Misconception #4: We knit incomprehensible stuff of questionable value.
People who don’t knit don’t understand why we’d spend 2 days knitting a pair of socks or 3 months knitting a lace shawl. They don’t see the difference between what we do and what comes off a machine in China. The comment Why would you knit that when you could buy it? comes to mind.
One reason is purely for the advantages of knitting as process. We knit stuff we could buy because it feels good to knit. And it’s good for us too! Here are some of its health benefits:
- keeping us calm,
- lowering our blood pressure,
- stimulating the immune system,
- slowing dementia,
- preventing depressing
- not to mention the pure joy of spending time in the optimistic, receptive, perpetually happy right brain.
But in addition to all this good stuff, there is the quality of what we produce. Does this person-who-does-not-knit know that no more than 1/7th of the finished price of something can be spent on materials? So what does that say about the quality of materials in store-bought items?
Solution Tell her what you spend on yarn . . . again! (I know you already did that a few days ago, but it bears repeating.) Do the math together. Then ask her if, on any given day, she could use any of knitting’s health benefits. Then let her try on a pair of your socks, while you wrap your hand-knit shawl around her and tell her that knitting is the constant comfort of a perpetual hug . . . and then give her one!
Misconception #5: We are old and inactive.
Yes, we know about granny in her rocker. With all due respect to those who are grandmothers (I am one) and who like their rocking chairs (I have one), that stereotype ain’t us! The growth of knitting (to upwards of 38 million in the US) could not reach these numbers with only the addition of the elderly. Baby boomers, young women, and teenagers have joined us.
As for being inactive, knitting’s demographic is generally female, with the bulk of us between 18 and 64. So take any cross-section of intelligent, well-educated women with enough disposable income to knit, and you’ll find a level of fitness that mirrors the population in general. Knitters run marathons, do yoga, and lift weights in the same proportion of the general population. We even have Knit and Ski trips!
Solution Knit as you wait for your yoga class? Knit around the fire, après ski? Wear something hand-knit to the gym? Run with knitting needles? Knit in public wearing tall boots and a short leather skirt? Not really sure what more to do about this one? Any ideas?
Misconception #6: We are boring and not very involved
The image of a woman knitting is beautifully solitary, and we know the blissful state she’s in. But that does not mean that she would not readily engage in intelligent conversation if approached. There are craft and chat (stitch and bitch) groups where women (Yes, believe it!) knit and talk at the same time!!! With great enthusiasm and on all manner of topics!
In addition, knitters are fabulous listeners! We (human beings) are generally better listeners if engaged in a repetitive motion. Why? Because most of us are primarily kinesthetic + visual, not—as we might think—primarily auditory. So for us to listen, we need to engage both the visual and the kinesthetic, which knitting does.
Solution Pull out your knitting at every opportunity! At the same time, engage in intelligent conversation with someone. Show how Pythagorean Theorem relates to your knitting. No, wait, scratch that! Share the names of favourite celebrities—offering how many of them knit. Discuss the places you’ve both been over the past year or the books you’ve both read. Make some outrageously well-informed comment about global economics. Discuss the business plan for your next entrepreneurial venture. In other words, Tell ‘em who you are!
I guess that's the bottom line: we gotta tell them who we are, because they don't know, and they should.