The inspiration for this actually came from the Rav forums. It was another of those ubiquitous “what are your unpopular opinions?” threads, where people post generally-harmless-but-not-really-that-unusual musings on the craft. (Hint: liking, or hating magic loop, dpns, wool, synthetics, socks, sweaters, purling, or any other common knit-related tool or technique, isn’t really that unusual. A thread about truly unpopular opinions would be things like “I love steeking” and “cats are pointless.” It would also probably go nowhere (except maybe to Flametown, at least with the latter).

One user posted “I roll my eyes at these ‘I don’t understand the fuss about ________’ threads.” I generally agree. I mean, I can pontificate aimlessly for hours about things I enjoy, but I don’t see the need to think much about the things I don’t. I’m not going to start a thread about how I don’t see how anyone can stand using dpns, or why anyone would knit a circular shawl, or… well, I was going to say cuff-down socks, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about that out of necessity, since I knit a lot of socks but I prefer toe-up and most patterns are backwards to me. But converting and re-charting patterns just saps the rant right out of me.

There are a lot of discussions like that, though. “What’s the point of shawls?” It would be one thing if it were people who are genuinely flummoxed at the concept, although they tend to come at it more diplomatically. (“Why do you like to knit shawls?”) I still think it’s a strange concept, though. I’m a little cynical, so I tend to believe that logic is usually a broken tool when trying to get someone to understand your viewpoint. Either you like it or you don’t, and you’re not going to go from “I’d never knit a shawl” to “well, lace is pretty, I’ll cast one one tonight!” because someone laid out some bullet points. (Especially when the process involves the onerous task of blocking.)

The thing is, the “I don’t get” quip applies just as well to the entire craft as it does to any of its subsets, as it does to crochet, weaving, spinning, or any other niche activity. You don’t get why I stash? I don’t get why you care. Either you do or you don’t. If you do, you don’t need to justify it to yourself. (Unless it’s a financial thing, in which case if you have to make excuses, you might need to adjust your priorities.) If you don’t, then accept the wonderful adage “to each their own.” Live and let live, and instead of asking “why do you do this thing I think is unusual,” ask yourself “why do I give a crap that someone is doing something that I think is unusual.” Which obviously is more applicable to a mundane thing like Continental knitting than, say, having a picnic in the median of the Interstate (for which there is a perfectly good reason, if you must know: the sign told me to stay off it).

People like different things. I don’t get comic books and I think they’re for children. But what the hell does it bother me if someone wants to spend their pocket money on Batman? Politics makes me want to pull out my eyes something like 97% of the time I try and discuss it, but my husband eats it up. More power to him. Whatever makes you happy, people.

The caveat, of course, is that you’re not hurting anyone else. That’s one reason I get so riled up about couponers, and I can’t sign off on what they do with a shrug and a “mombies will be mombies!” When I, or any other average shopper can’t get a deal because you bought 100 coupons on ebay, parked outside the grocery store an hour before opening, and loaded up your cart with dozens of whatever the Amazeballs Coupon Deal was, so that none of the rest of us can get any, that’s just rude. And that’s ignoring the fact that you are just going to add it to your storage bunker, or turn around and donate it to a charity and write off the full value on your taxes.

I’m no Pollyanna, but the negativity in discussions like this can’t be good at fostering a healthy learning environment. A beginner seeing 20 agrees on a post about how awful this tool is, or how terrifying that technique is, only contributes to the obnoxious idea that there is something scary about knitting.

There is nothing scary about knitting. Unless someone is about to poke a needle into your squishy bits.

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