Recently I came in contact with a group of knitters. They aren’t all in the same knitting group, they just happen to be in the same place everyday. I was happy and excited to meet so many knitters at once. What a great thing I thought… Or so I thought.
The Ugly-Knitter (I’ll call this person) and I seemed to have much in common because Ugly-Knitter appeared to be a fun person and almost always in a good and uplifted mood. Ugly-Knitter and I chatted about out passion for knitting, how Ugly-Knitter was taught to knit by a college chum and so on. I introduced Ugly-Knitter to Ravelry and different designers; I shared my views on knitting and methods of knitting. Ugly-Knitter took in all the information. All of this face-to-face sharing really revved me up. I was happy to be amongst a group of knitters, chit-chatting about what we all loved.
Ugly-Knitter is asking me to show how I cast on. I did and Ugly-Knitter said that I cast on weird. That’s right, weird. Ugly-Knitter then did a cast on and said “See, this is how you do it!”. My first response was “Whaaaat?” I then explained that perhaps someone taught that cast on or it came out of a book or off the internet but everyone does not cast on the same way. I explained that many years ago (over 30), everyone I hung out with crocheted and thought I was crazy because I wanted to learn to knit. There was no one to teach me anything and I am a lefty to boot. I couldn’t even find a book that taught lefty’s how to cast on so I did the best I could with a right-handed knitting book. I explained that my method of casting on may not be a conventional one but, it works.
I was offended but calm. How dare this person that’s been knitting less than 8 months criticize me, Carolyn Two Cables !!! I took a look at some of the other knitters and noticed that they were also feeling awkward about Ugly-Knitter’s comments. One knitter knowingly and blatantly looked into my face. I wondered what she was trying to tell me with that look.
One day while I listened to Ugly-Knitter brag about being able to knit better than many others, it somehow made me think of Ugly-Knitter’s knitting relationship with the others we know. Two of them never, ever share their work with Ugly-Knitter and the other knitter that has been knitting as long as I, actually goes to Ugly-Knitter for advice. Why, I don’t know.
Not Only an Ugly Knitter but a Competitive One…
I was working on my cabled wrist warmers and Ugly-Knitter asked where my cable needle was. I explained that I don’t use one. A blank but shocked look came over Ugly-Knitters face. “You will have to show me how to do that.” -- “Okay” and I did.
That same day, Ugly-Knitter and I were looking at Ravelry patterns. I was telling Ugly-Knitter about one of my favorite cabled patterns and how I was going to “Knit this one next” but “I just haven’t seemed to find that right color yarn yet”.
A Few Days Later…
Ugly-Knitter excitedly came to me to share with me a different (any method but mine) method of cabling without a needle as well as the start of that favorite cabled pattern I showed. Ugly-Knitter was working on the pattern without a cable needle also.
Okay, so Ugly-Knitter is knitting up the cable pattern that I was going to knit next and though Ugly-Knitter has never knitted cables, the choice is without a cable needle. Hmmmmmmm. We’re in America, the land of the free, the land where any-knitter-can-knit-from-any-pattern-when-they-darned-well-please, right!!! Heck, they can even do it without a cable needle. Then why was I feeling a bit awkward about Ugly-Knitter’s choice. Oh, I know, it was the devilish smirk of competitiveness and the flat-out “I Got Ya” look on Ugly’s face. I’m a cool cookie though, I smiled and encouraged Ugly-Knitter and complimented the yarn and wowed at the idea that no cable needle was being used. On the inside, I was cracking up because though cables are not hard, I knew that the mere constant no rest cable coupled with the construction would frustrate Ugly-Knitter to hell and back. Yeah, I encouraged Ugly-Knitter to think about casting on not one but two. “You must have more than one color” I smiled.
Ugly-Knitter came in complaining about all of the ribbing and hadn’t even gotten to the cabling. Oh, this will be such fun I thought. As the days went on, Ugly-Knitter at first tried to pretend to like the pattern, then Ugly complained about the awkwardness working small cables without a cable needle and wondered if using one would make the project easier. Ugly looked at me for advice. I hunched my shoulders up and said “I dunno, whaddya think?” I smiled and walked away.
After that day, it was complaints from Ugly-Knitter all the way. Everyday I smiled doe-eyed and kept complimenting on how gorgeous the project was turning out. -- A few weeks later, the project was finished and pretty nicely. However, I don’t think Ugly-Knitter will be making another one just yet.
Some folks would say that my behavior as a knitter was ugly at that moment. Perhaps it was. Perhaps it was justified, perhaps not.
Knitting is a Feel Good...
This craft-criticism is a first for me. I don’t know what craft world/planet Ugly is from but in my world, crafters DO NOT criticize each other. They don’t intimidate each other. They don’t scold each other. Or do they?
For me, crafting is an art. Sometimes methods are different. So I named this knitter UGLY because this is how I see this person’s behavior. Who wants to compete with their knitting. It's a feel-good hobby for me. To criticize other knitters to the point that they won’t even share their work is a crime and a shame. I’m getting upset again even as I type this.
I don’t share much of my knitting with Ugly anymore, if Ugly sees me knitting I keep the project conversation short. I don’t share any of my proposed projects anymore either. It weirds me out a bit that Ugly wants to make almost everything that I want to make. There are other incidents also as you can imagine.
Please share your views on this subject. What is the climate of your knitting group and friends ? Are there any ugly crafting behaviors ? Or am I the only one to run into an Ugly ?