Sunday, December 9, 2012

Smash the Pastel Prison!!!

I'm making a little sweater for my great niece for the holidays, if I can only find time to finish -- and I have been intersted in the response.  I bought some chunky Universal Yarn Co. acrylic one day when visiting my friends' yarn shop in Ann Arbor (Knit A'Round), but of course it's jewel tones, not those blah-blah pastels.  Twice now, I've brought out the little pieces (it will be one of my Grand Circus hoodies made out of modular squares) and an observer in the shop has said, basically, "Oh my -- isn't that for a little GIRL?" Always, I'm told that I should be working in pink, blue, insipid yellows and greens or maybe (MAYBE) pale lilac.  Even variegated pastels are suspect; something unwelcome, like the aforementioned lilac, might creep into a BOY'S sweater. 

I do think that most knitters and crocheters are moving beyond the pastel straitjacket.  But not all.  So here is why I don't pay attention to the supposed 'rule,' and wish others would do the same.  First, the pink-blue routine is no older than the 1930s.  It was originally a marketing schtick -- and then it became a kind of gender marker, like the earrings people put into little girl's ears at age X or Y to forever mark them as girls.  The gender anxiety in our culture has ebbed, mercifully, but you can still find it -- as when someone stops a parent in a grocery store to comment on the cute "little boy," and gets rebuked for masculinizing a little girl.

But, second, kids of that age can't see pastels.  So we really are doing this for us. Why not make things in colors they can actually see?  Bright colors.  Red.  Indigo.  Yellow.  Kelly Green.  Etc.

So I will continue to cook up this little hoodie, which in any case is going to be too big for little Milana, and collect some more comments.  Stay tuned.



  1. You go, Sandra! Will never understand the sheep-like (not meant in any good way) adherence to imaginary standards. Love children in bright colors.

  2. I Agree!!!! I have just finished a baby blanket for the 7th grandchild and knit it in Madeline tosh DK Golden Hickory...gorgeous browns and brilliant greens...lovely and so NOT pastel.

  3. and I just finished a crocheted hat and mittens for my gorgeous great-neice Milana, in bright reds, blues, purples. So there. svb