I Am a Knitter
I am a knitter. I have earned the title not through any great talent or expertise, but through my love and passion for knitting. My work dyeing yarn is merely an extension of my love of knitting and fiber.
Now as a knitter, I admit that I am prone to certain behavior that may seem odd to those who know nothing of the obsession. I was at Nordstrom’s Rack recently and came across a table of sweaters. One in particular caught my eye, as I didn’t recognize the textured stitch. It was a finely knit sweater and so to examine the stitches more closely was no easy task. I’m right on the cusp of needing bifocals and have found over the past six months that seeing anything small requires me to hold the item so close to my eyes that I might as well just rest it on the bridge of my nose! I thought nothing of doing this right there in the middle of the store, because I am a knitter and needed to know what type of stitch it was.
The trendy looking girl in her early twenties who was browsing the opposite end of the table of sweaters from me didn’t seem to think my behavior was so rational. She gave me a look of disdain and condescension that no girl in her twenties should ever give to a woman in her forties, regardless of whether that older woman appears to be burying her face in a sweater. Perhaps she thought I was attempting to surreptitiously wipe my nose with the garment?
The other night, at my weekly bowling league during the 15 minutes or so before start time when folks are milling about, I noticed a fellow bowler sitting at a table intently focused on knitting what appeared to be a simple scarf. Being a knitter I had no choice but to approach her, despite the fact that we had never before exchanged a word. You know the drill, right? I walked right up to her and asked her what she was working on. It was obvious that she was new to knitting by the way she held the needles and slowly wrapped the yarn tightly around the needle and carefully pulled each stitch through.
I was polite. I smiled. I took an interest in her work. She was rude. She frowned. She took no interest in meeting a fellow knitter.
This gal will never be a knitter. She’s a fantastic bowler, carrying an average around 200. She’s young and has attitude to spare (no bowling pun intended, but feel free to wince nonetheless). Her response to my friendly approach seemed to come from a bowling place rather than a knitting place. I could see the thoughts behind her cold, mean eyes. She was wondering how this 40-something woman who struggles to hit the pocket consistently and is known to miss easy spares could dare to speak to her! I think it took every ounce of restraint she had to remember that one should be at least reasonably cordial to others within the league. I believe she wanted to tell me to get the hell away from her and not dare speak to her again until I brought my average up by at least 25 pins.
I just continued talking a bit about knitting while I internally boiled at the lack of respect this gal was showing toward a far more experienced knitter. And then the devil took hold of me. I reached out and touched the end of the ugly green acrylic scarf she was knitting and – before departing abruptly to return to my bowling teammates - said something along the lines of: “Well, have fun with your knitting. Just keep practicing and your stitches will eventually look more even and neat. You won’t always feel so slow and awkward. If you really enjoy it, maybe you can even treat yourself to some decent yarn.” Of course, I said this with a smile and even added a bit of extra sugar to my tone.
Yes, I thought I had cut her down to size with my wicked tongue-lashing. But alas, my cutting words were lost on her. She just looked relieved that I was walking away before any of the other twenty-something-year-old, 200+ average bowling gals in the league saw her in conversation with a middle-aged woman who throws a pathetic 12-pound ball!
Nope. This gal will never be a knitter.
Over the summer, at one of my husband’s softball games, I had a similar encounter. Well actually, not similar at all, but it started off about the same. I spotted a young gal in her twenties watching the game from behind the opposing team’s dugout, knitting a scarf with some type of hideous neon-colored eyelash yarn, intently focused on each and every stitch. Just as with the bowling incident, I got up from where I sat and approached her.
At the time when I spotted this gal, my knitting was still in my knitting bag and I was thumbing through a book of Fair Isle patterns. When I got up and walked over to this gal, I still had the book in my hand, with my fingers marking the spot where I’d left off. As I went through the drill of introducing myself and starting a conversation about knitting, this young gal’s eye caught the book in my hand. When I saw her looking at it inquisitively, I held it out to her and said something about how it was a book of charted color patterns. On the cover of the book was a photo of a beautiful, intricately patterned Fair Isle sweater. The young woman reached out tentatively and barely touched the cover of the book, the tips of her fingers grazing the shiny surface. She looked at me wide-eyed and slightly awestruck and asked, “Can you do that?”
That young woman at the softball game will be a knitter some day. The gal at the bowling alley, well, she’ll never be a knitter and she’ll likely always be a …. Oops. I won’t say it. No need to be nasty.
Happy Knitting all!