The descent into knitting


Today Fidgety Knitter presents our first guest post. Fidgety Husband wanted to offer tips for the partners of knitters. But really, these are probably good tips for any crafter’s mate. Enjoy and let me know what you think (or if you have other tips) in the comments!

Many of you knitting partners out there may well remember some part of the beginning, just as I do. Even though I can’t remember where my wife and I were or what we were doing, I very well remember the conversation, even though it didn’t seem like much at the time. Yours, like mine, was probably innocuous—the kind of thing that I might typically just nod and agree to simply because it was coming from my wife. And I didn’t give it much thought at all.

“I think I want to try knitting,” she said. It came and went, just like that. Just seven words.

There are those of us who now know that the simple statement above is akin to hearing an otherwise upstanding youth say “I think I’ll try meth. It seems fun!” Still, when my wife indicated her interest in trying knitting, I responded positively, trying to be supportive. But deep down, maybe I believed that this was another one of those fads that comes and goes through my wife’s mind like changing towel colors in the bathroom, having fondue parties, eating more vegetables or doing Zumba, so I didn’t need to give it much thought.

The real problem is that no one prepares us as partners for when our mates take up the craft and really become hooked. While it would be nice to get some sort of pamphlet to guide us (maybe titled “So Your Partner Is a Knitter Now”)  after the first purchase at the yarn store, the reality often feels closer to a dark brochure like “So Your Partner Joined a Really Expensive and All-Consuming Cult! Good luck with that.“ As soon as the first ball of yarn or set of needles are purchased, everything you have come to accept as your normal married life will change.

Alas, now, so many years on, I pass on to my un-knitted brethren the wisdom that I have collected over time. Here, brothers and sisters, is your handbook…What you may come to expect:

  1. Obviously, there will be considerable financial impact. Regardless of the project, your partner will inevitably say that different needles and other contraptions are required in addition to the several hundred miles of yarn that will go into the average 5×5 inch potholder. Ultimately, you must give in, because you will realize that you cannot ever argue against the pattern, since you have no way of translating the information in the pattern because all knitting patterns are written in some obscure code like an enigma cypher. Or Sanskrit. Or French.

1a.  It is important to remember that especially when it comes to yarn, there is no unreasonable cost for a length of the stuff. Some projects can call for a cheap man-made fiber that is purely utilitarian. And machine washable. Some projects, though, absolutely forbid the use of anything lower quality than pure silk delivered by angels from God himself. And how do you know the difference? Yes, that’s right: it’s in the code in the pattern.

  1. Henceforth, there will not be any room in your house, apartment, condo, mobile home or yurt that does not have at least one ball, skein or remnant of yarn. This may seem like it’s a problem. And it probably would be, for normal people.
  2. Your partner’s attention will become distracted. Her concentration is now given over entirely to counting stitches and rows and decoding the pattern, so there is no longer room to pay attention to conversations with you, feeding the kids, sleeping, wearing matching shoes, or whether or not she’s kissed you today. The good news is that at the start of many projects, you can probably easily introduce that idea of buying the 60” TV for the family room. But otherwise, anything important must wait for other times when she isn’t knitting: like when she’s in the bathroom, washing dishes, or possibly at the theatre. If your knitter is a big fan of TV shows, then you might as well forget about having any meaningful conversations until laundry day or a power outage. Just remember though, she still loves you, but you’ll never get her back as she once was. Just be glad she isn’t doing drugs. Or bikers. God help you if she starts knitting for a Hell’s Angels gang, though.

3a.  And yet, as a smart knitting mate, you must feed the beast or else your knitter will become discontented. Withholding opportunities to buy yarn is valid grounds for divorce in 27 states and several eastern European nations. So go with your partner to yarn stores. Walk through the Craft Building at the State Fair with him. Show him you love him in spite of and his addiction hobby. Purchase something knitting related for every gift-giving occasion. Don’t complain: it’s cheaper than jewelry and probably will be better appreciated. And you’ll probably get socks or a hat out of the deal at some point.

  1. Accept that there will, at any moment, be a minimum of eight projects underway and in various stages of completion or tear down, and these will be scattered around your home with the yarn stash. There are a million reasons for each of them to be in the state they’re in, but it’s a mystery (again, code…pattern, probably).
  2. The Ravelry website is kind of like the secret society inside Scientology. It is the source of patterns (again…code…sigh…) and is an online place where the cult uses its community to further brainwash its followers. From there, groups form to meet and knit in the real world. Which means free time for you and your new 60” TV.

There’s your guide, new knitting partners. Welcome to the cult of knitting and your role as enabler and victim. Enjoy your TV.

Sometimes I put down my knitting to hang out with Fidgety Husband. Look at how adorable he is!

25 thoughts on “The descent into knitting”

  1. You should see the nodding going on over here. Hubby says that he has learned when to ask questions or talk and when not to. It might have something to do with my answers being along the lines of 23,24, Thanks for breaking it down for novice spouses!

  2. Yes, Fidgety Husband hit on a winner. Produce a pamphlet – sell that puppy. This information is IMPORTANT (well, maybe for the “Partners”, not so much for knitters). Anyway, I think Fidgety Husband may have found a second calling.

  3. Husband Does Not Hold The Purse Strings

    “And yet, as a smart knitting mate, you must feed the beast or else your knitter will become discontented. Withholding opportunities to buy yarn is valid grounds for divorce in 27 states and several eastern European nations.”

    Kind of puzzled by the implication here that a woman has to ask her husband for money to buy yarn, or that he has some ability to withhold opportunities to buy yarn. I have my own money that I earned in my grown-up job and I will do what I please with it, thanks.

    1. Of course I don’t need my husband’s permission to buy yarn and can go where I please. He would never expect me to (and I would never be that compliant). I also haven’t given up, “feeding the kids, sleeping [or] wearing matching shoes.” This post is simply trying to be funny by using stereotypes that exaggerate situations.

      We have a partnership that does, however, include discussions on money we have both earned and individual spending that may affect our household budget and planning. We are also a one car family, so sometimes I need to ask if I can use the car or if he minds making stops while we’re running errands. And sometimes, when we’re on vacation, I do insist we visit local yarns shops so I can purchase souvenir yarn. Does he enjoy it? No. But as a partner in our relationship, he will gladly oblige.

      1. The way you explained it the way I took it while reading, since I am one of the people that tracks down yarn stores in places we’re vacationing and drags my husband along. I appreciated the varied gendered and relationship status language throughout.

  4. I thought I was the only one! Great write up. Aside from the yarn everywhere, there are definite advantages, like you said, like watching movies, and getting an equal amount of hobby funds whenever she wants to make a major purchase! 🙂

  5. Hey Fidgety Husband, a little advice from a man in the same boat as you. Seriously think about upping your insurance (homeowner/rental/condo). After review my wife’s stash and knitting tools ( a 2 day project ) I upped mine by $10k.

  6. I gave up trying to understand knitting, or the code for that matter in an attempt to try to better communicate with my wife. So… I joined her instead, and though I couldn’t knit a knot if it took me a year, I do love playing with wood and so now I make things called drop spindles, looms of varying sizes because apparently one size will never fit all, I fix spinning wheels, make needles for weaving and a comb and hackle i think she called it… looked like items used for torture to be honest… i thought my time as a husband was up, and that’s just so far, she has started to make a 3 page request for possible items I could create but she does speak to me now which is exciting and when I mentioned I would drive her to an alpaca farm 1 hr away she allowed me to speak to her on the drive and she seemed awfully excited , I like to think she was at least a little excited to hear what I had to say along the way. Wish me luck! And thank you for the pamphlet !!!

  7. Fidgety Husband- you have only descended to the first level of fiber madness. Knitting is a gateway drug to spinning and sheep ownership. You have been warned. 🙂

  8. This was so right on. Let my husband read it and all I saw was little smiles as he progressed. He was wondering if Fidgety Husband would share his phone number or maybe start a support group.

  9. Make this into that flyer/folder and as a public service, encourage yarn shops to put one in every knit novice’s bag a t cash register!

  10. One topic fidgety husband did not cover the transformation that occurs to knitters when things go wrong. A friend told me her child was on a flight home, heard someone cursing up and down and said “mom, I looked around to see who was knitting.” My husband’s imitation of a knitter is “knit, knit, knit, *%$#.

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