DEBBIE STOLLER is the New York-based editor of third-wave feminist magazine Bust, but she’s headed to Portland this month on behalf of her latest book, Son of Stitch ‘N Bitch, the fourth entry in a series of crafty volumes that extol the virtues of knitting and crocheting. Stoller put down her needles long enough to share some purls of wisdom by telephone.
Your books have helped popularize knitting for a younger generation. Why do you think people like to knit? For some people, it’s an artistic outlet. For others, it’s relaxing. For other people, it’s a way to get out of the mass-consumer grid and be more environmentally and socially conscious of the things they wear and do. For feminists like me, it’s a way to celebrate work that women have been doing for centuries.
Your new book is about knitting stuff for “your man.” That seems like a pretty traditional notion for a feminist. Whether they’re feminists or not, people love each other and like to be generous. But one of the problems that both women and men come up against is that there aren’t very many cool knitting patterns available for men.
You wrote about the “Myth of the Boyfriend Sweater.” It says you should never knit a sweater for your boyfriend unless you’re engaged, because otherwise it will lead to the end of the relationship. How pissed are you going to be if you spend a month knitting something for a guy and he never wears it?
Are there any other bygone crafts you plan on bringing back? Yes, the next issue of Bust has an article about how to churn butter.
What? No, I’m kidding, although I wouldn’t mind learning how to do that. I’m really interested in turn-of-the-century crafts.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever heard of someone crafting? I have a friend who crocheted a pair of cat pants. The cat was not really into wearing the cat pants. Crocheted, no less! You can’t even move in crocheted pants!