Monday, September 26, 2011

Hill Country Weavers-- Then and Now

<--- Old School

New School ---->

Suzanne and I were talking the other day about how much knitting has changed. Funny thing is, we weren't even talking about the whole Knitting Renaissance, or Yarn Bombing, or how Stitch 'n Bitch helped launch an absolute explosion of new knitters. Nope. What we were talking about was how much the knitting business has changed.

Back in the day, when Hill Country Weavers started-- what was it? thirty years ago? --- the place was a shop for weavers and knitters. You could check into textile heaven and check out of your daily drudgery. Now, with the advent of computers and smart phones and social media and online shopping, and all the rest of it, everyone seems to take everything with them everywhere they go. I know I certainly do-- I have in my pocket, courtesy of my iPhone, the ability to talk to my friends and family in an instant, the opportunity to read headline news, and the ability to take a picture or movie of anything anytime. Being a knitter, I also happen to have a couple of counter apps, an app to keep track of my needles, and an app to help me measure a gauge in case I forgot my good old-fashioned tape measure.

Really, it's pretty nuts how high-tech-centric you can get with this very old school craft. And I haven't even yet mentioned Ravelry, finding hundreds (thousands!) of patterns online, and the fact that if I want yarn in the middle of the night, I can actually track some down, order it, and expect it to arrive within days.

There is so much good in all of this to be sure. We can connect with knitters from around the world, calculate sock patterns, show off pictures, and enjoy the wisdom of knitting superstars like the Yarn Harlot and Brooklyn Tweed.

But sometimes-- sometimes running the business side of it is really so wildly different than back in the old days that it really gives us pause. Folks are learning to knit on YouTube sometimes instead of taking classes at the shop, sometimes in addition to taking classes. Customers hold up their tiny smartphone screens and want to know, "How do I knit this pattern?"

And as we march forward, Suzanne and the shop march forward, too. Now there's an online shop, there's this here blog, our Facebook Page, our Ravelry Page, our Twitter account. So what do you make of all this? How has knitting changed for you since technology got so big and crazy? Or maybe you didn't knit until you saw some knitting something or other online. Do you like how you have ready, instant access to knitting info any hour of the day or night? Do you wish you could log off? Do you think HCW should have video classes? Do you like Suzanne's idea-- she wants to set up portals so that late at night you can shop at the HCW online store, press a button, and have yarn magically shoot out of your computer. Would you sign up for this service? (I would.)

So much to think about. Tell use your thoughts, please.

1 comment:

Knitly McKnitterly said...

I love this post and the photos. I never knew anyone who knit. The wealth of information and videos on the internet allowed me to learn to knit, crochet and needle felt. When I need inspiration it's a click away. I think of the internet and all of the amazing and generous knitters on it as the kindly grandmother who taught me the craft.
The only downside is that often I have thought I came up with some stunning new technique - only to find that the technique had already been discovered. :-)