Wednesday, October 10, 2007


It is chilly today, hurrah! I can't believe I am saying that, but the extended heat and humidity through the beginning of October were totally wearing me down. Plus, cold weather means warm clothes which means Daughter can finally start wearing all of the fall and winter garments I've been making for her.

Last night I actually spent time in front of her closet, planning what cute thing she could wear to playgroup today. I know, that's so lame. But she is small and still suggestible (most of the time) and darn it, I'm going to dress her in sweet girl outfits until she won't let me anymore.

Today she wore her Thanksgiving jumper from last year. You can see it here. Notice how it's below her knees in that picture? *Sigh.* Now it barely covers her bottom. She also wore Secret Garden, which finally fits her 1.5 years after I finished it. Combined with pigtails and cute brown/ivory herringbone tights, the outfit was really cute. She got lots of compliments from the teacher and the moms in our playgroup, and then someone asked me where the sweater came from. I said that I knit it, and people, believe me, I am the most self-deprecating person you'll meet (in real life...I know I sometimes brag here but that's different, you know?). So I definitely didn't say it in a braggy way, but it's a small classroom and most of the moms heard the conversation.

A few minutes later, the teacher asked about the jumper. Specifically, she asked, "is that from this year?" And internally I did some serious cabbage-patching because YEE-HAW! My goal in life is to make clothes that look OTR, and she thought it was from one of the baby store fall collections! However, externally I just smiled and answered that I made the dress. Demurely, I assure you.

And here we come to the point of this post, which is the offense I take at some peoples' reactions to handmade stuff. Specifically, to handmade stuff that's made relatively well. I work really, really hard to make nice things for Daughter, and I am very, very flattered when someone compliments me on them. I never, never, never tell anyone that I made something unless they ask where it came from, and I always downplay it. That's because it's my hobby, and I do it for fun, not for compliments.

The thing is, one of the moms, when I said I made the dress too, made that noise people make that sounds sort of disgusted, sort of annoyed, sort of mean. That phlegmy, throaty "ech." Then she launched into a diatribe about her sister-in-law and how "Martha" she is because she can make anything and she's "so crafty."

Why do people do this?

I'll tell you what, one reason I like the internet/blog craft community is because of the unwavering support all of us give one another in our undertakings. No one in this arena says "ech" when they see someone's creation. I got thinking seriously about this after reading Jane's post today regarding reactions to her book about the domestic arts. They are arts, and just because you don't necessarily participate in all of them doesn't mean you have to react badly to people who do. So you buy all your kid's clothes at Gymboree, or Old Navy, or the Gap, or Target. So your hobby is baking, or reading, or gardening and not knitting or sewing. Doesn't mean my hobby is any less meaningful.

I don't know, it just bugs me.


Karen said...

Oh yeah. I hear you on this one. Again. My favorite comment is "You have WAY too much time on your hands." That was just feels so awesome to hear.

I love that secret garden sweater, so beautiful. Congrats on the OTR compliment. That should totally cancel out the ech-sayer.

Karen said...

hey- did you see those socks on Montessori By Hand on Monday? Cool.

Morning Glory said...

People can be so thoughtless sometimes. I'm convinced that the ones who make remarks like that are doing it to make themselves feel better about the fact that they DON'T do hobby type things.

Sewing IS an art. It would have bugged me, too, to hear that.

Anne said...

Heh - I was half-way through reading this post, and was thinking about Jane's 'pr0nstorm', as she called it, only to find you referring to her anyway. Have you read the discussion board on the BBC site? It strikes me that a very few silly women, having done very little research, have decided that since _they_ don't knit/sew/crochet it can't be worth doing. All they have done is considered the stereotypes they already know - they haven't looked at who is really doing these things, or why. I tried to listen to the podcast of Jane being interviewed on the BBC, but really had to give up, it was just too annoying. The naysayers sound far too defensive to me - nobody is saying that everyone should do these things, although I think a lot of us feel more comfortable to know that when we create clothing ourselves we aren't relying on people working in sweatshops, but we do not need to be lambasted because we happen to enjoy creative activities. And of course we're proud (even if demurely so) when we make something. Everyone is proud when they perform successfully - no matter what the arena - work, sport etc etc.

Sorry, rant over...

Pam said...

Backhanded compliments - that's what I call them. One of the mom's at Little D's kindergarten yesterday asked if I was going on the field trip with the class and then she looked over at me and said, "obviously not." Seriously - WOW! I just walked away but I really wanted to tell her I had been up since 5 am and had already been to an hours worth of kick-ass spin class and then did some weights to top it off and THAT is why I was wearing sweats and a t-shirt with just washed hair, still wet, in a ponytail. But I'm sure she thought I had just rolled out of bed and drug my kids off to school so I could lounge around in my pj's all day. ugh...internet friends are much easier:)

You make the most beautiful stuff, Kate. You brag yourself away - you deserve it.