Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Guilty Knitting

It was 8 months ago now that I read a forum thread about Knitting Guilt in the Never Not Knitting Forum.

Ravelry members lamented about disapproving glances from spouses, family and friends, about "the sigh" often heard when a knitter just wants to knit.

Around the same time, I heard an interesting quote from the Yarn Harlot on an old knitpicks podcast (#58 to be exact):

"I’m not sure at what point doing something creative and productive that generates a useful object became a maligned activity. Up until recently sitting and making something beautiful and useful was considered work. Knitting was considered work… and now it’s considered a strange little leisure activity - and not even a particularly valid one. Like if I told someone - what did you do last night? - “I knit”, they would have a little giggle, and they don’t really understand it… They don’t really understand how someone could spend an evening knitting. They really don’t get it. But if I told them that I watched 4 hours of tv and at a bag of chips, they would totally understand. Doing nothing makes more sense than doing something. This is a really interesting shift for humanity isn’t it?”

I wondered then, and I still wonder now, why do we feel guilty, why are we made to feel guilty, for something that is productive, relaxing and fulfilling all at once?

For a while I was interested in getting my knitting out there.  Mostly this stemmed from postitive reactions to the people I was sharing my knitting with.  They would look at the knit item and say how amazing it was, how cute it was, how cool it was.  They didn't realize you could do that with knitting.  I found that sad and wanted to be able to share my amazing hobby with others.

Lately though, I find myself wanting to be selfish.  I want to knit for me and not others.  While I enjoy knitting gifts for people, I find that it consumes the vast majority of my time these days.  It is rare that I get to sit and knit something that I will keep.

I'm not sure when that shift occurred, I'm not even really sure why, yet, there it is.

It's starting to get exhausting and to mess with my knitting mojo, just a little.  There always seems to be an endless list of "must knit..." items, very few of which can be crossed off.

Is this a problem for other out there?  Do you have a hard time saying no when someone asks for something?

Will the madness ever stop?


  1. It sounds like you are at much the same place as me! :) I love knitting for others, but lately, I've really wanted to knit for myself. So that when I accomplish something, I can enjoy it - every day if I want to!

    I haven't had many people ask me to knit for them, but a lot of my knitting is dedicated to gifts.

    I think it's something every knitter comes across and has to decide how they want to balance it! :) Good luck with any selfish knitting you do! :)

  2. I have started always having a project that is for others and one for me on the needles at once. This gives me a brake from one project to work on another but people don´t usually ask me to knit something for them. It´s usually me that is knitting for others because I love seeing my creations in use. And now that I have 2 little boys I even though I am knitting for them I do feel like I´m knitting for myself.

  3. What a great post! I have often thought I was the only one made to feel guilty for doing something productive. So many times I've been in waiting rooms knitting and others have given disapproving looks, stares, etc.

    Or else they would tell me that they would love to have the luxury of time for knitting. While they sit there waiting next to me and doing nothing. Go figure.

    Now I just tell people what I believe- A creative outlet is a necessity for good health:)

  4. Great post! I totally agree. I always want to knit for my little family but it seems I'm always making something for someone else. Something I will never see again. I've recently made a goal to just knit for the three of us. Everyone else can just learn to knit for themselves!!

    Happy Birthday!