We’re living in a world where memes, tweets, and social media posts have turned our need to be “entertained” into a literal demand for instant gratification.
As humans, we're naturally hard-wired to seek out what we want when we want it, and now we’re actually narrowing the window even further by demanding our laughs, or our lessons, or our feelings be delivered as soon as we lay eyes on it (whatever "it" is).
It was a slow burn, but it's still smoldering: the movies and TV shows that commanded our attention and met our need to be entertained morphed into online videos, and those videos soon became shorter, were later viewed on smaller screens, and, finally, reached a point where more than a few moments (thanks Vine) of viewing was asking too much. People especially loved the blink-or-you’ll-miss-it magic of SnapChat, where videos and photos had a shelf life of six seconds, and it's been a rapid race to get the quick-hits ever since.
As for us, we’re trying to negotiate the demands of this world with the art of knitting—the slow, satisfying, repetitious, mindful pastime of creating and crafting, where a garment or accessory can take some of us an entire year to complete.
In our own little corner of the social media world, we’ve seen that memes and short videos reach the most people and get the largest response in the shortest amount of time, compared to our other posts...oh my gosh, we’re already running out of time. We’re going to lose you soon! We’re getting to the point, we promise! Stay with us!
The average age of the social media user is becoming younger and younger—but hey, fortunately, studies show that knitters are following the same trajectory.
In fact, yarn sales are actually on the up-and-up among women in their 20’s across the United States, and the 18-34 year old demographic of knitters is literally growing by the day,according to the Craft Yarn Council of America, with almost all of said knitters picking up their needles multiple times a week. In fact, over half of the people surveyed said they're knitting or crocheting on a daily basis.
It looks like, thankfully,there will be knitters in this generation of young people whipping out their phones at themselves at every turn. As “elder millennials” and “millennials” and “generation Xers,” they can all access the world of knitting even more readily, which is promising for us all.
It still begs the question, though: in a universe where we’re all demanding more in less time, where does knitting fit in?
Can the craft serve as a grounding anchor for a generation that we jokingly imagine will soon be able to insert a chip into the side of their brains, press a button, and “read” an entire 300 page book in 10 seconds?
To be sure, knitting doesn’t entirely “not” provide instant gratification—you can see each stitch, each row, each sleeve, each section as it comes along. But it certainly isn’t the same hit you get when you “buy” on a one-day shipping item and receive whatever that ready-to-go package is at your doorstep 24 hours later.
Yet, do runners go for a run for the “instant gratification” of their final step, of reaching their ultimate goal, time, mileage, etc?
We’re not triathletes, but our guess is no. It's about the journey.
With knitting and crocheting, it takes some time, some undoing of mistakes, and hours of effort and patience for a final project to come together. For us, the final project usually isn’t the end game. At least, not entirely. We can, most likely, all find a way to buy ourselves a cute beanie somewhere.
When we learned to knit our very first garment, chances are we hadn't just created the “Hermes scarf” of our collection, or the dish towel to end all other….dish towels.
We enjoy knitting because of the process, the possibilities, the sense of excitement paired with a feeling of relaxation and pride that unfolds from the moment we cast on to the moment we bind off, block, toss it on or wrap it up. Here's hoping that we can enjoy a good yarn meme at the same time that we can find the patience to sit through an entire video on cabling or to see that four-row repeat through to the bitter end of all 800 yards.
Now please, go share this post as quickly as you can.