Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do you rock?

How do you feel about the perception that we knitters are all "rocking chair grannies" with nothing better to do?

How do you react when you hear knitter-derogatory comments such as:

You're not old enough to knit.
My grandmother knits.
I don't have time to knit.
I don't have the patience to knit.
So you went to a knitting group. How old were they? You must have been the youngest one there. There were younger ones there - were they special?
Where's your rocking chair?

These comments get under my skin, so when Jolyn told me about a customer who is a helicopter pilot, we started listing the unusual or untraditional careers that our customers have enjoyed. In a matter of minutes, we added: a helicopter mechanic, an electrician, a dump truck driver, an artist, an advertising exec, an elementary school principal, numerous teachers and nurses, a doula, a doctor, a Bed & Breakfast operator, a couple of lab scientists, a college psychology prof, a chef, a fiction writer, a theatre director, a hairstylist, a police officer, a police dispatcher and several chaplains or ministers.

Sounds to me like we are a capable group who use knitting as a way to unwind from our challenging lives, to satisfy artistic and creative urges and aren't ones to waste time!

Let's end the stereotyping. Take your knitting out in public, speak up for yourself and show the world that knitters rock!

ps. Please post a comment and add your job or hobby to our "rockin' knitters" list.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

ADK is a good thing!

We knitters are often teased about our multiple projects. The result is that we start to doubt ourselves, our better judgement and our innate commonsense. The real truth is that our "non-knitting mockers" just don't understand!
We start to feel guilty if we have more than one project on the go. When we drop a project to work on another, we think we must have short attention spans. We even come up with labels for ourselves to make light of these feelings. We think we are suffering from multiple project disorder ...or maybe we are ADK - Attention Deficit Knitters.
But in fact, we are just healthy, well-adjusted, thinking knitters. Inherently, we know that our hands benefit when we change from one size or style needle to another, or from one type of yarn to another, or from one stitch pattern to another.
When our mind needs rest or we are engaged in conversation, we choose a less complicated project. When we want to feel absorbed and distract ourselves from daily life, we plan new projects or knit something that requires attention and focus. And sometimes we are just in the mood for a change.
Thanks to the internet and a fairly recent abundance of knitting books and magazines, knitters now enjoy access to thousands of wonderful, must-do project ideas. Everywhere we turn, we see great yarns and patterns and are inspired to try them out. Our friends and our virtual friends share their projects and we happily place new ideas in our queue. It is fun, inspiring and educational, and knitters are lapping it all up.
It's a great time to be a knitter, so just enjoy it and do whatever works for you!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Planning a Knitting Presentation

A couple of months ago, when I was asked to give a talk about knitting, I thought, "No problem! I can go on and on about the subject." But maybe that will be my problem.

My first hint of the challenge was when they told me about the three areas that the local University Women's Club needs to cover throughout their year: social, intellectual and the arts. Hey, knitting topics could cover their whole year in one meeting!

The group will meet at the shop in November to hear what I have to say. As I read and make notes and prepare, I remember that I won't be preaching to the choir. Some of these ladies won't have heard of Ravelry or Stephanie Pearl-McPhee or Knitty. There may be some who don't understand the pull of this "art with a purpose," or who may not, like others in our communities, have great respect for knitting. My job, if I choose to accept it, will be to win them over to the knit side.

Lately, I've been collecting comments from other knitters, comments that they've heard about knitting. And guess what? Many of them aren't all that respectful. In fact, the comment that made me start collecting comments just rots my handknitted socks every time I think about it.
It is the reason for my working title for this talk: "Knitters are the Rodney Dangerfields of the creative world - we don't get no respect!"

Recently, a visitor asked me how I got involved in knitting and why I opened a yarn shop. After my brief explanation, what did he say? Two simple words: "I read."

Maybe I shouldn't have been offended, but there was just a hint of arrogance in his tone. Stunned, I said nothing. What I really wanted to say was, "Hey, I read, too. Sometimes I even read while I'm knitting. Can you do that?"

Don't worry. I kept my mouth firmly closed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jumbo Lives!!!

We have jumbo jets, jumbo paper towels and once again, Jumbo the elephant.
St. Thomas's favourite tourist attraction was unveiled today after months of being
protected by tarps and a handknitted 50 foot scarf.

Reconconstruction, and resculpting by local artist, Peter Robson, took another few months, but now Jumbo looks as good as new.

The crowds came out to show their appreciation ...
...and perhaps to apologize to the big old guy.

Barnum and Bailey's most famous elephant met his demise on the railroad tracks in our fair city on September 15, 1885.

It will soon be 125 years.