Comment from Shana, a really smart knitter friend of mine!
“I think many times knitting in public is perceived as unprofessional — I know that people (typically women) who knit at meetings, conferences, lectures, classes, are sometimes perceived by others as unfocused, not engaged with the meeting, not serious, etc., because they are doing a craft while everyone else is quietly paying attention to the meeting. (The idea that everyone else is paying attention is not true — most people these days play with their phones constantly, doodle, daydream). Anyway, I think that knitting in this situation brings up negative stereotypes of women and handicrafts, and old-fashioned doubts about women’s ability to be professionals. Maybe to some people, bringing knitting to professional places might almost be comparable to bringing your laundry to fold at a meeting.
Obviously I don’t agree with this perception, and I think that knitting can actually HELP me focus on lectures because I’m not tempted to check email or daydream, and am keeping my hands busy and not falling asleep. But this is not how it appears to others. It appears like you are not a true adult professional, like you’re just at that meeting for fun, not because you’re at work.
The really difficult thing for me personally is that despite the fact that I would love to knit at meetings etc., when I see students knitting in my classes or my colleagues knitting at professional lectures, sometimes I find myself disapproving of their behavior and wanting to police them! Sexism is sinister that way, and women often police each other.”
E here now…
When I see people knitting in meetings, I am totally jealous that they had the guts to do it, and I think that is why I have the same annoyed feelings, but I also think that it isn’t professional to bring your hobby to work meetings. I always have knitting in my bag, but just incase I end up waiting for someone at some point in the day. Also the occasional lunch break knitting is cool too.
I think my whole “are knitters perceived as lazy” question came from this thought: Everyone else on Saturdays and Sundays are out in the garden, mowing the lawn, exercizing, reading, doing house chores, and knitters and crafters choose to spend their time in a seated position working on a project. This leads to weight problems and really, I dont want to be an obese knitter. I have to work really hard on regulating my food and exercize and it’s only then that I am able to knit and not feel upset that I am not burning calories or being active. My brain is being active, but my body is not.
I think our country is made up of middle aged women and men who sit all day at a desk and have heavy midsections. I am really concerned about this.
Two weeks away from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival where two years ago, my mother, aunt, and I saw the heaviest people we have ever seen in one place, I am thinking a lot about this subject. I love the fact that there is a blog called Exercize Before Knitting because I think we all need to.