help me define “a knitter” January 3, 2013Posted by philangelus in knitting.
Tags: identity, knitting, pattern, sock, sweater
It’s easy to get into an “am not!”/”are so!” fight about things that don’t actually matter, and being a knitter is one of those.
In my heart, I’m not a knitter, and this despite the evidence to the contrary.
That evidence would consist of the stash of yarn in the corner of my bedroom, the hand-knitted socks hanging to dry in the bathroom, the unwanted knitted gifts crumpled at the back of dresser drawers all over the country, and the “Knitting Patterns” folder on my hard drive. And my Ravelry membership. That’s some of it.
Ivy used to say I was a knitter, and I’d negate her with an intensity even I found over the top, but in my mind the demarcation was that a knitter makes a sweater, and I’d never made one (except for the Barbie sweater, which doesn’t count. I’ve noticed “that doesn’t count” coming up a lot.) But today, I’m at a bit of a crossroads.
Yeah, that’s almost done, except for weaving in the ends and knitting the closure ties. So why am I still not a knitter? And I’d better figure this out fast, because it’s time to call Father G from our parish and re-pitch him the knitting ministry he told me to discuss with him after the New Year.
The best I can come up with is this: the people I think of as “knitters” have not only technical skill and a mountain of yarn, but also drive. Need, I guess. I think about my grandmother, who came home from school at age ten to crochet hats so her family could sell them for income. I think about the women who knitted a sweater because their kid needed a sweater, and then when the kid grew, unraveled the sweater and re-knit the same yarn (with a stripe of another color through the center) in a larger size.
More to the point, a real knitter is one of those Scandanavian girls who was required to spin enough yarn for a sock every day, and then knit it up in addition to her regular chores. Every day. Not someone like me who goggles over sock patterns designed in homage to The Hobbit.
But I’m not consistent in my reverse snobbery, because if someone demurred that she wasn’t a real writer “because all I write are poems and letters to the editor — I don’t need to write” then I’d tell her nonsense. She’s a writer. Not writing for income or necessity, perhaps, but all the same a writer, because writers write. And yet according to my paradigm, knitting doesn’t make you a knitter.
Thoughts, anyone? Raucous laughter? Spare Noro Silk Garden?