Having been a workshop tutor for more than 10 years I have – over the course of this time- met literally hundreds if not thousands of knitters and crocheters. I have attended workshops in a diverse array of locations; church halls, hotels, yarn store stock rooms, private sitting rooms and even a French Chateau. I have met doctors, teachers, housewives, architects – you name a profession – I’ve met someone who does it! Yet despite the differences in workshop location and attendees professions and backgrounds all the workshops I have ever done have shared some very common characteristics; namely that there is rarely a moment of quiet, I have never had a group who did not get on with each other and I have never left a workshop feeling deflated or disappointed by the outcome of my day (hopefully attendees feel the same way!).
A friend and I have a game and we have traditionally played it the night before weekend or residential workshops. It is especially effective when tutoring @ Holmfirth, the home of Rowan, as we can spot a lot of knitters in a relatively small area. To avoid detection as the billed workshop tutors we do not wear any knitwear ourselves and position ourselves in a prominent place – such as a café or bar – and decide when each new person enters the room or walks past us whether or not they are coming along to the workshop. We are rarely wrong because, of course, there are usually some major clues. I remember following a woman up an escalator at a John Lewis store and deciding that there could be no denying she was heading to the same place as me. She was wearing a hand knitted ‘farm scene’ sweater complete with little 3D knitted sheep and cows, she had a ‘granny square’ crochet shoulder bag, a garter stitch matching scarf and hat and a very large raffia bag bursting it’s seams with what I could only assume was knitting yarn and equipment. Other times the clues can be a little more subtle: the knitter or crocheter could be given away by the size of her bag, her chosen jewellery, her shoes or even the style of her hair!
It seems to me that knitters and crocheters fall into some definite categories. There are knitters who enjoy colourwork, others who like lace or cables, there are freeform knitters who ‘do their own thing’ and there are others who adore to rigorously follow patterns. I thought it would be a bit of fun to give you a few of my Knitting profiles, who knows, perhaps you are a definite member of one of my groups or perhaps you can identify at least a few elements of a stereotype within yourself.
The Technique Geek:
You have knitted for many years and fall into the 50+ age group and may well be called Janet or Mary. You adore colour work and knitting techniques and are unafraid to experiment. You love knitting reference books and readily soak up new methods. You are a whizz at Fairisle and Intarsia and have a flair for combining colours and patterns. You have a wardrobe full of Kaffe knits, although you are likely to also be a fan of Sasha Kagan and Brandon Mably. You have completed many complicated knits such as Kaffe’s ‘Foolish Virgins’ and produce hand knitted socks at an alarming speed, you are also a member of Debbie Abraham’s mystery blanket club. You have a stash of epic proportions which includes some of Rowan’s most beautiful yarns from over the years, such as Silk Stones, Kid Silk and Scottish tweed. Your favourite yarns include mohair, wool tweeds and variegated colourful yarns. Your current favourite is Kaffe’s Colourscape. You love surfing the net for knitting patterns and enjoy reading blogs, you also belong to online chat groups.
You have an artistic flair with fashion and love silver and beaded jewellery, unusual shoes and expensive accessories.
Style icons: Rosita Missoni & Judi Dench
The Perfect Purler:
You were taught to knit by your mother or grandmother and knitting has always been part of your every day life. You are aged between 30 and 50. You love your home and all things to do with family life and own either a Labrador or a Scottish terrier. You have a tidy house and you are very organised and methodical, even your stash is orderly and systematic.
You strive for perfection in all your finished projects and derive great satisfaction from knowing that you have used the best techniques. Your favourite designers are Kim Hargreaves and Amanda Crawford. You love precise detailing and fitted garments, you are petite and have a tendancy to wear light to mid colour tones such as cream, grey, brown and icy pastels, you don’t wear anything too glitzy and you like small intricate (non fussy) pieces of jewellery. You love to shop at Habitat and Ikea and your style icons are Keira Knightly and Princess Grace.
The Hip Knitter:
The legendary ‘yummy mummy’ and ‘domestic goddess’ unite to produce this hybrid knitter. You are relatively young and have taken a career break to look after your small children. You love home baking, sewing and gardening and regularly meet with friends to drink coffee and chat in Starbucks. You knit in the evening after the kids are wrapped up in bed with a glass of cold Pinot Grigio by your side. You like to knit baby things and garments for the children and perhaps the odd thing for yourself. Your favourite designers are Erica Knight & Debbie Bliss. You tend to knit plain uncomplicated things and love garter and moss stitch. You are bang up to date with all the latest fashions, you like to dress in labels such as Mango, Fenn Wright & Mason and Monsoon and your style icons are Sarah Jessica Parker and Emma Bunton.
The Stitch Sister:
This knitter loves anything a bit ‘off the wall’ and you will turn your hand to knitting absolutely anything, the more unusual the better. You like to attend workshops and love to push the boundaries of your knitting ability and are happy to cut, felt, embroider or deconstruct your knitting in some way. You are not a perfectionist, but enjoy a more organic knitting process. For you the creation of an item is as satisfying as the finished result. You relish your stitches and have no problem with ripping back or even discarding projects that are not working for you. You have a mammoth stash that spills from behind the sofa, but it doesn’t bother you as you feel comfortable amongst clutter and often verge on the edge of chaos. You like to knit accessories and often choose space dyed or sparkly yarns to produce your projects. You have a slightly ‘hippie’ style and enjoy mixing vintage and new fashion to create an eclectic look. Your style icons are Kate Hudson and Kate Moss.
(Just so that you know I think I am a cross between the ‘Technique Geek’ and the ‘Stitch Sister’)