Thursday, 9 May 2013

Research Point - Why Do Craft-Produced Textiles Maintain a Place In Our Society

I love to crochet.  I taught myself, from a book, when I was about 11 and, at the age of 17, I made my first granny square blanket and have made lots of them since then.  My eldest daughter (late 30’s) does not like them at all - won’t even have the brightly coloured cot or pram versions - she thinks they are old fashioned and “granny-ish”; but my younger daughter (early 20’s) can’t get enough of them.  When she recently moved into her first home, she requested a turquoise/brown/cream retro style one for her sofa and then a purple/red/cream one for her bed.  Having just had a baby, she is now on the receiving end of pram/cot/mini versions and she loves them all.  She doesn’t think they are “grannyish”; just retro, funky, fashionable and unique.

I crochet because it is very relaxing.  It also grows very quickly and is very portable.  If the project is granny squares then it is the perfect project for the long winter evenings – because you can snuggle up under the developing blanket whilst you are crocheting it – FAB!

The interest in crochet is definitely on the increase and it does seem to be quite fashionable at the moment - although this could probably be because of the popularity of vintage/retro designs.  In the current economic climate our spending has been squeezed to be almost non-existent, so people are turning to do-it-yourself and taking up traditional crafts to create unique items for themselves and their homes. 

In recent years crochet has been seen on the catwalks of Missoni, Paul Smith, Kenzo and Dolce & Gabbana, to name but a few and looking on the internet produces a vast array of crochet items for sale, or patterns to buy, or free patterns to make your own in any possible choice you could wish for; but really, unless you are at the top of the market - with a Dolce & Gabbana crochet handbag retailing for around $2900! - the intense work involved in producing a crochet item (and the cost of the yarn) doesn’t make it very profitable.  The best idea probably is to write a book.

I think there will always be a place in the market for hand crafted products of any description.  People will always want individual, unique items – whether clothing or items for the home – and certainly hand-made for babies cannot be bettered.  For my grandson I make all kinds of cardigans (both knitted and crocheted) – that aren't found in the shops – little granddad cardi’s with shawl collars and vintage leather buttons.  I don’t think they would be particularly profitable, but I am convinced there would be a market for them. 

I think in this day and age of instant, disposable excess the need to get back to a much simpler past appeals to a lot of people.

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