Knot Watt Ewe Think

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The Elusive “er”

Posted by Miss Knotty on September 26, 2010

I do a lot of crafts. I would go so far as to say that I am, in general, a Crafter. I knit, crochet, spin, and know how to weave. I also know how to bead, but I don’t do it very much. I’m capable with a sewing machine, although I would not say that I am good at sewing, by any stretch. But I knit. I knit almost daily and know a fair bit about knitting. I have made garments and shawls, socks, hats, blankets, toys, mitts… the list goes on. I consider myself to be a Knitter, capital K, ending with -er. I know some people who know how to knit, but (in my arrogance, I suppose), I don’t consider them to be knitters*. These are people who know the rudiments, or at least some of the rudiments, and start, but never finish things. They cast on, knit a few rows, lose interest, put it down and pick it back up again when they don’t have anything else more interesting (to them), to do instead. I suppose it’s the same difference between someone who plays games, and a gamer. At what point do you gain the ‘-er’? In knitting, crafts and games, in addition to any number of other professional and non-professional statii, is it meant to imply a certain level of know-how, a seriousness (even in craft and gaming) beyond casual knowledge? Does it come with time, education and practice, like a lawyer (snerk), or does only picking up the pointy sticks and knitting a row once in a blue moon to prove you know how to knit a row imbue one who knits with the elusive ‘-er’?

To me, it’s about seriousness, time invested, devotion to and education in craft. Knitting, to me, is fascinating. The fact that a pair of stitches, knit and purl, can make things like wearable, classic garments, and whimsical things like, say, angel wings, knitted flowers, lacy borders and trims, baby clothes, warm balaclavas and even felt! kind of blows my mind. I think about knitting a lot, too: I consider changing knitting gauge and substituting yarns, resizing patterns, changing color schemes for stranded projects, or even just making a simple washcloth, to try and learn a technique that hasn’t clicked in my mind yet. Once it clicks, I think about ways to use the technique in other things, where it might be practical, where it absolutely WOULDN’T be practical. I have random thoughts in the middle of the afternoon about my stash, about what I could use x or y yarn for, or how I might use them together to good effect in a pattern that I want to make. I peruse knitting publications, shop online and in local yarn shops (I find shops in cities where I’m vacationing and visit those too, and buy yarn and knitting paraphernalia as souvenirs), and I’m in my local knitting guild and spend time learning techniques and furthering my knitting skills. Heck, if I devoted as much time to professional development as I devote to knitting, I would probably be a much higher wage-earner than I am right now. (But I don’t know whether I would be as happy – I love knitting.)

I learned (well, re-learned) how to tat this weekend, but I would by no means consider myself a tatter – because I picked it up to learn as a lark, and I probably won’t do much with it, beyond knowing how to do it and feeling an ironic pride at the ability to do a handcraft that is making its way into the annals of history, since so few people are still competent practitioners of the craft (and let’s face it, many handcrafts are going the way of the dodo, whether we want them to or not, due to lack of practitioners and/or interest in the craft).

But I would certainly consider myself a knitter, because I’ve been doing it for 5 years now, almost daily, I have myriad tools of the craft, I spend time and money increasing my tools and stash, I spend time and money learning more about the craft, I read magazines, blogs and mainstream articles about the craft, and I participate in forums related to the craft.

So when do you give someone an ‘-er’? Is it when they can hold the needles and yarn and make stitches on their own? Is it when they finish a project? Several projects? Is it merely a devotion to the craft, whether they ever finish anything? Is it education or desire?

*This is a generality and I’m not speaking about any one person in particular.

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2 Responses to “The Elusive “er””

  1. […] here: The Elusive “er” « Knot Watt Ewe Think ← The Secret to Patchwork Quilting for the Beginner Verena Knitting Instructions: Knit […]

  2. Amanda said

    We call everyone “knitter” simply because it’s fewer syllables than “someone learning to knit”. However- I have several definitions of “knitter” in my mental dictionary: a.) Someone who knits. – This is the basic rudimentary knowing how to make a knit and a purl. b.) Someone who follows a pattern to create a knitted item. – self explanatory. c.) someone who creates knitted pieces to a desired result. – Following a pattern is still “allowed” by this definition, but the requirement is that they are able to comprehend what their knitting is going to become and change the results to their specific desires. Changing the length of a sleeve or hem, or changing an armhole depth. This is the lowest level in which someone would be a Knitter with a capital K. A Knitter, with emphasis on the -er, would be someone who does all of the above without having to seek assistance in these matters. A higher skill level starts blurring with the “designer” category, but they are still Knitters.

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