Size 0 double pointed needles aside, knitting is considered a relatively benign hobby. Yet to be explored, however, are the hazards of Knitting In Public, KIPping for short. In my experience, KIPping is a perilous enterprise at the best of times. KIPping at a University? Doubly so.
The ones who stare are easily ignore. Others, however, decide to comment. After schlepping around campus with a heavy backpack all day, one is not in the best frame of mind to recieve such comments.
“Is that for a class?”
Class? No, not for a class. Once upon a time, there was a faraway land, where people did no complete tasks because they were assigned, but for creative fulfillment. That land was swallowed up by a pernicious beast, and this knitting is the last vestige of its existence.
“Are you knitting? That’s cute.”
By cute, you mean dazzlingly brilliant, right?
Ok–so I don’t really say that to people. But they do tempt me.
Professors are notoriously unpredictable when it comes to a knitter in their classes. Some don’t even notice. Others reluctantly allow it, but deep down they doubt that it is humanly possible to make socks and learn a subject at the same time. An exalted few say go ahead, whatever it takes to help you learn, but at the other end of the spectrum are the professors who veto knitting completely. To complicate matters, these types are not readily identifiable: you have to ask for knitting permission, or risk suffering the unimaginable wrath of an angered professor.
Why is it that non-knitters view knitters in the manner of bugs in jars? Being of the Anthropological bent, I am interpreting my encounters as a field study. At this point, the data point to a cultural intolerance to knitting. Gone are the days when women toted their works in progress to the theater, when idle hands were viewed as the devil’s tools. Knitting is not viewed as “normal,” part of the daily way of life. It is out of the ordinary, a phenomena to be viewed with suspicion and curiosity.
This state of affairs will not do. Knitting is a craft! It is an art! It is genius! And all around the world, when cool, creative people want to express themselves, they knit.
Check out all these cool knitters:
Skinny Rabbit live from France
Spelling Tuesday, the incredible technique machine out of Norway
Yarn Harlot blogging up a storm in Canada