The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Inane Q & Slightly Snide A

I love muggles. I really do. In fact, some of my best friends are muggles because, after all, it's far easier to impress someone with your knitting when they have absolutely no idea what it's supposed to look like, or how hard it might be to accomplish ("What, this scarf? Yes, it's a rather tricky little thing I like to call 'the garter stitch'. Not all knitters can learn it...I'm really quite proud."). You can also repeat utter nonsense like "Oh, it's a homongon lace pattern with a half-hitch that I added some dinkyloops to and also some fuzzbobbles." and, as long as they don't know any other, more honest knitters, they'll be awed. (I, of course, just retain my odd status at this point, and I accept that.)

But there are muggles and there are muggles. There are the charming folk who happily open up doors with comments like "Oh, that's so lovely. What are you making?" and "I love that yarn. What's it called? Can I feel it?" and even "That's a great sweater. Who's it for?" And then there are the others. I don't mean the people who don't get it, I mean the people who think it's a cute little hobby that they should say something about when they really should have just laid down until the idea went away. You know the ones. For those people, I have a few answers that I'm thinking of using, but I need some further input before I implement them. For example:

I was knitting at lunch the other day on the Evening Wrap from Hell (I don't do well with all....and add in the two Louisville Sluggers I'm using for needles and the two stranded yarn that seems to have couple's issues in that the strands would really rather not be anywhere near one another...yeah. It's been a long slog.), which I've been knitting on at lunch for just over a week now. A doctor came along and, in the brightly cheery voice normally reserved for three-year-olds who made it to the potty, said "Oh, look. It's getting BIGGER." What I said was something mumbly like "Yeah, it's getting there". What I wanted to say was one of these:
1. "What? It IS??? Quick--help me kill it!!!"
2. "And that's so strange because I've been trying to make it shorter for the last three days. What do you suppose I'm doing wrong?"
3. "Which is odd, because you'd think that could only happen if I was actually knitting on it and....well, what do you know? Look what I'm doing!"
4. "Yeah, I hope it stops doing that before I wear it, because that would be kind of creepy."

Or the doc who said absently "So, you're a knitter?" after having watched me do it every lunch break for a week. What I said was "Oh, yes. I've been a knitter for some time." What I wanted to say was:
1. "No, I just like to hold the needles and pretend. You wouldn't believe how long it took me to wrap all this yarn convincingly around the...what do you call them...needles?"
2. "So, you're a doctor?"
3. "Only when I run out of taxidermy supplies."
4. "Why do people always think that, I wonder?"

Now, some people have been known to ask me if I enjoy knitting and, to be fair, the look on my face as I've been working on the Wrap of Doom makes that a fairly reasonable question. In truth, the correct answer would often be "Not right at the moment, I don't. Ask me again when I've fixed this lace error/picked out this knot/figured out this damned chart/whatever." But, seeing as how anyone who's known me even five minutes knows that I am a compulsive and devoted knitter with so many knitting needles that the burglars steer a wide berth for fear of being run through, and and who is personally responsible for dozens of naked sheep and not a few equally undressed alpaca, it seems logical to assume that I like it at least some of the time. Which leads me to dream about saying things like:
1. "No, I really hate it. But I have to do community service for that little "bank heist" incident, and the judge wanted sweaters for his family, his neighbors, and his four shitzus. Do you think this will look good on a shitzu? What if it's a drag queen shitzu?"
2. "No, but the clicking of the needles drowns out the voices in my head. What? No, shut up--he was asking ME!"
3. "No, it's aversion therapy. Every time I think about giving wedgies to people from Elbonia, I have to do something unpleasant until the urge goes away. You're not from Elbonia, are you?"
4. "God, no. You wouldn't want to take over for me, would you?"

Oh, and don't you love the "Wow, I'll bet you save all kinds of money making your own socks?" (Lady, I have over $200 invested in my sock drawer...and that barely gets me through a week.) and the "Hey, I'll bet you could make me a sweater really cheap!" (sure, if you think $300 just in yarn is really cheap. Oh, and my time is worth $25 an hour. You call me when you get your piggy bank open.") and even "Gee, I could NEVER just sit there like that. I'd get so bored." To which I'm inclined to reply
1. "Yeah, I used to think that, too. Then I realized that if I ignore them, the complete idiots usually go away and leave me alone."
2. "I'm sorry--what? I was distracted by that paint drying behind you."
3. "Oh, I know. Tell me again about the riveting episode of 'Lost' you saw last night while you weren't just sitting there."
4. "It helps to drink heavily. Which might explain all the holes in this thing."

I know, I'm being cruel. I will say for one and all to hear that 99.9% of muggles are absolutely delightful. Now, can't I get permission to be slightly snide about the other .1%? Please?

Knit on.....and by the way--do you like knitting?


  • At 6:32 PM, Blogger J. Denae said…

    My friend Gwen had a stranger ask her what she would charge to make a sweater. Gwen smiled and said, "Oh, it would be too expensive to add up."
    I was knitting a sock at the movies and a guy leaned forward and said, "Oh, my sister used to crochet." First of all, who cares about his sister and second, he pronounced it crotch-it.

  • At 11:26 PM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Ah how horribly familiar this all is ( and hilarious !). The muggles I hate most are the ones who'd like me to knit a little something for about 50p. The ones who amuse me are the many young ladies who will stare at a very easy capelet Holly is wearing ask her about it .I might wander over to tell them that it's easy and they look at me as if I just said "It's Newtonian physics" . I have gone to great pains and to be frank I think making any effort to have a hobby is alien to them . Any clicking sticks is just too much even if the garment is much coveted . What the heck do they do with their time ?

  • At 3:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You have my permission to be snide to the .1% of ingnorant muggles.

    I love your answers :)

  • At 6:57 AM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    Do I like knitting?

    "No, but the clicking of the needles drowns out the voices in my head. What? No, shut up--[s]he was asking ME!"


    I'm in a cranky enough mood at the moment that I would certainly grant you permission to skewer the 0.1%, but in general, I think you have found the perfect solution...politely mumble a civil response and then blog about it with people that get it!!

  • At 7:16 AM, Blogger Kit said…

    I'm afraid I can only allow you from now on to use the above options as appropriate responses to such questions.

    And now for an anecdote: I was knitting socks for my mum while waiting for my sushi order. This one girl, amongst her adoring sheep and yes-men, asked me if I was knitting socks. I was tempted to say that it was a ferret sleeve for all my ferreting needs but instead I told her 'yes' and then she went on to gush about how pretty and how it was so economical and so on. I smiled, nodded, and tried not to punch another hole in her head with my DPNs.

    At last her table was called. As she rushed off with her sheep and yes-men, she called over her shoulder "Let me know when you'll have my socks done, thaaanks!".

    Uh huh, yeah right. Thank goodness Brad Pitt had a clone who was also shyly watching me and I managed to strike up a conversation with him that involve sweatshop labor.

  • At 12:46 PM, Anonymous lilly said…

    I love to tell people who tell me that their Grandmothers knit that grandmothers lived long enough to figure out what is important.

  • At 1:27 PM, Blogger Jo said…

    snidey wins every time my dear Flo, and well done for your restraint.

  • At 2:44 PM, Blogger Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said…

    I get so exasperated with the wets who say, 'Oh I COULDN'T do that!' Baby, if you were freezing to death in Outer Mongolia, and only those needles and that yarn stood between you and blue ice, believe me you could. You could. And how come our grandmothers and everyone before them managed it pretty easily? Didn't I catch you thinking you were cleverer than your grandmother? Right then.

    Eegits the lot of them!

  • At 4:22 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    Do I like knitting? At the moment, yes I do, because my knitting is comporting itself in a seemly manner. This, as we all know, could change at any minute. Ask me again tomorrow.

  • At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Terri said…

    Yeah, we save all kinds of money on socks & such. A co-worker asked about how much the Schaeffer's Anne (sp?) cost I was using to make my hubby a pair of socks. When I told them about $25 they were flabbergasted. I explained that for the $25 I was able to do something that was very enjoyable, enjoy doing this for at least a week, and at the end of that my husband was going to have some socks that were different from everyone else's in the world. Didn't that seem like a better investment than a few drinks at the bar that would last a couple of hours? ....

  • At 10:36 AM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Catching up again:

    --the getting bigger comment:
    "Yes, you know how adding numbers together gives you a larger total? It's called math? This works like that." Effect: Slight hope of them realizing how stupid they sounded.

    "Yeah, I guess that superstring theory only applies to quantum physics, not yarn." Effect: Hopefully shutting them up permanently, unless they're used to three-year-old quantum physicists. Then they might at least change their tone.

    --the you're a knitter comment:
    "You tell me." Effect: With luck, embarrassed blushing.

    "Well, I haven't gotten my certification yet, but in another few months, I should qualify." Effect: Total bafflement, unless you decide to expand with info on the TKGA Master Knitter certification.

    Or, as my brother (the inhalation therapist), was hit with upon making some obvious remark I can't remember to a small girl in the hospital:

    "Well duh, Wilbur."

    Effect: If he has the sense of humor my brother does, cracking up. And hopefully more intelligent comments.

    And I could possibly go on, but this is long enough and I want to comment on your next post. But feel free to take a few lunges at that 0.1%!


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