Saturday, February 03, 2007

My thoughts exactly

I stumbled upon this post and wanted to share it with you because it articulates so many feelings I've had lately.

I suppose it helps to tell you my story of how I became a knitter. I feel like I'm in church giving my testimonial or something, which is another rant altogether. Anyways, like most of us knitters, my darling mother knit and was the one who taught me to knit. My mother was raised in a strict Mennonite family (I should post a picture on this but that will be another time) and somehow never caught the quilting bug, so knitting it was! When I was nine, she taught me to knit, purl, and cable. One day, I actually took my knitting on the bus to school. Yes, I was a full-blown nerd.
Knitting fell by the wayside as I progressed through college and med school and now that I have some "spare time" (a really funny phrase to me) while I'm doing research in the middle of my residency, I decided to pick knitting up again. It was now, or never. I basically had to re-learn everything, not having Mutti handy. I completed my first full-on cable sweater from IK a few months after that (it required reading a chart, which I basically taught myself to do by trial and error).
Knitting is hard, but it's NOT impossible. I think the biggest secret out there is that cabling is hard (i.e. "Cables Untangled")--I personally think it's the easiest thing out there, easier than lace knitting, easier than sock or glove knitting. It's deceptively simple, because it looks so amazing when done right. Lace knitting took some work to wrap my brain around (after 6 months of knitting) but I did that, too. I have no desire to do socks or gloves--they are too time-consuming and will ultimately be full of holes.
I'm tired of seeing books titled "quick and easy" or "I can't believe I'm knitting" or "funky chunky." Because even beginners can do the tricky stuff. It might be challenging on occasion, but it's not rocket science, so stop making it seem like it is and that we aren't capable of doing it!
And what's up with the plain oversized bags-comme-sweaters?? I want something intricate and well-shaped. I want it to look professional, like I might have bought it at a store, but better than that, because store-bought items often cheat you out of details on the arms or the backs of sweaters. I really want to blow people's minds away when they compliment me on a sweater, and then find out I made it. I don't think I do that very often, but I may have come close with Pam.
So there you have it.


At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see where you are going with this, and while I don't disagree, I don't completely agree, either. I think that you are not considering that there are some people out there that either truly are not capable of doing more than basic knitting, and that there are also people who really don't want to do more than big-stick, easy knitting. Of course, I don't understand those people. :)

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Jaws said...

Yes, and I don't ever want to do glove or sock knitting. There are certain things we all don't care to ever try. But. . .

I guess my point in a nutshell was that publishers overwhelmingly paint anything beyond scarf knitting as next to impossible, and that the average knitter simply can't do (cabling, sweaters, lace, insert project of choice here) without buying their book. They have to keep the mystique going to stay in business, and in the process they insult us and make us question our own abilities, and so we never take that next big step.

Ok, that was more than a nutshell!

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I see your point. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that it is predominantly women who knit, and many, many women feel that they are incapable of doing things? I can't tell you how many women tell me that they just can't understand math and never will. And I'm talking basic algebra. I think that we need to instill more of a "can-do" attitude in women. I find that many women are "afraid" to knit because they think that they are not capable of doing complex things. I think that the book companies are just playing into that.

And I have just totally stereotyped women, I know. And I apologize...

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Jaws said...

Stereotypes do have a bit of truth to them (and by definition imply that there are exceptions to the rule).

I think you painted the picture fairly accurately.

And I, for one, really do have issues with math, as you have seen! :o)

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Jaws said...

I just looked up "stereotype" on Wikipedia and read something interesting:

In a study of Asian-American women, they scored better on math tests when they were reminded they were Asian, and did worse when they were reminded they were women!


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