I often find myself explaining my job (and hobby) to people who don’t knit. This year, Alexa and I have been thinking and writing about why we love knitting, and I’ve found myself really struggling to explain it!
In trying to figure out why I personally love knitting and spinning, I’ve come up against a bit of a black box. In his thought-provoking book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell writes about the way people love to wrap reasons around their impulses, to rationalize them, because we crave a logical story. We wanna answer the WHY question. But the thing is, it turns out that often these stories and excuses often don’t have any connection to the real drivers of our intuitive actions. The true reasons are squirrelled away in a different part of our mind, inside a black box, and we can’t look in.
So as I’m feeling stumped in my quest to understand my own love of this strange hobby, I’ll tell you a few of the 101 reasons NOT to knit…
Knitting is an EXPENSIVE hobby
I’m not kidding here. Well, OK, maybe I am, just a little! But when you tell somebody you knit, and they respond with a great story about how their Nana used to knit to save money, you know you’re in for a snoozer because THIS person does NOT knit. Yes, I know there are, in fact, lower-cost yarns. You can recycle yarns and by spinning your own, you can create luxury yarns at a lower cost. But our friend the non-knitter’s eyes will pop right out of their head if you told them how much you spent on the small-batch-artisanal, local-organic, ethically hand-dyed yarn for the shawl you have casually wrapped around your neck. And that’s without counting the hours you spent in the knitting, which leads us to my next reason not to knit…
Knitting takes FOREVER
It would be much more efficient to go to a thrift shop and buy a second-hand jumper. Seriously. You could probably take a 10-hour bus ride to a city near you (or even to a neighbouring country), spend the day visiting several thrift shops, buy a sweater, take another 10-hour bus ride back home, and do all of this in less time (and for less money – see my previous point) than knitting that sweater yourself. Buuuuuuuut… I suspect the knitters in the audience would simply be contemplating how many knitting projects they’d take along for the bus ride, am I right?!
Hand knit garments don’t come out as polished as ready-mades
Please, feel free to argue this point until you are blue in the face. I know ya wanna!
Some experienced knitters really ‘nail’ the combination of pattern, yarn choice, and knit with skill that transforms their sweaters into works of art. But let’s be honest, the majority of us aren’t making items that are all THAT polished. At least not consistently. Honestly. Just scroll through the millions of projects we’ve listed on Ravelry, or visit your local knit night.
Knitting takes a lot of time to learn (at least the complex bits)
Sure, the basics can be learned in an afternoon, but then you want to knit a sweater that you really love, maybe with some colourwork or cables? Trust me, it takes some practice (maybe a decade?) to get to that perfect wardrobe staple you needed when you imagined totally transforming your life in a pastoral, foreign village with a handsome widower like Jude Law (yes, I’m talking about The Holiday). And at the end of that decade, I’ve ended up with wrinkles and a couple of bratty kids, and I don’t need Jude Law anymore… or maybe I do, even more than ever? Nah… my foreigner is plenty adorable…
Knitting doesn’t bring you sex appeal, respect, or status
Try it…really. Try picking somebody up using your epic knitting skills as a conversation starter. Try mentioning at a party that you’re a knitting instructor or that the hobby you just can’t get enough of is KNITTING. It never goes well for me. Nobody gets it, well…except for those rare few gems who do!
BLAH…who cares about why?
You’re probably reading this because you already really, really, like REALLY, love to knit, so please excuse the blathering nonsense of this post. You and I will just keep doing what we love, despite the 101 reasons why it doesn’t make much sense, at least to the rational mind.
The one answer I’ve come to is that I’m not likely to understand my own love, at least not with the help of logic, so I’d better stop wasting time and cast on something new!
What about you?
Can you contribute more reasons not to knit? Do you have your own reason-excuses to explain why you knit? Stories you’re not ready to let go of? Or are you one of those who’d prefer to argue my above points? Let ‘er rip!