The Culture of Knitters
As I sit here drinking my favorite Irish tea, I’m thinking about what it is I like so much about knitters. It’s not simply that we’re all into the same thing, or that our collective guilt at the size of our yarn stashes serves to minimize my individual misbehavior. I think it’s because knitters have, over the past few years, created a culture. And it’s a nice one.
If you look at knitters one by one, of course there will be a few bad eggs in the bunch: snarky bloggers, cheapass swap partners, those who are consumed by petty jealousies. We’re human. But that’s not the culture.
The culture of knitters is about kindness and generosity and enthusiasm, about loving the craft enough to genuinely ooh and ahh when somebody else makes something gorgeous, something you wish you’d thought of and made yourself.
There wasn’t such a culture when I first got into knitting. It wasn’t a popular thing at the time. You didn’t hear about it on the news, there were no blogs and although there were yarn shops, there weren’t quite as many of them and knitting was considered sort of weird. A fuddy duddy activity that was a freaky thing to be doing if you were under 70. The culture then, if it can even be described as such, was more like: “Wow, you knit too?” “Yes! Shhh!”
I love that we’ve come out into the light now, and that so many, many others have joined in. And I love our culture. When you need help or answers, knitters jump at the chance. A month or so ago, I mentioned on my blog that I was having trouble finding a compost bin. Connie immediately came to the rescue with information about how to get one, and when it turned out to be a special super secret deal you could get only if you lived in a particular county and could answer three riddles asked by the All-Powerful Bureaucratic Sphinx, she offered to get one for me. Connie and I had only met once before, at a KAL party at Amy’s house. But she’s a knitter, so she went out of her way to get me this very splendid compost bin,
and I am now happily making my very own dirt. Isn’t that cool? Thank you, Connie!!
Knitters are not only generous and thoughtful in helpful ways like that, they’re generous and thoughtful and fun, too. Like KitKatKnit. She does some very beautiful knitting, and she’s also an artist and runs the coolest contests. Art quizzes! I love art quizzes. I even won one, because I recognized [don’t click if you’re at the office!] this photograph of Imogene Cunningham. She’s the one with the camera, in case you’re wondering. Brilliant photographer and charming woodland sprite.
I had such fun with KitKatKnit’s quiz that I wasn’t actually thinking about the prize; I just wanted to answer the question. But she sent me a fabulous prize anyway.
Beautiful, soft yarn for mittens. I love these colors. It’s Linie 157. I’ll have to make some really exotic mitts with it. Arty mitts, since it was an art quiz.
She also sent these pretty stitch markers:
And the cutest sheep ever. If you pull her little foot, a tape measure comes out. Then you push on her tummy to retract it back in.
Totally smitten with the sheep. Thank you, KitKatKnit, for such a marvelous prize!!
The best part? I’ve now crossed paths with two interesting people whom I wouldn’t have met if they weren’t knitters. Connie and I are chatting and might just cook up a gathering of local knitters. KitKatKnit and I are chatting and have discovered that we have similar art school backgrounds, very old UFOs, and even share a favorite artist.
Ultimately, I think that’s what it’s about. Knitting keeps our hands busy and satisfies the need to create, but the stories and relationships worked into each shawl or sock or sweater are what we remember most. I cherish the stories attached to my knits and I love that so many other knitters are out there in full view, doing the same thing I am. Sappy? Yup. And happy to be a knitter.
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