This has been long in coming in my life and I think it is finally time to bring it up. There is a stigma to knitting/crochet/fiber crafting in public. It seems at times as if a brick wall is put in place between you and the passerby…then again no, it’s not a brick wall, it’s a glass window. People who understand might look, smile, or even ask what project/yarn/needles you are using. It’s all fun. Yet, those are not the people I would like to address today. I am talking about those people who give you “a look” or blatantly stare at you in shock with a ‘how-could-you-possible-be-knitting/crochet/fiber-crafting-in-public…at-your-age?!’ expression. This is the look I often get.
But wait, let’s back up a bit. Before I get into this topic and stand on my soap-box, I would like to tell you a story. When I first learned to knit and crochet, I was very excited and was willing to bring it with me to certain places (but goodness not school, that stigma had been pre-ingrained in my brain). I was happily working on a scarf and a family-friend came up to me with the question “Are you practicing to be a Grandma? ‘snorts’”. I sat there somewhat surprised and thankfully came up with the comeback, “When do you think they learn?” After that I spent the next 5 years of my knitting/crochet life in secret only allowing those I knew would respect me into my hobby and slowly growing obsession. That comment hurt, and all through high school I hid my hobby or joked about it to those who brought it up as to hide it and say that oh, it really didn’t matter. “It’s just something to do.” “It’s okay, it passes the time.” “It’s a way to use up some of that stupid yarn I got as a gift.” The list goes on. Most of those comments were lies. I evaded those who were interested. Then finally at then end of my senior year in high-school, I started to open up. One of my close friends started to knit and was struggling on a large puffy scarf. That was the moment I could share my knowledge of knitting in a different style that would help her figure it out. I started to learn that fiber “obsessions” as I like to call them, were perfectly okay.
It wasn’t until I got into college that I truly realized that I didn’t care if people knew I knit/crocheted and that I wanted to be seen working on my projects. I was a freshman, the scared quiet student in the back that watched and listened and learned and behaved. Blending in was key. Yet, I started to notice that a few of my fellow classmates were knitting in classes. They would work on socks, lace shawls, hats, scarves, everything. Because it was an art school, nobody cared and in fact, some professors encouraged it because they knew that those people would listen better if their hands were busy. It was an epiphany. Those who quickly become friends were showing it was okay, and even awesome to stand out and knit publicly. I took that to heart and started knitting in classes, sharing my work, and even putting up random creations around the building.
Fiber became a way for me to stand out, to combine my skills in graphic deisgn with my fiber and create something new was known and almost expected. All art students have their thing and mine became a side-project in fiber.
And now, I just don’t care how I might appear when I knit or crochet. I knit in the break-room at work, I knit at church functions. I knit during classes and events. I knit whenever I have a few spare minutes while I wait for something to start. I even knit in front of that family-friend. I just do it.
It didn’t happen overnight, but I slowly began to accept who I am and what I had become with my hobby. This is where I would like to share my thoughts. It’s okay to knit in public. It’s okay to share your own fiber obsessions publicly with the world. It’s okay…in fact, it’s more than okay. It is important. Don’t let your own friends/acquantances/family bring you down. Keep up the hobby. Don’t be ashamed. Be awesome. Keep creating…it’s a way of life and I’ll be here cheering you on in the process.