Knitty negativity and the community spirit...
Living in London can sometimes be a joy, sometimes not, but I'm lucky in that my journey to work in the morning is just a short 20 minutes bus ride. Since we moved to south London four years ago we rarely take the Tube anywhere and it's very possible it's saved my sanity. I used to travel in from Leyton on the central line and may have exploded if I'd still been doing that. One of the things that makes commuting so much more bearable though is knitting for the journey. There's been a few posts on the Ravelry forums recently about public reaction to commuter knitting, and also reaction from other knitters.
I think it's fair to say that there's a small element of pride or even exhibitionism in most of us, and I know sometimes when I get my pins out on the bus I enjoy the staring. Other times, though, especially now I'm struggling with my first DPN project, I'm so in the zone that I barely notice anyone. Sometimes it's harder to concentrate than others - this morning I was sitting in front of two blonde girls, and I hate to perpetuate the stereotype but, blimey, could they talk - about everything, especially their boyfriends, one of whom, appropriately, was called Ken. I ain't kidding.
Anyways, there was a post on the Ravelry forum recently about a fellow knitter who spotted another knitter on their train and found a seat opposite. When they got their knitting out they expected some kind of reaction - but nothing, not even a little smile, or a Freemason-like secret sign that they were both crafting together on the packed train. It raised the question - just because we knit, does it mean we're going to like other knitters. At first I'd have said it does - since we started the knitting group hundreds of people have turned up in a central London pub, on their own, settled down and joined in. One of the things that makes the group so accessible is that (apart form being a friendly bunch in the first place!) you know that you'll have at least one thing in common with the others there. Going into a pub on your own is hard enough but knowing there'll be a common thread (no pun intended) is always a good start. But should we really expect everyone to get on?
I remember saying many times, I've never met a knitter who wasn't nice, but it's not true, sadly. People drawn to the same activities are very likely to have other things in common and get on with one another but I guess it shouldn't be taking for granted - we've had such great times and can now count the majority of our close friends as people we've met through I Knit London, but still, every now and then, we smack into a wall of negativity from someone who knits. Why? I suppose you can't get on with everyone, and despite what we do there's always the pessimists who don't believe in altruism or good-naturedness. On the whole the knitters we meet are all lovely, and long may it continue, but if you do find yourself in a situation where a fellow stitcher doesn't seem as excited don't be too disheartened - it's a big wide world and our differences are just as important as the things that bind us together. Gerard and I are in a number of interesting minority groups but it doesn't mean we like everyone else in those groups too (except the knitters, of course....we love you all!)