One thing that always fascinates me is how much knitters have in common. Some of you might boggle at this statement, but we are all doing the same hobby, so why shouldn’t we have things in common? Then I ask you to picture your typical knitter. Does s/he have blue hair or a blue rinse? Does s/he have a dozen cats or a dozen piercings? Old? Young? Male? Female? Punk rocker or rocking chair? Can you even picture a single knitter and find another one just like him/her?
Take me and KnitWit. Physically we are different (I am obviously the one that looks like a supermodel); she has an online business, I am a teacher; she makes egg cosies, I make lace shawls; she uses yarn that could double as rope, I use yarn that could double as sewing thread; she learned in her thirties, I learned to knit aged eight. Unsurprisingly, our projects and stashes reflect this and despite being sisters we are definitely inhabiting different poles on planet knit.
The same is true for all of us and the more you look, the less we knitters have in common.
Until you look at our track record for helping others.
Charity knitting, money-raising events or simply making a blanket for a friend’s new baby, even us self-appointed “selfish knitters” have all knit something to help others. Big or small, public or personal, group or individual; knitters seem to be drawn to doing things for others. It seems to be hardwired into our woolly DNA. It is also a bit of a chicken and the egg moment, are knitters naturally generous or does knitting draw out the natural generosity in us all? Could we make the world a kinder place by making knitting compulsory for everyone?
Knitted Village – Charity Venture Alexandra Palace 2012
This generosity, this kindness in us, isn’t just about knitting for others. How many of us have taught someone else? How many of us have dug deep into our precious stashes to furnish new knitters with materials or to donate to charity knits? You hear about tales on Ravelry about people needing just 5 meters of a particular yarn in a particular dye lot. And you know that before the sun has set on that post that everyone reading it would have carefully checked their stash and those finding the right yarn would be happily sending it halfway around the world to a complete stranger. And you also know that they will do this anonymously and with no thought of reward and for no reason other than they understand the howling level of frustration on being in that position.
I think there should be a new collective term for knitters (although I don’t know what we are currently called). I think we should be known as “a kindness of knitters”.
So, what moments of knitterly kindness have you received? I can definitely count my nana teaching me at 8, 14 and 18 as an example of saintly kindness! As well as the lovely ladies at my knit group who both introduced me to, and helped me on, my first socks.