To continue the dialogue: I work part-time in a yarn shop that is on the more conservative end of the scale. Although there have been requests for legwarmers, none have been for the more exaggerated forms of other warmers in heavy novelty yarns. The leg warmers, after some discussion, end up being made in a lighter weight wool, as no woman wants to look as if she has elephant legs. But there seems to be no end to the desire to knit scarves in an endless variety of novelty yarns, none of which I would drape around my own neck.

  19. j. says:

    I don’t mean to suggest that any project that’s quick and easy, or uses a novelty yarn, is inherently wrong. There always has been a need for patterns for simple or quick projects, and yarn companies (and other publishers) have always been willing to supply that need; and as far as I know, anybody who knits will, at least occasionally, want to knit something that isn’t complex. I do.

    I should have phrased that to say that the market for quick and simple projects seems to have grown disproportionately in recent years, compared with the rest of the hand knitting market (I have no numbers to back this up) — with the consequence that there are a lot of simple designs out there in novelty yarns that are, well, candidates for YKW, that do look like they were last-minute (or just not well thought-out) ideas. At the same time, there are a lot of good simple designs for novelty yarns.

    In blaming the suppliers, I’m adopting part of a theory put forward by Diane Piwko in an editorial in InKnitters, Fall 2005. (Well, she didn’t advance it as a theory, rather as fact.) She was describing the evolution of the hand knitting market over the past fifteen years. Piwko suggests that when North American companies such as Berroco, Trendsetter, and Prism started looking at overseas sources and began importing novelty yarns, they:

    slowly created a market for their finds, as knitters initially did not know what to do with these strange threads. They designed, they encouraged the necessary accessories (large needles anyone?), and they created momentum with advertising and excitement among the yarn shop owners. In short, they created a demand for these new fibers that trickled down from the loyal LYS customer to the occasional or beginning knitter.

    Piwko’s objective here was to show that the previous bright-line distinction between the yarns sold by specialist knitting shops and comprehensive craft shops was blurred as the suppliers of novelty yarns sought to expand their market; I’m just fixing on one observation she made. Her editorial also makes other statements that I don’t quite agree with, but I do think she does have something in that bit about creating momentum.

    I do think that a number of the patterns published by yarn companies now simply would not exist but for the fact that the distributors are trying to create demand for yarns that knitters would have otherwise left on store shelves. Of course yarn companies publish patterns in order to provide support and create demand for their yarns; but “traditional” yarns already had pattern support from third parties, and they’re more likely than novelty yarns to be interchangeable, and thus enjoy broader pattern support.

    Perhaps it’s only apocryphal, but I’ve heard that it makes economic sense for a distributor of traditional and novelty yarns to keep the knitter in a position where he or she would prefer to purchase small amounts of novelty yarns for use in quick and easy projects: more finished objects, more satisfaction, more visits to the store to buy more yarn, more money spent. If a knitter made only finer-gauge, large garments, then he or she would not be making frequent purchases, those purchases would be carefully planned, and overall, less money would find its way to the distributors and manufacturers. So it’s in the distributor’s and manufacturer’s best interest to cultivate the market for quickly-knit designs.

    At the same time, while the cost of producing certain novelty yarns must have dropped over the past decade and a half (subject to oil prices for petroleum-based yarns, I guess), newer mass-produced novelty yarns and artisanal yarns command higher prices, so knitters may purchase less of them for a single project — creating a demand for “one skein” patterns and relatively simple ones, too, because stitch patterns, full-fashioned shaping, etc. would be hidden by the textures or colours of novelty yarns. (In the case of artisanal yarns, it may not be possible to supply yarn in sufficient volume to support a line of patterns for garments, so small projects would be best suited for those yarns, anyway.)

    I mean, there’s nothing wrong with small projects, or quick-to-knit ones. But if a manufacturer or distributor is targeting that particular segment with novelty yarns, there’s a limited number of classes of items that can be designed before the concept becomes ridiculous: scarves, mitts, hats, headbands, wrist warmers, leg warmers, arm warmers, iPod cozies, Walkman cozies, soda cozies, ice cream cozies, coffee cup sleeves

  20. Shelly says:

    Thanks for this analysis, I agree with Carol, too, it’s a pleasure to read writing like this. I’m fascinated about Starmore’s motivation for airing this conflict on her web site. Is she so angry she can’t see how churlish this makes her look, after all her web site is her place of business. Is she setting up a justification for something not yet revealed? Does anyone know Ms. Starmore personally? Is she a difficult personality? Clearly, there’s more to this story…..BTW, Ms. Starmore is the doyenne of knitting in the US if prices for her put of print books are any indication. First editions of Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting are valued around $899 at the online retailer Alibris. Others of her OPP books are also in the several hundred dollar range.

  21. Beth says:

    I agree with Carol above. I find your entries refreshingly intelligent and informative. I am interested that you wrote

    Does she mean the gorilla-like armwarmers and other devices that appear to have been designed at the last minute before publication, and are intended to use only small quantities of mega-bulky yarn? If so, the problem is not simply Rowan lacking creativity; as part of the resurgence of knitting, a market has been built up for quick projects demanding few skills and less yarn. That may be the fault of the customers, or it may be the fault of the industry players who created that demand in the first place.

    As a fan of both more intricate projects and satisfyingly quick projects, I’m curious to know where there could be “fault” to the latter. As long as someone enjoys knitting and their final project, how can the size of the yarn or the time used to make the project be inherently wrong?

  22. Carol says:

    Fascinating post. Thanks for all the careful analysis — lengthy, detailed, thoughtful writing like that isn’t fast or easy.