How Not to Offend a Crafter

This is a cowl I knit. Creating the eyelet pattern was not mindless. It took time and concentration.

Why anyone would want to offend a crafter is beyond me. Perhaps people just make snide, snooty comments without thinking to an innocuous person, quietly sitting and knitting or crocheting, not bothering anyone. Perhaps they like to feel superior by putting others down.

One of the members of an online crocheters group I belong to reported that she often gets snarky comments when someone sees her crocheting. She hears things such as, “I wish I had that kind of time” and “Who has time to crochet?” 

The crocheter could ask the obnoxious person, “How much time do you spend staring at your phone, sending useless texts, posting on social media, playing video games, or plopped in front of the TV? How much time do you spend asking offensive questions of someone who’s minding her own business?” These questions imply I’m so important, I don’t have time to waste doing crafts. Yeah, like you’re busy running a billion-dollar corporation all by yourself. If you really want to do something, you’ll find time for it. If you don’t want to do a craft, don’t pretend you don’t have time for such piddling occupations

It’s okay to admit that you don’t want to do a craft. Just say so. I have two friends whom I’ve offered to teach how to knit. Both were honest enough to admit that while knitting looks like fun and they like the hand-knit gifts I’ve given them, there are other ways they prefer to spend their time. That’s fine with me. To each her own. If they change their mind and want to learn to knit, I’m here.

Another insulting crack is, “Oh, that’s a good mindless activity.” So what’s the commenter doing with her fine mind? Discovering the unified field theory? Discovering a cure for cancer?

Neither crocheting nor knitting is a mindless occupation. It’s true that muscle memory allows experienced crafters to work seemingly without thought or without even watching their hands at work, but it takes time, effort, and concentration to get to that point. Doing more intricate patterns, lace, cables, entrelac, Fair Isle, and other decorative techniques requires close attention.

Another smug comment the crocheter reported was, “Oh, you can buy those kinds of things at Walmart now.”

The answer to that is, “No, you can’t.”

Sure, you can get machine-knit or crocheted scarves, hats, mittens, sweaters, and other garments and accessories, but they’re not the same at all. Years ago I worked as a greeter at retail outlets. I could always, always, always, spot handmade items. To make sure I was right, I’d ask the person wearing them if she’d made the item herself. If she hadn’t made it herself, someone else had made it for her. All the handmade things were more attractive, more skillfully made, and more original than anything that can be found in a store. Get something at a store and there will be fifty other things exactly like it. Not only that, by not making these things yourself, you miss the joy and sense of accomplishment you get when you finished a project you’ve worked on for hours. You also don’t hear awe-struck comments such as, “Wow, you made that?” You don’t get the pleasure of say, “Yes, I did.”

I’m highly offended on behalf of this crocheter and every other crafter who gets this kind of thoughtlessly cruel and smug comment. Maybe that kind of thing arises out of unadmitted envy.

Many crafters like to knit or crochet in public places–in coffee shops, in the park, in waiting rooms, jury assembly rooms, and on planes, trains, and buses. It’s a constructive way to pass time. Knitting and crocheting are relaxing , they lower your blood pressure, and they’re fun. It’s really none of anyone’s business how someone chooses to spend her time. Keep your snarky comments to yourself.

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This is a scarf I knit with two yarns held together. Too bad the sparklies in the white eyelash yarn don’t show up.
This is the cuff of one of a pair of fingerless gloves I made. The pattern called for plain ribbing. I decided I’d prefer mock cable ribbing. When you make something yourself, you can do it your way, instead of accepting whatever’s on offer.
I don’t know about you, but the last time I was at Walmart, I didn’t see anything like this. Didn’t see anything like it at Macy’s or Nordstrom, either. That’s because I made it.

9 thoughts on “How Not to Offend a Crafter”

  1. Fortunately I have never had people make insensitive remarks like what I saw on that post (yes I’m a member too.).

    I have had people I know at Church first ask me if I’m crocheting or knitting (knowing I do both), then they ask what I’m crocheting or knitting. My granddaughter loved the faux fur hat I made her from some faux fur yarn she gave me for Christmas. I still have enough of that yarn to do me up a headband or something, but it was lovely seeing the look on her face when she received it.
    Would love the pattern for that scarf, It definitely doesn’t look mindless or from W-M.

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    1. You’re fortunate not to have received that sort of mindless comment. I haven’t, either, but I don’t knit or crochet very much in public because I don’t like to be interrupted.

      That sounds like a delightful gift for your granddaughter. You could make her a cowl or a muff.

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    2. You’re fortunate not to have received such mindless comments. Neither have I. I seldom knit in public because I don’t like to be interrupted. I’ve knit during breaks at the office and received only positive comments.

      That sounds like a delightful gift for your granddaughter. You could make her a cowl or a muff. The latter is old fashioned, but fun. There’s nothing like the joy you get from bringing happiness to others.

      In case you missed my post to the group, or it didn’t get approved, the pattern for the diamon scarf is available at Knitty.com. It’s called “Edgar” and it’s in a back issue. Good luck with your knitting and gifting.

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  2. I shudder when people make such demeaning, insensitive remarks. Perhaps they are so dense they have no clue as to how insulting they really are. such comment are the height of arrogance. I wish I had a $20 bill for every time someone (even though I have made my living writing for over 40 years) has said, “I ‘d write a book if I had time.” My silent response is, ” Oh? I’d be a brain surgeon if I had time.” Instead, I smile, consider the source, and go on writing and selling books,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am also a member of that group and I too read that post and felt the same sting. I’ve heard “isn’t that for old ladies and grandmothers” and similar comments stated. Admittedly, it has hindered my taking projects out in public before. It’s frustrating and it slowed progress on things I needed to get done. This year, I got back into crocheting (haven’t since son was born, he’s 6) to have something to do for the pandemic. I’ve been crocheting at the beach, soccer practice, and even at work when I am assigned to screen at the front door (hospital). My fitbit shows lower HR and I feel calmer while crocheting. I asked my grandmother to teach me when I was starting college (~20yrs ago), knowing she wouldn’t be around forever. This year, I made homemade gifts for everyone, they loved them. Thankful, especially this year, that at 83 she is still around to see her work pay off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crocheting has such wonderful benefits for both mind and body. It also connects you to your grandmother forever. It’s great to share gifts that are lovingly made. Many people have taken up knitting and crocheting because of the pandemic. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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