Brave Knitting, or, Coming Out

Two weeks ago I went to my first Stitch ‘n Bitch gathering in Amsterdam.  I met some very nice people and wrote a post about it.  I really enjoyed myself and decided to go back regularly.  Last Monday night it was horrible rainy and windy weather so I flaked out and stayed home.  Tonight I decided to stay late at work and go to de Jaren directly from there.

I showed up at about 6:45 and went up stairs for something to eat.  I devoured my lasagna and also my home decorating magazine, looking for ideas for our new house bathroom remodel.  At 7:35 I headed downstairs to see who had arrived.

de Jaren was pretty full tonight.  The table that the Bitches sat at two weeks ago was full.  The tables next to it were reserved.  I saw no obvious knitters anywhere.  The waitress knew just who I was looking for and said she’d keep an eye out for me.  I sat down at a small table across from the bar, near the front door, and waited for a familiar face.  Or someone with a big knitting bag.  Or a really cool hand knit hat.

I waited.  I looked at my knitting bag.  And I looked around.  And back at my knitting bag.  I held my own hands.  And waited for my tea and looked at my knitting bag.  Damn!  I thought.  No one will recognize me unless I’m knitting.  I’m new and no one knows me.  I’d better get the knitting out.  So I did.

I felt brave.  I felt conspicuous.  But I soon realized that no one cared, and if they did, I didn’t care that they did.  I was knitting in public!  Some of you might find this strange – like, why not knit in public?  But after thinking about it for a while I realized that two weeks ago was the first time I’ve knit in front of strangers.  Really.  Can you believe it?  And I’ve been doing this for 30 years.

Hi, My name is Alex and I’m a closet knitter.

My friends and family know that I knit.  I think maybe 2 of my colleagues know I knit.  No one else.  I don’t take knitting with me everywhere to pull out in quiet moments.  I don’t take the train so I don’t knit there.  I don’t brag about it.  I don’t talk about it.  I don’t even mention it.  Hardly.  Ever.

MANY years ago I knew a guy who I thought was pretty special.  I hoped that one day he might be interested in me as more than just a friend and colleague.  Then I told him that I knit.  He was appalled.  He said “you’d better not tell anyone at work about this because no one will take you seriously any more”.  He certainly didn’t!  I learned to live with my little secret.  Even my brother-in-law this last Christmas called me “oma” as I sat in the living room  finishing Mom’s socks.  I couldn’t tell if he was kidding or not.  Probably not.  I told him that knitting is hip and happening but he didn’t buy it.  Maybe he’ll think differently when I give his kids alligator scarves next Christmas.  Probably not.

My point is, dear readers, is that knitting is not yet hip and happening.  We need more knitters to come out of the closet and be brave enough to show who they really are.  We are chicks with sticks and we should be proud!

Anyway, by 8:10 no one had shown up.  I was feeling strong and contented in my solo knitting when a man sat next to me and lit up a cigarette.  Ah well, time to go home.  I’ve made my point.

2 thoughts on “Brave Knitting, or, Coming Out

  1. Mona January 28, 2008 / 23:59

    I’m so proud of being a knitter…in fact I just wrote an angry blog post about how I’d like to know what people who think knitting is stupid can do or make. we can make things that are necessary–it’s fantastic!

  2. Cassandra January 29, 2008 / 11:12

    Oh no! I’m sorry you were a solo KIPer last night, I was worn out from a tough weekend and couldn’t get up the gumption. Hope to see you next week — and a HUGE congrats on the new house!

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