Friday, 20 August 2010

A Thorny Knitting Etiquette Question

Recently I was in a restaurant having the kind of evening where it would have helped if I had been drunk (I wasn’t drunk), when I noticed a woman on the table next to me wearing what looked like a featherweight cardigan, which is something I covet. I considered tapping her smartly on the back and saying, hey lady, did you knit that yourself and if so, did knitting with laceweight make you want to chew your own ears off, but I’m never sure of the etiquette in this kind of situation. If someone came up to me and asked me if I’d made what I was wearing I wouldn’t be offended (in fact - people often do! And - I’m not!) but it is theoretically possible for someone to interpret it as, you look a bit homespun, can you not afford Marks and Spencers? Have you got a stack of feedsacks at home that you have to make your own knickers out of? Do you have to trim your fringe yourself with the bacon scissors? I think it all depends on your attitude to homemade things. So I decided to leave the woman alone because I wasn’t sure she had knitted it, and she might have had traumatic memories of her mother knitting her swimming costumes or something* or been offended, but if it had been something iconic like, ooh, I don’t know, a great big Clapotis, I would have had no qualms.
Although I admit this looks a bit rubbish, I want you to know that actually it isn't
I’m making a skirt with deconstructed ties – this is it so far, and I’ll show it to you when it’s finished. I’ve got one piece of advice. I started this being snobby about polyester ties but actually they work better in something like this because the fabric is stiffer and I like something with a bit of body. I’m going to have a go at lining it tomorrow. How hard can it be? I think I’ll sleep on it first, though.

* As far as I can ascertain, all British people over about 60 have memories of their mothers knitting their swimming costumes, and it is probably the least practical thing you can knit because knitting stretches as soon as it gets wet, and you can imagine the rest. Therefore there is a whole generation of British people who have been really embarrassed at quite a delicate age by their mothers knitting for them, and it is therefore no surprise that as a society we took to Primark so enthusiastically.


resa said...

Oooh, I need that cardigan in my life. Lace weight though, I can't even imagine.

As far as knitting etiquette goes, I've never had a problem with, "Love your (hat, socks, scarf, etc.) do you mind telling me where you got it?" If I've ever offended someone by prying into their shopping habits they've never let on and if they've made it themselves they're usually fine with sharing the pattern (if available) and talking a bit about the process.

West/CJ said...

Like Resa, I always just ask where they got it- people are always flattered by that. If they tell me they made it, then I ask about the yarn and such.

I love the tie skirt- it's fab. I'm slowly teaching myself to sew, but I'd never be that adventurous (of course, I have piles and piles of fabric to use anyways).

Susie said...

Thank you both, I never thought of that! It would be much less loaded ;-)

Anonymous said...

yeh i tend to say 'oh i love your cardi/scarf/whatever ' and then if they made it themselves and are proud enough to wear it, they will start talking about it :)