Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I never thought I would juxtapose the terms "K-Tel" and "knitting," but there they are in my hand -- two sticks of light blue plastic with red collars on both ends and a needle-eye at their points. A colleague getting back into knitting and crochet brought them to me during a tutoring session today. She had inherited them along with rolls and bags of other miscellaneous tools from a great-aunt, and wondered if I knew what they were.
After a little research, I found that the little blue sticks were a 1960's example of a phenomenon that persists into the modern day -- inventions that purport to make crafting easier, combine two crafts, or create a brand new one. From cro-tatting to latch-hooking, these innovations rely on entrepreneurial promotion to lure in crafters either dissatisfied with their current options or interested in picking up a new technique. Some (like latch-hooking) stuck, and some (like K-Tel knitting) did not.
The K-Tel Knitter promised (in this commercial) to produce knit and crochet fabric in a revolutionary way. But from instructions posted by Marnie MacLean, the instrument really just mimics crochet without the hooking. Instead, the K-Tel Knitter stick pushes a loop through each stitch, where you grab it with your fingers and hold it while the Knitter is pulled out.
Looks like this gadget was made in ample quantities -- they're not hard to find on eBay, and if you have a basket of crafting tools inherited from the baby-boom generation, you might have one, too. Doubtful that it will convince any of us to give up our trusty hooks, but if it really took this baby-blue stick to make that awesome poncho in the commercial, I might be tempted.