I've been a knitter for a long time...well since my senior year in college when I taught myself how to knit in order to de-stress during my med school application season. I made an interesting interviewee, all covered in Icelandic wool as I worked on my first sweater.
I guess I don't look much like a knitter since during one of those 2 truths and 1 lie icebreaker games, most of the people believed that I'd sooner stab myself in the head with knitting needles as knit with them. But the truth is that I knit. I knit a lot.
Knitting is fun, productive and, best of all, calming. And, it keeps me from killing people. (It really does.) Let's not forget the joy of creating something wearable from what previously was a whole lot of yarn...that is way cool.
Yet I've noticed over the years that sometimes people get really tweaked if you knit in class or in meetings. I've never understood why it is so bothersome. It's quiet. You don't need to look at your hands. You just sit still and listen. What's the big deal?
When I was in my Master's Program about 10 years ago, (YIKES!) I did a lot of knitting because it helped me focus on the lecture. Without my hands being busy, my ADD would have been out of control. That's one of the reasons I never could sit still in classrooms very easily. And sitting in a classroom at that point in my life was indeed a challenge.
My mentor in the Master's Program, however, was one of the most offended-by-knitting people I've ever met. He taught the questionnaire design class and was truly a boring dude. Most people were playing on their Palms or doodling during his lectures. That never bothered him. Only my knitting did.
"I think it's disrespectful that you knit in my class," he told me during one of our mentor-mentee sessions.
Considering that he and I were the same age and at the same point in our careers (though I was later in going through the Master's Program), you know I wasn't going to trip too hard about what bothered him.
"Uh, how you figure, Bill?" I asked him. "What is disrespectful about knitting?"
"You're not paying attention so of course it's disrespectful," he countered.
"Uh, why would you think I'm not paying attention?"
"You can't knit and pay attention to my lecture!" he said truly affronted by my question.
"Uh, hello, Bill. Maybe you can't, but I can and do both knit and pay attention. In fact I pay better attention when I knit."
He looked dubious.
"I'd rather you didn't knit in my class," he said, finally.
"Then clearly you want me to fall asleep like half of the other people. You don't really want that, do you Bill?" I asked sweetly.
He gritted at me, but I didn't budge. We were two hard-headed docs at an impasse. He had no power over me and we both knew it. I also needed to knit in his class especially to stay awake. So what happened was that I kept knitting and he kept gritting at me. Whatever.
One day, our class was sitting around tables arranged in a U-formation. I was knitting, as usual. Next thing I know, my ball of yarn has dropped from my lap and rolled out into the middle of the U. Somebody snickered. Bill gritted at me even harder, but I still kept knitting...and I smiled.
When I arrived at CurrentCompany, I had so many all day training sessions that knitting was indeed necessary for my mental alertness. Before the first week was out, my dear boss had received complaints about my knitting. He asked the complainers, "is she not paying attention?"
"No, she's paying attention," they replied quickly.
"Is she not following along?" he asked.
"No, she is looking at what we are doing. She doesn't seem to need to look at her hands while she knits."
"Is she participating in the discussion?"
"Yes, absolutely," they replied.
"Then what's the problem?" he asked, a bit perplexed.
"She's knitting! That's the problem. There's no knitting at CurrentCompany!"
He sighed. Human Resources was called and their time was wasted and it was decided that my knitting was an expression of diversity in the workplace that must be respected. Whatever.A while ago, I opted to knit at a 2 day meeting with about 15 of our advisors. These meetings are long with a lot of ass-sitting interrupted only by eating breaks. One of the BigChieftessHeadHonchos was also in attendance. BCHH, who was sitting next to my boss, looked over at me aghast.
"She's knitting," she hissed to my boss.
"Yes," he said mildly.
"She can't do that here. It's disrespectful!"
"Why?" he asked, thinking here we go again.
"Our attendees will think it's rude."
"I don't see how it is any more rude than web surfing or playing with your crackberry incessantly like most people do in our meetings."
"But...it's knitting!" she sputtered. "There's no knitting at CurrentCompany!"
He then had to explain that my knitting had been vetted by HR, though he would ask me to stop if it bothered her.
"I'm just worried about what the attendees think?" she said.
"Want me to ask them?" he offered.
"Want me to ask her to stop knitting?"
"NO! Don't let her know I questioned her knitting." (She seemed to be fearful of angering the dangerous black woman knitter...)"OK, so what do you want me to do?"
"Nothing, never mind," said BCHH, huffily.So much ado about two sticks and some yarn. What's up with that?
A few of my FOs (finished objects, for you non-knitters!):