Everybody’s Business

zig zag scarf in light gray
zig zag scarf in light gray

There’s something about knitting in public that makes what you’re doing everyone’s business. It’s an interesting notion. I mean when you see people reading the newspaper, you don’t walk up to them and start a conversation: “You know, I have a grandmother who used to read the newspaper. I always wanted to learn how to do that.” Nope that conversation never happened but change newspaper to knit and it’s a common exchange.

One of the reasons we knit in public is so we can share our craft with the world so someone starting that all too familiar conversation is one of the consequences of wanting to be generous. We quickly become desensitized at having people stare at us as if we just landed from another planet and haven’t shed our natural scales for the earthly skin that will let us blend in among your carbon based forms.

Most of the conversations center around whether we are really knitting or crocheting – you’d be amazed at how many don’t know the difference. Whoa to the person who comes upon a knitting or crochet purist. They do exist. There are those who knit ONLY and those who crochet ONLY and don’t want the two paths to cross. They don’t want the paths to be in same town. They are a dying breed which makes them more dangerous because they know more and more of us do both, love both and have even been known to combine both. But if you run into a purist and you mistake their craft for that other craft, be prepared for a look that would make Medusa hide.

Oddly enough, the people who make the least conversation are other knitters/crocheters. That’s because they don’t need to tell you about their grandmother/great aunt/Uncle Harry’s second wife’s cousin who knits or crochets. Because they know how to do it. So they don’t make as much conversation; instead, they will read your knitting. (OK, this may just be me projecting what I do.) They will look at your stitches to see if you’re doing a recognizable pattern and they may ask if you’re doing a stitch pattern and when you answer, they will go back to reading your work.

Sometimes you don’t even have to answer them, you can just hold out the pattern, if you’re using one, and let them read it for themselves. They will read and nod, hand it back and go back to just watching. No words were exchanged but you just had a great conversation.

Today in Knitsville, we will be working some prayer shawls that have to be done and sent in two days then it’s back to hats. I have 36 open orders and some are multiple items.

All three nieces have had their babies-

Kate has given birth to Maya, Kelly has given birth to Shannon and yesterday Katie gave birth to Sam. Blessings and love to all.

The Patient Knitter

watch cap in olive
watch cap in olive

Let me make this really easy: there is no such thing as a patient knitter. There are knitters who will work on intricate lace patterns. They are not patient. They like details. They like puzzles and working things out. That is not the same thing as being patient. For the record, I don’t do intricate lace work because there is already a question of my sanity and me trying to do something delicate with little needles and really skinny yarn would soon leave the world assured of my mental state – or rather my lack of one – so the lace and I stay a respectful distance away from each other. It doesn’t call to me from pattern books or yarn bins and I don’t go looking for trouble where I don’t want to find any. It has worked out well thus far.

There are knitter who work on afghans. I used to do this. I used to work on afghans a lot. It was what I did after I did scarves. I was perfectly happy doing scarves, but Marilyn said I had to do evolve and do other things and afghans seemed about right. You never really have to measure an afghan and gauge really can be waived under most afghan conditions and given there is no such thing as a patient knitter, this can be a perfect project because we can just cast on and get right to it.

But just because it’s an afghan and my definition, it knits more slowly than a hat or a scarf, doesn’t make the knitter making one patient. It makes them generous and giving. I’ve made dozens of afghans and not one of them is currently in my house. That’s because they have been sold or given away as gifts. A handmade afghan is a great gift for almost any occasion. I have given them for birthdays, showers and wedding. It always fits. People almost always have a sofa or seat of some kind and/or a bed and that’s where an afghan feels happiest. If they don’t have any of those, they probably have a wall and they can be used as wall hangings as well.

I know knitters look like they’re patient and folks will often comment on it when they see knitters doing their thing. But there is a giveaway that betrays all of us and if you catch us at just the right time, you will see it.

Watch a knitter at the beginning of a project and a happier person you will not see. They are excited to be casting on a new project, trying a new pattern, using a new fiber or any combination of the above. They are happy when the thing on the needles begins to resemble the thing that’s in the pattern picture. They love the feel of the fiber and click of the needles and they are so in love with everything.

That changes when they are 90% done with a project. Knitters are fickle. I don’t mind claiming that for my tribe. When we are almost finished with a project, when we can not only see the light at the end of the tunnel but the end of the tunnel itself, we are eager to get out of it and step into the mouth of another.

Those little twists and turns that were so cute at the beginning of the project are just now friggin little things interfering with our lives and holding us up from the progress that is rightfully ours. That little tangle in the fiber at the beginning of the project was just a little obstacle on the way. When that sister tangle shows up near the end of the project, we want to yank it out like it’s the hair of a hussy flirting with your husband right in front of you. It’s not cute. It impedes progress and it must die.

You really want to see the true attitude of a knitter? Put them in a doctor’s office, tell them the doctor will be another fifteen minutes then tell them they can’t knit or crochet.

Then hope the office has a portable defibrillator. If they had their knitting, they would tell the doctor to take an extra five minutes if they needed to and they would happily work on their projects not paying attention to whatever or whomever was around them.

Take away their knitting and they will notice the man sitting in the corner, the woman putting on lipstick as she waits to go into the exam room. They would notice all this while roaming across the waiting room and hoping no one notices the their left eye has started to twitch. Or their steady growl.

Knitting gives the illusion of patience because of the repetitive nature of it. But it is not for the weak  or the meek and it is not for the patient.

Needlepoint. That looks like it requires patience.