Features

Restless retiree

"Restless retiree" Continued...

Issue: "Signs and wonders," Jan. 26, 2008

Killer knitting

Knitting continues to be one of the hot craft trends. But according to The Wall Street Journal, not every knitter is content to make a pair of socks. Irish knitter Julie Gardner, tiring of "the whole 'knitting is the new yoga' cliché," created Sock Wars, an international game modeled on Assassin, where players try to bump off their opponents before they get bumped off.

The Sock Wars goal is to complete and send a pair of socks to your victim before an assassin completes and sends socks to you. If you receive your socks before being able to complete the ones you are working on, you're dead. You then send your incomplete socks to your assassin, who tries to complete them before receiving his killer socks in the mail. Last year 800 knitters took part, but Gardner hopes to line up corporate sponsors and include more knitters this year.

Knitters who don't view knitting as a blood sport will probably find like-minded souls on Ravelry.com, a social network devoted to knitters and crocheters. Others may want to cast on for charity by knitting caps for the homeless, shawls for people in hospices, layette items for preemies, and afghans for Afghans. Project ideas are available online at dailyknitter.com/charity.html.

Consumed by pride

Consumers are seeking status in new ways: Trendwatching.com notes that some compete to be the greenest, others to be online pioneers, and others to "collect as many experiences and stories as possible." Traditional status seekers face a competitive environment: "If millions have access to the same premium goods, to the same premium brands, these premium offerings lose some of their value, as their entire raison d'être was to offer something that others could not get access to."

To give those consumers the edge, producers are offering "super premium" goods in some surprising categories. Evian is selling $15-$20 bottles of Palace super premium water; each bottle has a special pouring spout and a stainless steel coaster. That's cheap compared to Bling H2O, which comes in a frosted bottle decorated with Swarovski crystals and sells for up to $480. That's one bottle.

How about a super premium marshmallow? Dean & DeLuca offers the gooey treat for $28 a pound. Pete's Gourmet marshmallows cost $1 each. Even toilet paper has a super premium brand. Renova Black from Portugal, "the first fashionable toilet paper," sells for about $3.20 a roll.

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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