Being Seen as “A Knitter”

It gets embarrassing sometimes. At Christmas parties this year a whole lot of people greeted me with a “hello, what are you knitting these days?” kind of comment. I tended to downplay it, “Oh nothing much, just a pair of socks,” and try, feeling a bit uncomfortable, to change the subject to something more “sophisticated”.  Is that what people think when they see me? Knitting? A handy-crafty kind of domestic, kind of frumpy kind of person? “I am a so much more” I would grouse inside. But then it got me to thinking.

On jury duty a couple of years ago a lawyer in long black robes stopped dead in his tracks as he was passing me where I was knitting, waiting to go into the jury room. He came over and talked about his grandmother, briefly, he was in a hurry, and went on his way. A colleague who is struggling to find a way back from a long illness, struggling to reconnect, stops me whenever she sees me and asks me about my knitting, “did I finish that project from two years ago? What are you making now?” And last week, at a class I am taking, a fierce young woman, a strongly feminist union activist who describes battling the system daily, who radiates energy and beauty and is a force to be reckoned with (she kind of scares me and makes me hero worship her at the same time) approached me as I was puttering along on a project and said, kind of shyly, “Would you ever make me a pair of socks?”

Knit blogs are one of the most popular categories of blogging. The topic of  how we value the craft and how we value its makers in this time of cheaper, ready made socks and sweaters inevitably seems to come up in the writing on them, along with the pictures that present the work.  I stumbled into the universe of craft blogs a few years ago and was completely inspired. On the surface it is just this homely little activity but consider all the moments of  connecting it gives!  I think I need to appreciate that it gives someone something to talk about when they see me, a little “social bridge” as it were. And to challenge all those ideas of domestic, frumpy, handy – crafty. My hands are happy when they are working with colour. My heart is happy when some little object ends up on someone’s neck, keeping them warm. All good.

So now I am working on some socks for that gorgeous woman. I asked her what size feet she has. Size 12. Oh my.


The inspiration to jot down thoughts seems to come primarily from the “urban hikes” that make up my week. Today, the air just reeked of spring. The breeze was light and warm and that unmistakeable shift that can be hard to pin down has happened. Even if we get monsoon rains for the next two months, the change has begun.

Life has been like that lately too. After what has felt like a fairly long stretch of dormancy there is a shift towards movement. The minor nudges are insisting on being heard. That sounds obscure, and it is as hard to describe as that most definite knowledge that one has that spring is coming. What comes next?

The yarn pictured below is a wool/silk blend I spun up. It has lots of shine and beauty on it’s own, and took up space on my coffee table for quite a while just because I loved to look at it. Eventually though, it needed to be worked up into something useful and became this hat, and another with some little gloves for Mom. So pretty! It is kind of stretching the metaphor to go too far with this, but midlife is kind of feeling this way lately. Full of potential.

Mom was down for a visit and we had a lovely time. We spent a good part of it just wandering and looking a beautiful things, between the drive along the coast and looking at artisan’s work in the places we stopped. Neither one of us had a real urge to purchase much, it was just nice to see and appreciate.

Unfortunately we exhibited the usual family trait of not taking pictures! Next time.