“Despite what we knitters know to be true, the non-knitting world somehow persists in thinking that a “knitter” looks a certain way. Most likely, this picture is one of an elderly woman, grandmotherly and polite, sitting in her rocking chair surrounded by homemade cookies and accompanied by a certain number of cats.
In reality, a knitter today is just as likely to be young, hip, male, and sitting at a “Stitch and Bitch” in a local bar. Several of today’s best knitting designers are men, and a knitter is as likely to have body piercings as homemade cookies.
- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
I’m not what most people would think a knitter would look like if you’re following the old stereotypes. Old being the operative word: it’s somehow a thing that only people with plenty of wrinkles do, or so many people would have me believe. And yes, I know plenty of older people who knit and who are totally awesome. But there’s young ones too. And middling ones. Basically there is no age requirement on picking up a couple of pointy sticks and looping string together with them.
This is what I look like. My hair is a little longer now on top but you get the gist. I’m not your stereotypical knitter. People have literally done double-takes on seeing me knitting on the bus.
I think the stereotype is starting to fade but we’ve still got a long way to go. There are loads of different types of people who knit and we shouldn’t be surprised by someone of a different gender or different age picking up the art. It’s good for everyone. It’s relaxing (and frustrating), it makes beautiful things (and terrible ones too). Knitting and its little sister crochet is especially great for anyone who, like me, feels like they can’t sit still without doing something.
A lot of people who don’t fit the knitterly profile tend to shy away from knitting in public. I say it’s time to stop that fear; the only way knitting is going to continue to be seen as a revitalised art form is if more diverse people start showing it off on the bus or the train or in class (with permission).
I would lie and say I knit in public to raise awareness of it but actually I’m just incapable of sitting still for any amount of time without reaching for my project bag. Thankfully a lot of my friends are knitters and no one else minds (or cares!) all that much so I can indulge wherever I am.
Let’s show people that knitting isn’t a myth and it’s not just something people magically take up when they get their senior bus pass. There are some awesome bizarre knitters out there. I’m proud to be in a community like that.