I have lots of great memories of the 1970’s. The clothes (well except for Fortrel, that stuff was nasty and don’t let anyone try and tell you otherwise) the cars, the television shows, the music… One of the great things that I loved about the 1970’s was how many fibre arts were in fashion then.
Knitting, embroidery, macrame, crochet, quilting, cross stitch, needlepoint and sewing were all common pastimes.
As a young girl I found inspiration in all things fibre.
I loved to sew and I loved the peasant style blouses that had hand embroidered necklines in bright colours and designs that spoke of rich ethnic connections. I loved knitting and crochet, cross stitch and spinning. I wanted to do it all. I drove my poor parents batty in my quest to understand how it was all done and to try it all. I had a passionate drive to get to the bottom of every process. Once I was convinced I had grasped it I dove into the next challenge with a single minded fervor that simply could not be quelled. I absolutely thirsted for it!
I can hear my parents complain that I never settled into any one thing. In a way they were right.
I settled into two things: music and fibres. Everything I loved most involved those two things.
I still love all that stuff today. It just sucks that there are only 24 hours in a day. There are choices that have to be made in order to be able to enjoy the experiences I love and keep the bills paid and keep up with all that other stuff adults have the privilege of being responsible for.
Many of the skills and passions I nurtured and developed throughout my life have become all but lost arts. There was a time when sewing was considered a vital life skill. They don’t teach it in school here any more. What passes for an introduction to sewing is, shamefully, barely a glance in the direction of a sewing machine. I suppose I should be grateful, since that means my skills are actually valued now. My business relies on people wanting their items fixed but being unable (or unwilling) to do it themselves.
And yet I see and feel a resurgence of those beautiful practical activities.
The fibre arts are making a comeback in a big way.
I couldn’t be happier. And it’s exciting to see the growth of it all.
I love it when people come to my store and tell me they are just learning a fibre art. It’s exciting and I am thrilled that I have the privilege and opportunity to share my extensive experience and knowledge with them. I want to do what I can to help them to have the kind of experience that will make them want to grow, nurture and sustain these interests too.
I have been responding to this shift by expanding my selection in the store to greet the need. Little by little, what I carry is reflecting how public interest in fibre arts is growing.
It’s flint to a fire; it makes me want to embroider and cross stitch again. Perhaps it’s time for me to plan out some beginner classes to teach these methods and be the spark that ignites a passion for fibre arts in a whole new generation; even if only a few people at a time.
There are so many things now that are reminiscent of the 1970’s. The “neo-hippies” share many of the same desires of the hippies from back then, but they have so much more at their fingertips than folks did back then. There is an idealistic spirit that has persevered all along that I can relate to. Today’s hippie-leaning folk have incredible technology at their fingertips. Yet there is still the desire for simplicity, practicality, accountability and sustainability that I remember and hold dear.
I try to keep up with what’s going on, but I have to be honest. As much as I love technology, I find that the pace of change of it has begun to feel like a rat-race to me. The shifting trends can start to feel excessive and superfluous. Don’t get me wrong. I love that social media and the internet have allowed regular people like me to have this kind of platform to connect with others (many of whom we will never meet in person). As the context of our lives changes along with our new technologies it’s easy to feel out of touch with it all. It’s interesting to me, to see how differently the newer generations are with technology. It is such a natural thing to them and they don’t even realize it. The marketplace is changing. How we do business is changing. Business models that were in place since the industrial revolution are disappearing completely. Back in the 70’s there was no internet. Computers took up the entire floor of a building. If you phoned a friend and they were not home, you couldn’t leave a message for them and they had no way of knowing you had called. Back then, you could tell someone you called them 10 times without an answer and no one would know if you were exaggerating or not. LOL
In this fast-paced and ever changing world, when I find myself frustrated with all the intangibles that I have to try and keep up with, I know I can count on my wonderful fibres. (In the back of my mind, I know and I’m truly grateful that I can login to Ravelry to find patterns.)
But, I can pick up my knitting and it will be there like a solid friend. The knits will be knits. The purls will be purls. My embroidery thread will always be 6 strands thick in an exquisite rainbow of blissful colours.
And I can pick up my fibre arts project and escape to the “touch-it, feel-it” things that have remained kinda like the 70’s.