1974 - My First Knit in Public

I thought you all might get a kick out of this photograph.

This is me, in the fourth grade, participating in a knitting “mini-course”. Our school, located in Nunn, Colorado, a small farm town in the middle of nowhere in northeastern Colorado, had a mini-course program where the students could choose from a variety of subjects, like auto repair, gymnastics, sewing, etc. Of course, I chose knitting. I already knew how to knit, as a neighbor had taught me a couple of years earlier, but I decided to take the course to get some help with a vest I was making. Can you see the cable needle in my hand? The yarn was an awful Kelly green acrylic. Anyway, a reporter from the Greeley Tribune decided to do a story on this small school and the mini-course program – and I ended up having a photo published in the newspaper. Since the school was located in a conservative farming community, you can imagine the crap that I received after the story was published. A boy who KNITS! And my father, who didn’t like it when he saw me knitting at home, was MORTIFIED when this photo of his sissy son knitting was in the newspaper– now, everyone knew this dirty little secret! Unfortunately, I gave up knitting shortly after this photo was taken. I just couldn’t deal with the comments. I didn’t pick up my needles again until I was about 40 years old. But now, I don’t care what people say about my knitting!

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robstrauss's picture

Thanks for the story. I certainly hope that little boys today are not similarly humiliated or worse. I'm always amazed at how such well-intentioned and "good" people can be so cruel.

PhilNmtl's picture

What a cute kid you were. Lord, how much time and how much therapy just to get back to who were, and claim who we are now.
Congrats on now being at a place where you can celebrate your knitting with others. - Phil

2manyhobbies's picture

I didn't start knitting until much later, but I crocheted from an early age because my diabled grandmother who lived with my family had taught me, and I had spent a lot of time sitting on her bed either crocheting with her or helping her piece for a quilt. I remember making crocheted scarves one year at Christmas for most of the family and some of the ladies at church.

I already had so many things about me that made me odd for my conservative, rural Ohio community - I was very fat, a geek (I had the first computer, a TRS-80, in the little town I grew up in) who played Dungeons & Dragons, and completely uninterested in competitive sports. So I guess crocheting didn't up the ante all that much.

rjcb3's picture

I had the first computer, too!!! How do'y'like that...it was also a TRS-80! I would make WAY too much use of the IF...THEN statements and program D&D (the original three hard-cover books where a person still had to use his imagination!) OR the old Twist-a-Plot books. Grama and Grampa didn't care much for the subject matter, but, as long as I was learning something...

...then I started programming important stuff...like knitting conversions and such.


2manyhobbies's picture

Cool! - wish you would have gone to my High School - we could have formed the knitting, computer, D&D geek clique (consisting of 2 people :). I never combined my compter obcession with crocheting though. (I did, however, sell a name & address database program I wrote for the VIC-20 to my local Elementary school when I was in 9th grade ... I didn't like the VIC-20, but it was all they had at the school).

On the subject of computers and knitting, I got the "Sweater Wizard 3.0" software for Christmas this year, and I've been playing around with it. I really like it - I'm working on a kind of unusual sweater right now that I used the program to come up with the basic pattern for. It saved a lot of work with graph paper and calculator. Anyone else using this program?

rjcb3's picture

VERY cute picture!!!

Look at that haircut...and the vested t-shirt! :) The girl next to you reminds me of my cousin, when we were all that young.

...and look at that piece that was on your needles!!! WOW! Needless to say, you were obviously blowing that chick out of the water!

I was only a year old.

'MOST glad, though, to know you've picked up the needles again. I guess I was luckier than most besides the fact that my family had a shop and I was allowed to sit behind the counter and knit, but, also, at school, when we had our "hobby" day (I abhor that term when applied to knitting) at school I would bring in my knitting and actually sit there and knit. It was a small Catholic school with only one class per grade, so, of course, if any of the classes were doing something, the entire little school would come 'round to see. So, while we all had our desks poised for showing off, I would have, perhaps a few of my stamps from my collection and a couple of other trinkets, but, most importantly was my skein of yarn and my size 5 needles and just a plain swatch so that the other kids could see it being done.

Nowadays it's called "art" and so, boys (with parents of a certain age) are "allowed" to knit.


rc_in_sd's picture

You explained that you already had a sweater in progress but the picture cracked me up because without knowing that, it looks like you were half way through a sweater while your companion was concentrating very hard on casting on.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

By that year, I was a year out of high school and finally knitting in public also. At least, on a regular basis. I learned several years previously but was lucky enough not to suffer the 'slings and arrows' of negative comments. Glad you came back to our glorious obsession. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

MathewGnagy's picture

It is so sad that things were that way for you....about 7 years after your photo was taken, I learned to knit in a small university town in Kansas...I suffered similar humiliation, my response was to just practice and practice and get really, really good....they all seemed to shut up when they realized that i could out-knit their grandmas!

I remember hating those ignorant fools who couldn't understand. I remember how I cried when the bullies had done their worst....

I got lucky though...my family was super supportive.

Freakin bullies....Boo

Take light into dark places

Take light into dark places

grandcarriage's picture

I remember mortifying my father, when, in Webelos (between cub and boy scouts) I asked if there was a crocheting merit badge. I had the benefit, once I hit puberty, of being a big guy from all the farm work around the horses that I did. It's kind of stupid to tease a 6'1" guy who weighs 230#, is built like a barn, and has sharp objects in his hand. My folks have already been very supportive.

grandcarriage's picture

Did you grow those muscles as armor against the bullies or what? You hardly look like a 98 pound weakling in your pictures.