Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We're Not Sheep

There are so many stereotypes in the world, it shouldn't be surprising that there are stereotypes about knitters, too.  Spending so much time in the LYS and with other knitters, I've noticed quite a lot about us knitters as a group.  Interestingly enough, the one thing we all have in common is that we don't all have much in common!

Some of us are 8 and in elementary school, some of us are 30, and some of us are retired. (Why do people always picture Granny in a rocking chair?)  Some of us are men, some women.  We prefer to knit alone or in groups or in front of the TV.  We insist on washable fibers, or we couldn't care less as long as it's beautiful.  (It's like we're clones, right?)

Favorite fibers vary, although based on sales, natural fibers are more popular than synthetics.  Many people will knit gifts in a more expensive fiber than they use for themselves, while some look for something inexpensive but durable.  Customers often use a different fiber than called for in the pattern as long as they can match the gauge, but almost as often insist on the same fiber called for in the pattern.

Most of us have abandoned using the specific yarn (i.e. Kraemer Classic) called for in a pattern, while some of us are very precise about using the yarn called for.  Color choices tend to be all over the map, from folks who love a nice grey to the wild "Crazy Aunt Purl" colors so many of us think of when we remember hand knits from our childhoods.  It seems we rarely use the color specified in the pattern.

While blends rule with sock knitters, what exactly is blended varies from yarn to yarn and knitter to knitter.  Cashmere and nylon, cotton and spandex, wool and acrylic, and wool and polyamid will readily all show up in one sock knitter's list of favorites.

What's true about nearly all of us is that we're a pretty cool bunch.  Most of us are happy to meet other knitters of any age, race, nationality, or profession.  We share needles, tools, patterns, and of course, food and drink with knitters we know well and with total strangers.  We're like a crafty little AFL-CIO.  (I'm sure some political conservatives just cringed at the reference.)

We are not sheep.  We're a community.  I love it.

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