I have a confession to make. I don't really like knitting in public.
Sometimes when I go to stitch and bitch I am faintly embarrassed by the sheer size of the group, overtaking the whole bar, sometimes up to 50 of us pulling chairs up in a long snakey evergrowing line. I get self-conscious about the funny looks we get from people (and we get a lot of those). Sometimes we get openly laughed at.
I certainly don't knit much in front of my family (I don't mean husband and children, but my mother and sister specifically). When my mother saw the cricket vest she said 'is that what all the wives are doing is it? Making the husband's cricket vests'.
Of course the implication was that what I was doing wasn't special or important. I've tried to knit her a few wide lace scarves over the years, she nonchalantly gives them to her friends over cappuccino when they comment on how nice they are. "Oh this old thing! Have it! Ailsa churns them out like nothing. That's all she does. Knit, knit, knit. Quite mad really." Everything else I knit is declared 'repulsive colour' or 'makes you look fat'.
So, aside from a cashmere koolhass I made for a work colleague (in payment he brought me back a $1 chip from Las Vegas, which might come in handy if the dollar gets any worse), and the scarves I mentioned earlier, I've never actually knit a garment for anyone else. I write this in response to comments on my previous post who were suprised by this. Truth is, I don't know anyone who'd appreciate it, or wear it.
It's not like I'm completely selfish, although with the knitting, it's largely a solitary pursuit for me, save a precious few people I know who knit and of course, the internet.
To be honest, I don't really think knitting has really had much of a renaissance in mainstream society in Australia as I hear it has in the US. There was a flurry of feathers scarves a few years back, but I really don't know if the craft itself has really undergone much change. I know ravelry is big, but 5000 Australian knitters have joined the Australian Knitters group, it's not like we're about to take over the world, is it? I think the vast majority of Australian knitters are still the ones knitting the baby clothes in baby wool - be they mothers or grandmothers.
In Bendigo earlier this year, I was talking to a lovely woman from a local weaving company about the absence of Bendigo Woollen Mills as a sponsor and participant in the Sheep and Wool Show. I found it extremely insulting of BWM to 'ride on the sheep's back' without actually having to support the event financially. Guaranteed, every bus load of visitors to the Sheep and Wool Show went on a side trip to BWM. I bet it's their busiest weekend of the year. And yet, they don't feel any obligation to return anything to the community event by supporting it?
But who cares really, as my weaving friend pointed out, all their customers will be dead in ten years. Then where are they going to be? I found that quite a confronting opinion, and quite thought provoking too.
Hmm, I'm a bit introspective today, must be the lace..
And, speaking of dirty little secrets, don't say I never give you anything.