So you’re a knitter. The inspired kind. The one with potential, skill and tenacity. Every new project pours showers of bliss on you (at least until you get to weaving in ends). As you look at the most recent work of your hands, you say to yourself: “This is the best thing I’ve ever made!” – and it really is.
Doesn’t it sound like heaven?
And then you feel the urge to share. You take pictures and post them on Facebook. Or wear the thing in public and tell everyone you made it. Or take your knitting with you to a café/park/beach/parents’ meeting/you name it.
And so THEY KNOW.
Telling people that you knit can provoke all kinds of reactions, ranging from a polite “Hmm!” through “Oh! My Gran used to knit, too. She offered me a scarf every Christmas”, to “Cool! Have you seen the latest by Stephen West?” Unfortunately, the last remarque is the one you’re the least likely to hear. What you ARE likely to hear instead is the “Oh, really?” thing, the one that makes you feel you’re some sort of a mutant, or pervert, or simply outright mad. Why, oh why couldn’t you hold your tongue?
And then comes the worst. They ask you questions. The one I hate most is “Does it pay well?” Hello! It’s a hobby, all right? I’m not doing it for money. I don’t sell what I knit. And if I did, you wouldn’t be able to afford it unless you were willing to spend your whole month’s pay. Because, you know, it’s darned HANDWORK, every ducking stitch of it, and it’s so gottam time-consuming, eye-tiring and back-breaking that you better not ask! I do it because I like it, point. Yes, I’m a masochist, if it helps you see it from my angle.
Better still, they ask you to knit them something. Preferably a sweater. The one they saw in the shop window the other day. The one that didn’t have a price tag because – well, you’ve read the previous paragraph. DON’T! Don’t you let them trap you! Put on your friendliest smile and tell them to go and buy it. Ralph Lauren has already knitted that sweater, so why should you? Life is too short to waste it on counterfeiting trendy brands. Besides, there are millions of professional clandestine workers doing it quicker, better and more efficiently than you ever will, so leave it to them and try not to feel sorry.
Sometimes people would give you things. It’s always exciting. They would usually start with a promising “I know you’re a knitter, so I thought you might make some use of it…” and then – Surprise-surprise! – it might be a ball of fluo green false fur acrylic or a heirloom lace shawl – you never know in advance which way your luck will turn. My best lot so far has been the knitting basket you see in the picture above. My worst one was a sack of raw wool – or should I say raw poop with some wool stuck to it… How cool is that?
All right, I admit: I actually asked for it. It was when I became so fascinated by spinning I wanted to try and follow the whole process, “from fleece to fibre”. So I asked someone who knew someone who had sheep to procure me some raw wool… And so he did. Only the sheep was a normal wild-running, dirt-poking, straw-picking animal and not your shampooed and hair-conditioned, no-poop, no-sun cover wrapped Merino… That sack of wool is still in the attic: after discarding the most dirty parts I realized I was not that motivated after all. And the cuts were too short to spin anyway…
Painful as it was, I particularly enjoyed that experience because it taught me a very important lesson: EDUCATION MATTERS. We knitters should educate our fellow non-knitters. Talk knitting to them. Talk yarn. Talk alpaca-silk. Teach them that yarn grows on animals. And maybe – just maybe – if you wear a T-shirt with “I love Malabrigo” print all year round, someone would remember the name when they choose a birthday present for you and then you will never have to confront that fluffy green horror again…
May luck be with you next time you hear: “Hey knitter! I’ve got something for you!”