Lazy or Just Plain Stupid?

14 March 2015

Are knitters in the 21st century lazier than in the past?  Or less bright?  This subject comes up occasionally on Ravelry and gets people VERY defensive but I do wonder sometimes what has changed over the last 50 years.

I remember when women’s magazines always had a knitting pattern, and that it covered no more than 2 pages, with photograph.  I downloaded a free pattern last year which was 7 pages long. 

A complicated fair-isle sweater in 8 sizes maybe?  No.  A baby’s bib.  An item that hardly needs a pattern at all except I wanted the motif on the front of it.  SEVEN PAGES for a baby bib.

I’ve seen shawl patterns of more than 10 pages.  And remember that if we’re downloading them, then WE are providing the paper and ink. 

It’s rare now to see a pattern which has instructions for Left Front saying “As Right Front but reverse shaping”.  Or AT THE SAME TIME do such and such.  People seem to want row-by-row instructions.  And some complain bitterly if they don’t receive them.

Are we more stupid?  Or lazier?   Or are we just in the habit of getting manuals for everything with step-by-step instructions? 

Don’t have the answer I’m afraid.


  1. I don’t think we should be surprised by this. After all, we live in a society that needs to be told that contents of a coffee cup might be hot, that a floor might be slippery when wet and that peanut matter might contain nuts!

    • Sorry – should be peanut butter

  2. My initial thought was that it could be the publishers driving this, in which case the independent patterns would largely follow suit because it’s become the industry standard. Perhaps publishers really do think knitters are that stupid. However, if publishers keep knitters dependent on line-by-line patterns as long as possible, then they can sell more books/magazines/patterns, so they don’t exactly have an interest in enabling new knitters to think for themselves. They would still be able to sell patterns for really fancy things to thinking knitters, as some of us are too lazy or time-strapped to draft our own patterns, but they must be making a fair bit from the basic patterns.

    Then again, maybe it is (some of) the knitters after all, in which case it’s probably related to the steep decline in “documentaries” these days. Nothing I’ve seen in the last decade (When insert-plural-noun-here Attack!) can hold a candle to David Attenborough, although I did enjoy Tony Robinson’s shows as well.

  3. I can remember my husband’s grandmother lamenting that she could no longer work out how to do the other side of a jumper or cardigan front and just reverse the directions. I ended up fixing some very peculiar looking garments. She had been a knitter all her life from a girlhood in Scotland, done hundreds of pairs of sock, knit complicated lacy layettes for many babies and much more. She was well in her nineties when she could no longer reverse the directions.

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