Di Gilpin at Perth Yarn Festival 2017
Di Gilpin's lecture at the Perth Yarn Festival this weekend made my heart sing. As well as interesting anecdotes about her 30 years in the knitting world and fabulous photos of her beautiful hand-knitted garments strutting the catwalks of europe, she talked to the past, present and future of hand-knitting. Her views chime completely with the ethos of Lifelong Yarns and gives us hope that we will be firmly part of that future !
The last few decades of the 20th century saw wool devalued. Not just in monetary terms - the very properties of wool, the ones which we love, were rejected by consumers and manufacturers. But that is changing and the change is built around notions of authenticity and sustainability. In Di Gilpin's opinion - and in ours - the future of hand-knitting will be built around yarns which are locally bred and made. Not around the old model of large companies shipping wool around the world for the last dime of profit margin. It will be built around re-educating consumers as to the speed and price at which hand-knits can be provided. This requires us knitters to charge our worth ! It will be built around the kind of fitted, fashion forward garments which young people now demand.
Scotland should be in a position to thrive in this future - abundant as it is with local yarns, knitting heritage and skill and design talent. I would add one caveat to this. We need to see local mill capacity enhanced if we are to manufacture truly local yarns in sufficient quantity to meet the demand.
Di is first and foremost a knitter. She understands tha twool and knitting also sustain us. It's not just about getting to the end, to the goal, but also about the sustenance knitting gives our mind in the process of knitting. Every knitter will agree .
The photo shows Gill Morrison, a skilled knitter and yoga instructor, standing next to Di Gilpin's wonderful Oak design, wearing her own equally wonderful version.