We are experiencing a hand-craft revolution. (See, e.g. Etsy, Ravelry, the rise of "Stitch and Bitch," etc.) There are similar handmade/handgrown/local revolutions occurring in food consumption (community-supported agriculture, the slow and organic food movements) and other areas of our lives.
Cultural studies folks tell us that we are in a post-industrial age. I believe that, in a good way, handcrafters and localvores are responding to this post-industrialization. Let me tell you what I mean.
One of the consequences of industrialization was that items that folks used to make by hand--e.g. wool into thread, into fabric, into clothes--became commodities produced by factories located at a distance from the end consumer. This "distance" is called "alienation;" literally, we are alienated from the food we eat, from the clothes we wear, from nearly all items that we purchase and otherwise consume.
In a post-industrial economy like ours, where the labor that drives industry has been outsourced overseas, we have nearly no knowledge of the location where our daily consumer objects are produced or of the people who produced them. The alienation from production is absolute.
And for some of us, this doesn't feel good.
Enter handcrafts, urban gardens, local farm CSAs. On these fronts, we are fighting post-industrialization and its attendant abuses, and curing, at least a little bit, our alienation.
Hard-core Marxist scholars might disagree with me, saying that the alienation can't be cured, that we're stuck with it. I'm a little more hopeful than that.
I say: Knit On!