A survey done on Canadian radio posed the question, "What is the most dreaded Christmas present?"
The answer was not the heavy-as-a-brick fruit cake...It was a handknit sweater!
I'm not sure what this says about our craft. Perhaps it harkens back to a childhood in which one desperately wanted a Red Ryder BB gun but was given a brown and orange, ill-fitting but practical handknit sweater.
Whatever this was about, we can all make it our personal mission to override such a dreadful stereotype...by learning all that we can to be the best knitters we can and by raising public consciousness about the knitting community. Here are my suggestions:
- Knit in public. (You'll answer questions, meet other knitters, learn a trick or two, and perhaps even teach a new knitter.)
- Access your knitting community.(...visit shops, bookstores, Web sites...to which you can connect and from which you can learn.)
- When you knit for others, make sure it works for them! (This may mean knitting something you don't like--in a style you don't like, in a stitch pattern you don't like, in a color you don't like. It may also mean ripping and re-knitting to make it fit. But they get what they want--which does much for knitting--and you'll learn from the experience.)
- When you find yourself excusing a mistake ("a blind man on a galloping horse will never see it"), you need to fix it...or repeat it. If done three or more times, it becomes a design feature.
- Notice--and compliment--the knitting you see. (If I see someone wearing what I think is a handknit sweater, I ask, "Is that a handknit sweater?" If the answer is "Yes," I then ask, "Did you make it yourself?" If the answer is again "Yes," we start a conversation and perhaps bond for life. If the answer is "No," I then say, "Someone loves you very much.")