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Knitting is genius

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Knitting is genius

Knitting is genius

We're all quick to undervalue ourselves and what we're good at, taking for granted the unique set of skills and characteristics we bring to the world.  I thought about this while my son, Johnny, was home for the day Sunday.  We were not at all sure where he would find his path after college -- a criminal justice major with no interest in pursuing police work or law, he was looking for almost anything.  He's smart and outgoing, and he has a great handshake and a smile that lights up the room.  When I mentioned these assets to him he basically said, yeah, like that's going to get me a job somewhere.  And yet, in December he was hired as a sales engineer by a firm that represents high tech environmental systems.  The owner of the company said, "Johnny, we hired you for your ability to make a great first impression."  It's a complex system of personal characteristics, training, and confidence that allows Johnny to reach out confidently to total strangers twice his age.  It's a set of skills and qualities he takes for granted ,and yet it is precisely the set of skills and qualities the company wanted in a sales engineer.  Don't get me wrong, he still has much to learn about VRFs and DFS and air handling capacity and all the other technical stuff, but the skills he sees as being "nothing really and not that hard, were exactly right. 

As knitters and crocheters - in fact all fiber artists, we very much undervalue the importance and value of what we know and do and their application to a broader scope.   Knitting and crochet are activities most likely to elicit some comment about one's grandmother, and how it's a lost art etc, but knitting and crochet actually have more in common with computing than canning.  Our skills are among the most sought after skills in the technical world.  In her Times Union article "Hire a Knitter", Phyllis Alberici reframes knitting and crochet in technical application terms, and it's really quite amazing.  Consider these efforts and skills you use all the time:

  • Analysis and interpretation of complex information patterns
  • Analysis and interpretation of mathematical data and creation of visual schematics of that data
  • Recognition of subtlety in visual patterns and coded information
  • Ability to identify areas of ambiguity and ask probing questions for subject matter clarity
  • Ability to identify and correct errors or inefficiencies in a data model
  • Ability to create a project model and data structure for developing transferable knowledge
  • Managing and documenting project process and progress

 These are all things we do as a matter of course when we read a knitting or crochet pattern, create or interpret a schematic, or post project and process details to Ravelry.  Think about how we work our way through the dreaded set of instructions that begin, "at the same time."  Like that isn't technically challenging guidance in need of a creative solution!  Don't undervalue your skills - they're important.

If you're still in the throes of your work life, try tossing some of these skills on your resume and see what happens.  Stay-at-home mom? This is how you maintain your edge when diapers, naptime, and finger-painting fill your days.  Retired?  It's a way to keep your brain  as sharp as when you were working.  And if someone argues with you on this, remember that you have a pointy stick in your hand.

I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table.  You are always welcome here.


Back to 17 July 2018 Newsletter

Comments on this post (12)

  • Jul 19, 2018

    I am so happy to learn of your great news and I wish you continued positivity.

    You are so right about “undervalue” as you encourage others to see the value that we have in ourselves. I felt that the sweater that I am knitting was beyond my capabilities. Boy was I surprised to realize that I had undervalued myself. I’m almost finished knitting it!

    Thank you for that “push”.

    — Pat Crummer

  • Jul 17, 2018

    Wonderful news about the biopsy. Prayer if powerful! Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I look so forward each week.

    - Knitting is my saving grace!-

    — Shari Curtis

  • Jul 17, 2018

    Wonderful news for you and your son 😄. And you expressed your feels so well. Thank you for those insights.

    — Tina Hisrich

  • Jul 17, 2018

    Great news on your negative biopsies. Trust in the Lord!
    We have to help our children identify their strengths. You are so generous with your encouragement in your family as well as your customers. Thank you for being you.

    — Dana Russell

  • Jul 17, 2018

    Dear Ellen, such wonderful news. I’m sending a cyber hug! Hopefully I can hug you in person soon. Just hired a caregiver!
    So happy for Johnny. You are such a great encourager. (Us that even a word?):)
    Hugs to Ginny, Jenny and Mary … miss you all so much but your blog and newsletter keeps me going. Hoping to see you soon.

    — Chris Guy

  • Jul 17, 2018

    What a wonderful, inspirational woman you are; always looking on the plus side of life. I am so glad that your biopsies were negative, Johnny has found a job and that you are now in a good place. I am grateful to count you as a friend. Love, Barb

    — Barbara Skouzes

  • Jul 17, 2018

    What wonderful news! You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers all week. This has been nerve wracking for you. I look forward to your posts each week and send them to my new knitting friends. You are so encouraging to those of us who have been knitting our entire lifetime as well as the newer knitters. Keep the positives coming!!!

    — Anne Boone

  • Jul 17, 2018

    So happy to hear all the good news about your tests and Johnny. I love the insightful interpretation of knitting skills. It made me feel smart. I wish my arthritis wasn’t in my way. I drool over my yarn collection but can’t do it. I am trying PT. Maybe I could learn a different technique. Miss you!

    — Holly

  • Jul 17, 2018

    So glad to hear your biopsies were negative, one of the few times a ‘negative’ is a huge ‘positive!’

    Thanks for this article, something I needed right now as I am in the throes of creating a new resume and knitting lace. It can be maddeningly difficult to recognize and value your own skills, especially when you have to communicate them to others, and get them to see past narrow definitions of your academic degrees to see what you can actually do! Johnny’s story is very encouraging.

    Thank you for all you do!

    — Deanna Kilbourne

  • Jul 17, 2018

    This is awesome! First of all, negative biopsies! I’ve been keeping you in my thoughts for the past week, and I’m very happy that it’s good news. Also, very happy the Johnny is on the path to success. And, the words you use to describe the skills we use as knitters are fantastic. I think that I will have to incorporate some of your observations into my resume.

    Thanks for the boost of confidence!!

    — Danette

  • Jul 17, 2018

    Touché! I am so happy that Johnny’s ability to make a great first impression helped him find employment. I am also grateful for your many votes of confidence in all of us, no matter our skill level in knitting. You are our “Encourager in Chief”!
    Best of all, negative biopsies! Thank you for the update. :-)

    — Amy Henderson

  • Jul 17, 2018

    Sounds like your son is well prepared to be a mediator!!! He could go check it out just down the street. :) Mediators work in the jails sometimes, and with the police as well as with courts and families and neighbors and businesses.. Just sayin!

    and YES! I love the mathy-ness of knitting!

    — Elaine M Phillips

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