Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Knitting Identity

#15 from 100 Things About Me states:

"I derive a significant amount of self worth from my job."

I identify as a Consultant...it's who I am, it's what I do. Similarly, I identify as a knitter. There aren't many folks that have my skill sets in either the area of knitting or consulting, and I take great pride in that. I am proud as hell that there isn't a knitting pattern or a pattern stitch that I can't do...or even a commercially knit garment that I couldn't replicate if I wanted to. I can do Fair Isle, Intarsia, and duplicate stitch. I can do lace knitting, Aran knitting and cabling. I know how to turn a heel, do a toe-up sock and Kitchener stitch a toe.

What I don't need is validation of myself as a knitter. I don't care if Julia Roberts or Tyne Daly knits. Although it makes me like them more, it doesn't justify my passion for creating fabric with needles and yarn. I don't care that magical knitting is portrayed in the Harry Potter movie, even though I can appreciate some of the beautiful hand knits that actors wear in movies. And getting upset about how knitting is being portrayed in a Homo D├ępot commercial is simply ridiculous.

I think part of the reason I don't care about what people think of my knitting is because I'm a guy. I've had to work through a lot of those issues early in my knitting experience. The first time I took my knitting out in an airport, I didn't know what the reaction would be, but I was resolved that it didn't matter...I am a knitter...it's who I am, it's what I do. I've had some less-than-positive experiences where friends have ridiculed my avocation, or family members have their own embarrassment of my knitting in public. All of those experiences strengthened my resolve...brought me to the place where I realized I won't be denied my passion because someone thinks less of me for it.

Knitting Gifts
With all this talk of my "knitting identity", it's always nice when friends and family recognize that knitting is important to me. My sister-out-of-law gave my partner and I teddy bears for Christmas one year. Thaddeus' bear was dressed as a fisherman...mine as a knitter.

Now don't get me wrong...none of my dresses are as frumpy as the one this bear wears, but I was glad that someone close to me recognized that knitting was a part of who I am...a critical part. It's nice to be understood that way. I'm not sure how different that is from feeling validated by knitting references in books or movies, but it definitely feels different to me. It's a more personal recognition of something important to me...not some random reference.

Knitting Progress
I've gotten some additional work done on the sister sweater. Now that I've started knitting back and forth to allow for the sleeve opening, the picture looks like I've made a lot of progress. In actuality, I'm almost done with the back, but I still have the upper front, collar and sleeves to go.