Knitting Manners

We started Knit Club at school. Off they went into the world, with their knitting. My heart was full. The next day (the VERY next day) they each came running back in to show me their knitting. It was not our day for Knit Club, but they all wanted to show me their progress. You can believe I was happy to see it. One girl came in with about 5 inches of beautiful, even stitches. Oh my WORD. She rides on a “bus” (van) after school to a different location, so on record, she is the youngest commuting knitting EVER.

I have some new addicted knitters and I am thrilled. As their enthusiasm for their new craft bubbled around the room, there was conversation about their projects. “‘Katie’ got her project out in class after she finished her Spanish!”  one girl exclaimed with a big smile on her face! I stood in stunned silence.

Uh Oh.

The girls went quiet.

“What?” she sheepishly whispered. She had no idea what had just happened.
“We need to talk about knitting manners.” I said.  They stood gravely, looking up at me with puppy dog eyes.
“You didn’t get your knitting out in CLASS did you?”

“Well, I was done with my work!”
“Really done? ALL done?”
“Yes! I WAS.”
“Okay, here’s the thing you guys. I am so glad you love knitting. Believe me, I do too. I do. And I KNOW. I GET IT. But the people that don’t knit might not understand. And if we get in trouble with our knitting, then who is that going to come back to? ME!
You now know, and I know that knitting actually centers you. You can feel it, pulling you back to the middle. But other people don’t see that. If someone is trying to talk to you and you are not looking at them, then you are being rude. Yes. Rude. The tricky thing is that it may not feel like that to you. But it will LOOK like that to them. So be aware. ”
This was a startling revelation. So startling that there were no comments.
I went on. “How does it feel when you are trying to talk to someone and they are texting? Rude. SO rude.
There is a difference. In fact, you can knit and have your ears open. If you are not too busy counting, you can listen and knit. But I need you to know, it does not look like that to other people.”
Now that I had compared knitting and texting we were getting somewhere.
Believe me, when we started the club, we had some serious discussions that knitting can NEVER come before academic homework. I let them know they needed to find SOME time to knit each week, but never before their other assignments. “we cannot get in trouble with our knitting, or that will be the end of the club.” They all heard, and took it seriously. But they did not anticipate the level of addiction they were going to feel. They are so young. I thought we would be lucky if they got a project out of it at the end! They have surprised me. And they did not realize the temptation that comes with something that you are able to carry around.
Take away:
For those who knit – Please understand the people who do not knit may think it is rude for you to knit while they are talking. You may feel otherwise. But that is still the way of it. A conversation is a two way street.
For those who do not knit – If a knitter is looking down, it is not the same as texting. The knitting is not speaking to them, and they do not have to form a reply with an emotional connection. Maybe it is a compliment that someone is knitting in front of you. They may want to share their new found passion with you. And they feel comfortable with you.

Who knew that in the new age of technology, that I would have to address some boundaries about an age old, hands-on craft! I think that “knitting” and “screen time” are opposite. And “knitting” and “social media” are MILES apart. But here I was, addressing my new recruits using some of the exact same language! It was startling. I am still smiling at the irony!

How about you? Have you picked up your knitting today?

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9 years ago by in Crafting with Kids , Crafts , Knitting , Needlecraft | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
9 Comments to Knitting Manners
    • Manisha
    • Great lessons, Susi! I only knit around others when we are on a knitting date. I’ve knit around others who were really appalled thinking I was busting up the fun, drinking time. That particular person thought I was rude until I handed her a little scarf for her daughter. BTW, I always feel the temptation to knit before my other work is done. 😉 I loved the comparison to texting!

      • Susi
      • That is exactly it! Some people think it is “rude”. But from the other chair, it’s not rude. It’s funny though how the language is the same as it would be for a video game.
        Why does knitting look like a “buzz kill” to non knitters? It’s as relaxing as a martini. Well, lace isn’t but a hat on circulars is!

    • Ros
    • I knit in lectures and in all kinds of social situations. I do check if I’m in a situation where it might be distracting to a speaker. It’s never occurred to me that it would be seen as rude in a social setting. I can knit and carry on a conversation. Mostly I don’t even need to look at the knitting. The only place I don’t knit is in church. I did it once and felt guilty all the time, so I don’t any more.

      In class, I think it would be polite for the girls to ask their teacher if it’s okay or not.

    • Virginia
    • When my daughter was looking at colleges, one she visited invited students to knit in class because they found it helped people pay attention. It wasn’t the school for her but I was ready to enroll!

      • Kat
      • I’ve heard that knitting is school is great for young boys as it keeps their hands busy and they pay more attention as well. I used to knit in weekly four hour long meetings & it helped me for sure.

    • Lani
    • I found crocheting was the only thing that kept me awake Ina philosophy class (lots of discussion, few notes) and ended up taking it to another, much smaller, class. The second professor called me up after class and explained that it was rude and asked why I was disrespecting her time. I explained that keeping my hands and subcinscious busy – I was just making plain squares for a blanket – kept me alert and engaged. She paused and told me that it was a good thing it was a behavioral psychology class and that I answered using some constructs of the class! She also noted that she knew I was paying attention because I was involved in answering questions and clearly paying attention. So I got very lucky! But I wish more people understood the value of a simple task that can allow you to focus, it’s why I take notes during meetings!

    • Denise
    • I agree with Lana.
      When I can’t knit because someone thinks it’s rude, I take notes.
      My mind wanders endlessly and it helps me focus.
      Sometimes I doodle too but that can be seen as rude too.

      • Kat
      • Knitting helps me concentrate, for sure. When I used to have 4 hour afternoon meetings once a week, I got permission to knit from my boss. It made a big difference. I just made sure not to have anything complicated to work on.

        • Susi
        • I think that is the key. If you are counting, then that is not focused. But a garter stitch scarf… that is another matter.

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