Last month I attended a conference for yarn store owners. It’s put on by the publishers of Vogue Knitting Magazine, and they really go out of their way to make it a wonderful event. There are great speakers, great swag, and best of all, they find the swankiest hotel in the area and treat you like royalty the whole time. This year’s conference was held in the Boston Fairmont Copley Plaza. Very nice indeed. It was a lovely time, and there were so many gorgeous samples of yarn and various things from the sponsors that I really had to work to get it all in my bag. Without thinking, I just stuffed my laptop into the center of my suitcase along with all the cool freebies. To make a long story short, let’s just say I had some quality time with the TSA lady at Logan Airport. She dug through my yarn-crammed bag and asked me what I did for a living, why I was traveling, where I had stayed, etc. When I told her that I had been at conference for yarn store owners held at the Copley Plaza, she stopped what she was doing and looked at me, eyes wide and said, “Wow, who’d have thought they’d put a knitting conference in such a nice place!” I kid you not. That is exactly what she said.
Here’s my question, and probably yours as well: “Why wouldn’t they put a knitting conference in the nicest hotel they can find?” The TSA lady doesn’t get it. She’s not a Crazy for Ewe knitter. Those of you reading this are Crazy for Ewe knitters, so you know that knitting is part of the fashion industry. You understand that the inspirations, designs and colors flow through the same channels as couture runway shows. For you and for me, knitting is about luxury, artistic expression, and style. It’s about creating something beautiful and flattering and feeling wonderful as we do so. We get it.
But the truth is that for the TSA lady and for most of the general public, knitting is something their grandmothers did and to save money. Yarn came from the five and dime, it was cheap and rough and itchy, but it kept you warm and it didn’t cost as much as “store-bought”. It was all quite utilitarian. That is not to say that nothing beautiful was created in those days - it certainly was. My point is that the general public’s image of knitting is not the same as ours.
It makes me crazy, this huge disparity between the perception of knitting and the reality. I feel like it's my personal mission to rectify things. I want to get a megaphone and shout from the rooftops – “HEY, knitting is cool, and beautiful and chic, and we have a really great time together – join us!” ! want to reach out and share with the world how fabulous and stylish knitting can be. If you feel the same way, then join me in the outreach! Wear the spectacular things you’ve made–knit in public--show people a picture of the stylish pattern you're knitting---invite them proudly into the fold. Knitting is so wonderful- it's really too good not to share.