It seems that this topic has touched a nerve. Apparently, many local knitters just don't get much respect from non-knitters.
This week, I heard several comments from customers who experience knitter discrimination on a regular basis. They are getting tired of hearing, "What are you knitting, old lady?" ...when we are anything but old. 'Knitting' and 'old' do not automatically go together. And if they are lumped together, it should be in a complimentary way that shows respect to those who have practiced their skills for many years, and who can now practically knit in their sleep; respect for those who want to create something out of mere sticks and string, passing skills from one generation to the next.
....stepping down off my soapbox
Our list of non-traditional jobs/careers for knitters has grown. One reader sent the following to me by email:
"My late husband was an expert knitter, having been taught by his mother when he was ten years old and a new brother arrived in the family. He started knitting baby clothes. He was an electrical engineer and designer by trade and in later years, when health forced him to give up his career, he took up knitting again, and began designing and knitting his own sweaters - Aran knits, and many other styles, with matching caps. Whenever we were out together and someone admired his sweater and asked if his wife had knit it for him, I would proudly declare, "No, he designed and knit that for himself." When he passed away in 2004, I buried him in one of his favourite sweaters, a beautiful Aran cardigan.
In the early 1990's,we had a small knitting business and Neil began teaching knitting. We would gather together several (usually women and their family and friends) who wanted to learn to knit and one of them would hold the classes at her home. He would go there once a week and teach them to knit a sweater. I was the only wife I knew whose husband would go out in an evening with five to six women and I would not be the least bit concerned."
Knitters really are an interesting and varied group - no stereotypes here!