Friday, March 22, 2019

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

My normal writing position is sitting in my comfy
writing-chair, legs tucked up underneath me with computer on my lap.  I'm usually leaning to one side with my left elbow propped up on the arm of my comfy writing chair.

Yes, like that ------------------------------------------------>

I'm normally motivated to write because of a nagging idea that won't leave me alone.

For instance yesterday, as I was in the shower, my aching head being soothed by warm water and my mind freely wandering, I thought about how interesting it was that the knitting/crochet community, of which I am a part, has a hierarchy of fame.

I wondered if non-knitters/crocheters would find it interesting or perhaps even astonishing that there is such a thing as a knitting/crochet community, let alone a fame hierarchy. 

First, the knitting community is world wide, consisting of millions of knitters.  We gather on various virtual platforms, such as "Ravelry" (which is strictly for knitters and crocheters), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Etsy, and YouTube.
We find each other by searching hashtags. We communicate with photos of our work, selfies, videos, podcasts, and blogs.  Several times a year, we meet in person at "rallies" called "Yarn Festivals".

Now let me explain the fame part.  I'm not talking about well known actors or actresses who knit.  I'm talking about the individuals whose names, faces, designs, podcasts, blogs, etc are known to most all in the knitting/crochet community.  Or simply put, the ones who have achieved celebrity status.  They are the influencers.

One of these celebrities may have designed a sweater that now thousands of knitters must knit.
Then there is the mother/daughter team or the pair of sisters who decided to talk about their knitting/crochet experiences on a weekly YouTube podcast, which now thousands of us tune into on a regular basis.

Another way some of the community have achieved celebrity status is by their beautiful hand dying yarn artistry.  They have impressively turned selling their yarn on Etsy into thriving successful businesses.

In years past people, probably mostly women, might have socially met with their neighbors to knit or crochet practical items.  Do you think that Mrs. Smith, the minister's wife,  might have been the one with whom everyone wanted to knit? 

In the 1950's a woman named Elizabeth Zimmerman rose to fame.

"Elizabeth Zimmermann (August 9, 1910 – November 30, 1999) was a British-born hand knitting teacher and designer. She revolutionized the modern practice of knitting through her books and instructional series on American public television."

Ms. Zimmermann is still revered today and I'm sure every knitter would swoon given a chance to meet with her.

I suppose sociologically speaking, the rise of certain individuals to the top, and the desire of the rest to be in their presence is age old tribally typical.

But, I wondered how, in present day times, the phenomenon of celebrity in the knitting/crochet community came to be.

Of course the answer is obvious.  Anyone can become famous with a single tweet or viral video.
We live in a world of instant notification and recognition.  We make friends from all over our own countries and around the world with those we might never meet in person.

I guess Andy Warhol did predict the future,

15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon. The expression was inspired by Andy Warhol's words "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes", which appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.
Are you part of a virtual group?   Have you ever had a fan girl/guy moment over an individual from that group that you have spotted in person?


  1. Sometimes I feel like I'm plugged into the knitting community, and other times I feel like I'm not. I don't watch/listen to the podcasts, although I know a few of the names to which you allude.

    1. I'm curious to know what makes you feel "plugged" into the knitting community and then what doesn't.
      Personally, I feel the postings and videos do get repetitive at times. And I must say I am happiest when I am actually sitting and knitting.

  2. Hari Om
    Blogging is just like 'real world' community; those of like interest will find each other and congregate. Then there will be the leaders and the followers. It's human nature. Instathingamajigs only speed the process (maybe). It is also a lot less confronting (usually) to gather in the ether for those who may be socially awkward, and beneficial for those who cannot for one reason or another get out to a real life group. An interesting phenomenon, for sure! YAM xx

    1. What you suggest about the virtual community being a safe space for some is interesting and is something to which I can attest.
      I love the phrase you coined "Instathingamajigs" Made me smile :)

  3. I like the Yarn Festivals. How cute! Its neat that there is a community of knitters/crocheters out there, but there seems to be any type of community with whatever one's interests are these days with all the different social media outlets. I think I'm part of a blogging community and have enjoyed the few bloggers I've met in person. I don't think I have a "hero" or admire someone though enough to get super excited about meeting them in person.


    1. It's funny, Betty, the original premise of my post was to point out the number of different groups there are in the world. From back-yard chicken raisers and homesteaders to collectors of ceramic pigs.
      I used to be one of the latter. :)
      How was it for you to meet a fellow blogger in person? Must have been interesting.

  4. I am delighted to know that people still knit/ crochet. My mom crocheted a square every night to make what she called her "Idiot Blanket." I am the proud owner of her idiot blanket and it keeps me warm in many different ways. I thought knitting went away when the cell phone came to be. I remember commuting on the train or bus and almost every young lady was not reading a paper, but knitting away while talking with their neighbor...amazing talent, I am glad to know the skill still lives!

    1. One of the reasons I knit or crochet is to produce heirlooms to pass down like the one your mom made for you. It's very touching that your blanket is treasured in "many different ways".
      Oh, the skill is very much alive and quite popular again. You might be surprised to learn that a lot of knitters take their knitting wherever they go, including the movie theater.