Monday, October 1, 2007

Knitting in Today's Society: A Three Part Series OR J. Takes Over BaadMedicine for a Few Days While T. is Away

Since I seem to have some freedom of expression while my partner is off vacationing, (I know where she is. Do you?) I have decided to wax philosophical on knitting. Those of you who know me will perhaps be surprised that I am taking the time to be deep and introspective. I am nothing if not unpredictable.

Episode 1: The Outsiders

There are people among us who don't knit. (You would never know it by the number of people in or on the waitlist for Ravelry.) These people seem normal and yet they harbor a dark secret. A secret they will give anything to keep from the world. They don't knit. They may have tried to knit as children and forgotten how, they may not be able to distinguish the difference between crochet and knitting, they probably have never known the glory of the hand-knitted sock. Let us look closely at these outsiders.

A) The Never Knitter

The NK can often be found in urban areas. They are often seen wearing man-made fibres such as polyesters and nylon. The NK thinks that knitting is something that is only done by ladies over 70, having never known ladies over 70. NKs may hold the opinion that knitting is a waste of time, is old-fashioned, a craft that is only holding women back.

If you ever encounter a NK, proceed with caution. NKs are often hostile towards crafty types and can misunderstand the ways of the master knitter. One may have to defend the craft and art of knitting by explaining the nuances and subtleties of the knit and the purl. NKs sometimes need to be convinced that young, trendy and sexy women such as you and I (insert men if you're a guy. I don't discriminate.) are knitters and are proud of it. I have knitted more than one thong in my day. That is enough information to blow the tighty whities off of most NKs.

B) The Wanna-Knitters

These people would like to knit but are afraid to try. Perhaps they don't think they can do it. Or maybe they think it is too complicated. (Really, WKs, it's 2 different stitches and you can get away with only one if you really want. Look at Elizabeth Zimmerman! Some of her most famous patterns consist of only knit stitches: Tomten, Baby Surprise Jacket, even her Baby Leggings are mostly knit with a little ribbing for your pleasure. I digress.)

I was once a WK. I could crochet competantly with the one hook. The thought of two needles (and then 4 or 5) caused shaking and generalized agitation. It took some time and a patient teacher to make me realize that I, too, could knit. And knit well.

My Baba is a very accomplished at cross stitch and crochet but she used to tell me she was too old to learn to knit. Then one day, at the age of 80, she let slip that she had been practising her cabling and it really wasn't that hard.

WKs eventually will turn into knitters given opportunity and motivation. It is your job as a knitter to provide them with such. Just remember that once upon a time, you were a WK, too.

C) The Why-Don't-You-Knit-For-Me-ers

These are perhaps the most annoying species of non-knitters. The WDYKFMers will pester you to make them a hat, a pair of socks, a sweater for their dog. I wonder if the WDYKFMers realize the number of stitches in a pair of men's socks is greater than the number of stitches in the average sweater.

WDYKFMers tend not to be appreciative of the effort invested into a knitted object. I prefer to offer these outsiders knitting lessons. It's that whole give them a fish, eat for a day, teach them to knit, they'll have the best socks ever argument. They will rarely take you up on it but perhaps they will leave you alone.

Good work, class. When next we meet, we will study the knitter and the many roles that the knitter can assume. Dismissed.


MLO said...

Oh my! The worst non-knitters, in a guilt-inducing way, are fellow crafters who know what it takes to do any kind of craft (crosstitch, quilting, sewing, etc.) and have given you beautiful handmade gifts while you are taking forever to complete the dishcloth, single pair of socks, blanket, or whatever, that they hinted at wanting. (A fellow crafter never says they "want" something, they just hint at how nice those dishcloths you have or gave last year were ...)



J. said...

Perhaps it is time to convert the whole world to knitters. Then we'll all be on an even playing field. Knitting as a means to understanding and peace.

andi said...

I love this series!

My least favorite are category C. My non-knitting sister once asked me to knit her a very complicated looking cardigan on size 3 needles. There is no way she would have any concept of the time taken to make it. She got slippers instead.