From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Are You Making?

Confessions of a Public Crafter


As Mom may have told you all, I have a small crafting habit. She mentioned several months ago that she had been coming to knitting group with me, and she's even posted a few pictures of my projects around here somewhere.

My latest knitting project
I learned how to crochet from my mom when I was about 7. I'm convinced that she taught me as a way to get me out of her hair. For years, all I ever made was long chains of crochet, not finished things. When I was about 10, I figured out how to make bags, and I did that obsessively for a while. Then, I got older, and I started making afghans. I continued that until high school.

A couple of years ago, a very patient friend taught me now to knit, and introduced me to the thriving online craft community. It was like my little crafting world exploded! If you're a big crafter, and you don't know about the online communities that are out there, you're missing out hugely. There are millions of people that are out there talking about what they make and how they make it. It's pretty wild.

Since then, I've made huge strides in my craft. I feel that I'm a much better knitter and crocheter than I was two years ago. I also find that I've become pretty fearless about it. I'm willing to try to knit or crochet most anything. One of my first knitting projects from a pattern was the shawl I knit for my wedding.

I take my crafting everywhere with me. I knit and crochet at restaurants while waiting on the food, in the doctor's office, at the movies. If you want to confuse strangers completely, knit or crochet in the movie theater. As I'm sure you can imagine, reactions have varied wildly.

  • Almost two years ago, while a friend and I were out to dinner, our server confessed to me in a very quiet voice that he had been taught to knit many years ago when he was a young boy in school in Moscow, but that he hardly ever did it now.
A "Wild Thing" (as in the children's book)
  • One day at a different restaurant with my little brother, a group of ladies stared pointedly at me for about five minutes. I was working on a baby blanket while waiting for a table. When they were called, they huffed by as one of them stared at me and said, "Well I Never!" in a very angry voice.
  • Children commonly stare and ask their parents why I'm sewing or playing or whatever they think I'm doing. This once led to a near argument between myself and the mother of a child. The mother insisted that I was sewing, and she ought to know, since she was older! When I asked her about it, she confessed that she had never sewn, or crocheted (which is what I was actually doing), but she knew what they looked like, and I was definitely sewing.
  • One German lady was so overcome by my knitting a set of potholders that she came over and questioned me extensively about the technique I was using. She said that she had been knitting for 40 years and had never seen it done. She was very excited to get home and do some internet research to try it herself.
  • Countless people have told me how their mother or their grandmother used to knit or crochet, and tried to teach them, but they've forgotten how or never gotten the hang of it. A few people have even asked me to teach them, and these are the people that I've directed to knitting groups or yarn shops to pick up the basics, since a lot of times the people asking aren't in a position for me to teach them for whatever reason.
I don't do it for the reactions, but I confess that they amuse me. Nothing tickles me more than to have someone come and ask me about what I'm doing, especially kids. Because of how much it tickles me, every time I see other crafters out and about, I ask them, "What are you making?"

Related:
Keely's Been Knitting
Yarn Store Adventure

6 comments:

Karen in Kentujcky said...

You should try quilting sometime. I am as addicted to quilting as you are to knitting!! I've been trying to find a Quilt Fabric Anonymous to help keep me from buying fabrics! :) Do you ever feel you need Yarns Anonymous????

Karen in Kentucky

Keely said...

I probably do need yarn anonymous! It's amazing how fast that stuff adds up.

Elaine said...

I sometimes take along my needle-tatting project (if I'm making an edging, or Christmas ornaments, or something like that) and people ask if I am (a) crocheting, or (b) knitting. Every once is a LONG while someone will know it is tatting, but they have never seen it done with a long needle.

I am a quilter, but I resist calling myself an addict. Too pejorative!

Genevieve said...

"Enthusiast" is a much friendlier word, Elaine.

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

Oh my goodness Keely, your mittens are beautiful! They remind me of stained glass. You are indeed a talented knitter. :)

I still can't figure out why the ladies were so mad at you while you were waiting on a table. Too funny, and yet sad at the same time, too.

I love your projects and wish you'd start your own blog! I think a lot of us out here would love to hear about your adventures in Kentucky and all your projects, too.

Blessings always

Keely said...

Thank you so much for the lovely compliment! I have thought about starting my own blog, but I'm just not as dedicated to it as Mom is. I do well to keep my Ravelry updated.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.