I've just finished downloading and sorting the photos from this weekend's 1,000 Knitters public shoot in Toronto. It has taken about six hours. The keynote of the day was joy–joy in the gentle weather, the beautiful setting, the good company, the abundant creativity.
I'll put up a full description tomorrow, but I find I can't wait until then to say something that's been increasingly on my mind for months now. The more knitters I meet, the more I want to say it. Looking over Saturday's faces and remembering the many conversations has convinced me that now is as good a time as any.
Ours is an odd hobby. As Stephanie has noted, according to trustworthy estimates we, the needleworkers, outnumber golfers in North America. We are enthusiastic–even evangelical–about what we do. Yet knitting enjoys nothing close to the media attention or popular regard given to the sport of golf. When was the last time you saw a copy of Interweave Knits at an airport newsstand? But I bet you could find a copy of Golf Digest.
It may not be fair, but it's the way of the world. Until those at the very top of the power hierarchy put down their clubs and take up needles, I won't hold my breath waiting for serious coverage of yarn issues on the nightly news.
The media–and the world that consumes it–neglects most folks. It seldom (except in a voyeuristic, often disrespectful manner) dwells on fat people, short people, quiet people, shy people, poor people, plain people, nonconformists, minorities, or those who simply work too darn hard every day to seek the spotlight.
Unfortunately, many of us–myself included–take this to heart. When you are bombarded each day by advertisements, television shows, billboards and books that tell you in no uncertain terms that you are not okay, it's easy to feel too flawed even to leave the house. When you never see yourself reflected accurately in the whirling collage of popular imagery, it's easy to wonder if you count for anything.
But here's what I've come to realize. The world is wrong.
The society that doesn't value handwork is wrong. The magazine article that suggests you are less than human because you prefer an evening with your cat and spinning wheel to dinner at a noisy new restaurant is wrong. The company that doesn't believe you can enjoy a knitting circle and also chair a board meeting is wrong. The husband/wife/parent/child/friend/boyfriend/girlfriend who sneers at your knitting as a dowdy little hobby for boring little people is wrong.
I've met more than 900 of you now and spent at least a few minutes talking to each of you. I haven't met a boring knitter yet. I haven't yet met a knitter with no talent or no story to tell. I haven't met the knitter who shouldn't feel proud as all hell at his or her desire to create beauty every day, when most of civilization does nothing from cradle to grave but consume, consume, consume.
The wider world is too busy chasing its own tail to understand what's worthwhile. Pity it. Attempt to educate it, if you like. But if it persists in being clueless, let it go.
Stop waiting for approval. Celebrate yourself. You are beautiful, you are talented, you do count for something. And you have a lot of interesting things left to knit before you die.