Today I complimented a woman on the pretty scarf she was wearing and asked if she’d made it. She responded that she wasn’t clever enough for that and that it had been a lovely gift. I’d agree about the lovely gift. But the scarf was made from one of those feathery, silly yarns that do all the work in terms of looking fabulous and require only garter stitch. In other words, not difficult knitting. But I didnt say any such thing!
Why not let her think someone laboured over it for long hours – and for all I know to the contrary, perhaps someone did if it was that knitter’s first project or one undertaken by a knitter with a disability of some sort; I don’t mean to be dismissive – and that she, nicely dressed in a smart suit with coordinating accessories and subtle, tasteful make-up that she’d applied in the short time that I was otherwise occupied, was certainly not smart enough to do anything of the sort?
We need to maintain the mystique. If people want to think what we do is really hard work, we should let them believe so, because it’s often the case that things that really are hard don’t seem to be. Cables look very impressive and very difficult and complex designs certainly can be. Simple cables, however, are not. They are, as one of my aunts used to say, a quick and easy way of fancying up a plain jumper; dead easy or she wouldn’t have incorporated so many into her knitting.
To a non-knitter, circular knitting can seem wildly skilled and difficult. It’s not using a circular needle or set of needles that creates any difficulty, but the design being undertaken. I have also had comments about how difficult knitting is when it’s being done on long, straight needles. It was a very simple stocking stitch (stockinette) fabric and not at all difficult. It’s just that there were a lot of stitches. Perceptions are strange things.
Nowadays when such remarks come my way, I just keep knitting and being mysterious about it all. If people want to think I’m clever, then that’s all right with me. Or do you think we should give away all our secrets?