I generally try to keep the mopey posts away from this blog. You guys are likely not interested, and, really, airing out how exactly I’m feeling on a blog probably isn’t as romantic as it sometimes sounds in my head. This one, however, has pretty much interfered with my ability to knit and spin, so I’m just going to put it out there, and find out what it is you do (if you ever encounter this sort of conflict).

There is this image, one I encounter a bit frequently–and probably because I am willing to craft frequently and in public. There is, to put it bluntly, this idea that knitting is boring, and that by spinning I pretty much signify to the world that one day I will live alone with only my cats and yarn to keep me company. (Spinster, such a sinister word). In my excitement over the Sticks n Strings retreat, these images keep coming up repeatedly–most commonly with “that sounds boring.” Nevermind they asked why I was pumped for this weekend.

Yesterday, in the morning, the spinning = alone came up in conversation. The sayer did not mean it the way society generally does–it simply come about as we discussed things. The morning had been up and down, but the fact that by spinning there is this stereotype of being alone is one that hurts. Spinning is something weird ladies do, and they do it alone. I am, to put it bluntly, a bit afraid of being alone.

The second instance of distress was that evening, when I was debating buying a clearance scarf at Target. It was knit (probably light finger or laceweight, 12″ x 5 feet), but I was examining the cables (because I am very particular about machine knit cables). I did not buy the matching gloves–they had no gusset and I can do better. I was, in turn, teased about how this was such a big deal, and what, was there a knitting gestapo out there? This went on for some time, and it was quite depressing.

No, there isn’t a knitting gestapo. But should I be teased because knitting is my hobby? If I buy something machine knit (even if I weren’t going to knit something similar unless held at gunpoint), I want it to at least appear to have the same type of standard that I demand of things I knit for myself. The cables cannot look atrocious–cables that cross themselves or other cables often do in machine knitting.

Some of my distress likely arises from being more aware of the worldwide knitting community than I ever was before. Some of it is because in high school, some of the little respect my classmates gave me was a day that I took my knitting with me since we were not doing anything that day. Some of it is because I interact with a subset of people who also appreciate and understand my love of both knitting and spinning.

I’ve been trying to remind myself that the environments where I encounter teasing, scorn, and negative stereotypes are generally hyper-masculine areas–a fraternity, where being into booze, tobacco, and Call of Duty are natural past times, and the display of anything even vaguely domestic is a threat. Not to mention, as dear S pointed out, of the frat guys in his house, the only one who is currently not a flaming idiot is him (his friends, who often are there when I go to hang out, are not in fraternities, though they often good naturedly make fun of the string as well).

It’s just difficult when, to be honest, you do spend a great deal of time in an environment. I should not care. Most of the time, I don’t. Yesterday was a bad day without the attacks on fiberdom, and it’s likely part of why it lingers in my mind. I’ll get on and move on, but right now, alone in my own home, I don’t want to touch needles, yarn, or fiber because a part of me is ashamed by the fact that these things are my hobby, my life, and what I do.

How do you deal with this sort of… I don’t know if I want to say hostility, but simple lack of understanding and/or empathy?

When the apocalypse comes, I am NOT knitting any of them any warm things. Jerks.


4 responses »

  1. O gosh that sounds awful! I don’t know how to respond really, I’ve been going on about yarn and fiber and knitting for so long that people have just come to expect it from me. I’m not strange, I do have a cat, but I also have a busy social life (which, admittedly, largely centers around knitting), a job, a husband, and an otherwise normal life. At least I think I do.

    My only advice is this: YOU get to choose who you spend time with, and if the people you spend time with don’t appreciate you and respect you for your creativity and passion, they don’t deserve to be in your company. Being alone is far better than being with people who will make fun of you, and lucky for you – your hobby is one that compliments loneliness. Being part of an on-line community as you are, you KNOW that there are tons of other people out there who share your passion. Do not be ashamed of your passions! You are building skills and knowledge and working parts of your brain those guys will never use. Besides, knitters work with pointy sticks that can sometimes be sharp and can sometimes puncture skin (having stepped on a dpn once, I can attest to this). It sounds like you’re young Felicity, so (at the risk of saying a platitude) hang in there, things get better as you age.

    • Thank you. Things are considerably better now (a quiet Sunday helped, I think, as did your words), and I’ll try and keep in mind that it really doesn’t matter what most people think–it’s not like I’m doing cocaine or something. 🙂

  2. I apparently need to come knit & spin with you more often so the boys can see that there are more people than just you that do this!

    I haven’t had that kind of outward comments before & I am thankful that I have a husband who gets it – even if he doesn’t do it. Stereotypes be damned – knitting & spinning & crafting are awesome hobbies that allowed me to meet some of my very best friends.

    At the end of the day look at what you do – you create something tangible, something beautiful. All they end up with is hangovers and high scores on a video game….but nothing that they can hold in their hands. Continue to love your hobby, keep doing it around them (but don’t make them anything) and some day they will get it. If not, it is their loss!

    • Thank you Sara! You and a few other people really helped make me feel better, and I appreciate it. I think it was just something I needed to get off my mind so I could stop worrying at it–and you guys made me feel better too with the support.

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