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Knitting excuses decoded

When people find out what I do, I get a lot of vacant stares, faux seizures, and mad dashes for the fire escape.

As it turns out, yarn is really boring if you're not a knitter.

I feel like saying, "I'm a fun person! Just get to know me!" But they are too busy being revived by EMTs to pay me any mind.


Have you ever tried to show someone who was not a knitter your latest stash acquisition, the one you've been petting and ogling all day, only to have them give you a halfhearted, "That's nice."

My husband used to be that person, until I trained him better.

I said, "Honey, when I show you some yarn, here's what I want you to say:

'WOW! That is spectacular! Those color combinations are amazing! Is it soft? Oh my goodness, yes! It is really soft! WOW! I am highly impressed!'"


He deserves an award for putting up with me, he really does.

Do people ever see you knitting and proffer excuses about why they are not currently, at that very moment, churning out a 3X cabled sweater for Uncle Ivar?

I hear things like:

1. My grandma taught me when I was a kid, but I was bad at it/haven't done it since then.

But what they're actually saying is: I tried it and failed. That makes me uncomfortable. I'll stick with microwaving popcorn.

2. I am not good with my hands.

What they're actually saying is: I am intimidated by how fast and easily other people knit. Does it look like I have magic hands?

3. I don't like all that counting.

What they're actually saying is: I had a mean math teacher in school who made me forever question my ability to do anything with numbers. Numbers try to steal my soul while I'm sleeping.

4. I would love to learn to do that when my kids are bigger.

What they're actually saying is: I am too overwhelmed with my life right now to think about one more thing. Why do these children want to eat dinner day after blessed day?

5. I tried making _________, and it didn't turn out/was too small/too large/full of holes.

What they're actually saying is: I don't understand the fundamental principles of knitting. I'm not the kind of person who asks for driving directions or reads the instructions before assembling the 650 piece IKEA bookcase.

6. Whenever I try to knit, it takes me forever to make one inch.

What they're actually saying is: I have serious perfectionism issues. Can you recommend a self help book?

7. I tried to knit a scarf, but had to keep starting over because I made mistakes.

What they're actually saying is: I really need someone to sit next to me the entire time I'm knitting. In fact, why don't you just knit this for me?

8. I always think that I'll learn to knit when I'm retired.

What they're actually saying is: knitting is for senior citizens, and I never want to be one of those. I'm going to stay forever young.


What kind of reasons for not knitting have you heard? I should add them to my decoder cheat sheet!


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Reader Comments (16)

I hear "I don' have the patience for knitting" all the time. Im the least patient person I know. Im unemployed. I sit on my sofa infront of the TV. Id have gone mad by now without my knitting.

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole (FairyofYarn)

I hear, "I don't have the patience for that," ALL the time. Seriously, I am the most impatient person on the planet! That's why I mostly make socks and fingerless mitts, because they're quick and I don't have to pay attention!

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

"But what they're actually saying is: I tried it and failed. That makes me uncomfortable. I'll stick with microwaving popcorn." BWAHAHAHAHA! That's hysterical! Unfortunately, I DO burn microwave popcorn. I'll stick to knitting :)

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy K.

My mother said when someone tried to teach her to knit, the stitches kept falling off the other end of the needle! I told her #1 they probably gave her dp needles and #2 she needed a better teacher.

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathyS

"I wish I could knit..." = I wish I could do a lot of things, but I'm unwilling to invest the time in learning.

"I'm too old to learn new things" = Learning is for young people, and I've given up on changing and growing.

"My mother/grandmother/aunt/sister knits." = I like what you are doing there, but I wouldn't ever want to knit because it's a girl thing.

"My grandfather/uncle/brother knit during the war." = I admire what you do. I admired that man in my life and I respect knitting as a craft.

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Crowley

How about "I don't have time for that". But then steer the conversation towards television shows, and they'll tell you about their 10 favorite series. Tv time = knitting time for me....the only difference between them and me is that when I get done watching the show, I also have the satisfaction of having done something productive while I sat on my tush!

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

OK, I'll admit to having used this "excuse" myself: "OH GOD THERE ARE TWO POINTY STICKS." That being said, I love crocheting. Coordination isn't my strong suit on a good day (it's a minor miracle I can type, really), and I'd like to feel more comfortable with using one stick before moving on to two. I plan to! Just Or tomorrow. Next year isn't looking good, either.


April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I, too, hear the "lack of patience" excuse, and I think it really means, "I like the product but how can you stand to make loop after loop like that? Ick!"

And I laugh at the "I don't have time" one, too. I work 3 jobs and keep house AND knit. It is what you choose to have time for. It is OK to choose not to knit. If you knit, you are not doing something else. That is OK, too. Just don't condescend to me as one of those "too much time on their hands" people. I work 70 hours a week.

I also hear, "It looks hard". I asked one person if they could tie a knot. They looked startled and said yes. I said, "good. You could knit. You just would have to practice.". What they mean by "it looks hard" is, "I might have to practice a bit to get used to it, and I don't want to". Which is also just fine!

One of my ongoing struggles with all these comments is that they often get said with either a helpless tone or a condescending tone. I don't understand either one!!

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodyO

My MIL said aloud to the room in general while I was knitting: "You know, I just never found any interest in learning to knit." I thought in my head that was pretty much saying " I cannot undertand why you would bother doing that. It's useless." She paints. At least people can wear my artwork.

People tell me all the time they don't have the time. I find time to knit with twin 11 month olds running around my house. You just don't want to find the time to do it. And that's fine. You can choose your own hobbies. I try to ignore any insinuatons that my housework or parenting are lacking becuase I am instead knitting.

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan in Texas

I always take my knitting to my daughter's volleyball tournaments because there is a LOT of sitting around on these days. They will play a game and then sit out the next one or two, so I have plenty of time to knit even if I don't knit a stitch while her team is actually playing. That's why it cracked me up when the mom sitting next to me said that she used to knit but gave it up because she never had the time -- as she sat there doing absolutely nothing while waiting for our next turn to play.

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJody

9. I would love to knit but I just don't have that kind of time.
- So how do you occupy yourself while waiting at the doctor's/to pick up kids/at sporting events/watching tv?
10. I would rather just buy something than take all that time to make it.
- I don't make my own jeans or boots, I prefer to buy those. Not everything has to be hand knit, but it's nice to appreciate what is.
11. I just can't sit still.
- Me either, that's why I knit.

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

The patience remark is something I hear all the time too, I've always wondered what patience has to do with it. My dear brother in law thinks my craft is a "waste of time" and says so every time he sees me with a hook or needles and yarn in my hands. After all video games are so much more productive! He will never ever be the recipient of a hand knit anything I create.

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

I love all of these responses and can relate to them all! Thank you so much for asking the question.

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNan

"I'll stick with microwaving popcorn."

That is so great! Thanks for the laughs today!

"I don't have the time." Sure you do. Don't you have all those little odd minutes where you're waiting for something? Or a few minutes on your lunch or coffee breaks? Occupy those empty minutes with knitting! "I don't have the patience." Knitting taught me patience. I didn't need it to start.

April 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathryn

This coat is very elegant, very beautiful

July 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbaby-clothing

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