Knit Till You Drop, and Then Knit Some More

:: Today is the last day of the SLA Conference in Toronto. It’s been interminably hot, and I’ve had four morning meetings in a row beginning at 0730, 0730, 0730 and 0700 hrs. I’ve had a good time, an exhausting time, it’s been great to see old friend, and make a few new ones. Anyway, I was leaving the final morning meeting an hour ago, and while walking towards the general conference meeting area, noticed a fellow conference attendee walking in the opposite direction towards me, apparently holding something in her hands. As I got closer, I realized that she was knitting while she was walking.

It’s bad enough that occasionally in sessions at library conferences, I notice the occasional audience member knitting, quietly adding to the staid, dowdy stereotype image of the librarian, that of loving only cats, books, and wool. But while they’re walking? Good grief. Can you say obsessed? Can you say addiction?

I have nothing against knitting (or cats or books for that matter.) Some of my dearest and best friends knit. My grandmother knitted me Christmas bells. But enough already! I’m sorry, but while attending and participating at a professional conference, knitting is inappropriate, and unprofessional.

That sound you hear is me banging my head against the desk in my hotel room.

3 Responses to “Knit Till You Drop, and Then Knit Some More”

  1. Oelker Says:

    Aww man, and here I was thinking of bringing my knitting today.

    Seriously: I don’t think it looks professional either, but I considered bringing it today because I’m so sick of sitting and it helps me keep from fidgeting. And I sat beside a knitter the other day and learned a new technique, which was nice, but perhaps not the point of the Technology Petting Zoo program.

    So I left my knitting at the hotel. With the dumplins.

  2. amanda Says:

    oh dear. the knitting-at-conferences discussion seems to come up every once in a while… I personally don’t have any problem with people knitting at sessions (I’ve had someone knit at a talk I gave and had no reaction to it whatsoever) and realize that some people have that certain cognitive thing where they absorb more while their hands are busy. But I certainly can see the other side of it too, especially the bit about it being disrespectful to the speaker (although the unprofessional thing is a bit of a stretch for me).

    But, now, the adding-to-the-staid-stereotype thing…! Well, Randy! Knitting is trendy now! It has been for a few years, thanks in large part to Deb Stoller, editor of Bust magazine & knitter extraordinaire!

    Cats, however, are a lost cause.

  3. randy Says:

    Well…perhaps I’m overreacting. Amanda, to be sure, I LOVE the stuff you knit, I am in awe of your abilities. And indeed knitting is popular, and it’s a skill I envy. Sarah, I imagine your stuff is top-notch too (but I haven’t seen any photos!)

    But consider this: is there any fundamental difference between me bringing a guitar to a session and playing it, while listening to the speaker, and someone bringing knitting? Or if I was an artist, bringing a sketchbook, etc etc etc? Of course, I’d be making a lot of noise and distracting others at the session (even if I played really, really quietly.) I guess I see it this way: when I attend a session, I try to do my best to give the presenters my full attention. It doesn’t work all the time, I’ll get distracted, or bored with a presenter or presentation at times. If I’m presenting and see someone knitting or playing a Gameboy or whatever, the message I’m getting is, “hey, I’m here for your presentation at least in body, what more do you want? Notetaking?”

    It’s like, I won’t bring my guitar, because it makes noise, but it’s acceptable to bringing knitting needles, because they don’t make any noise.

    Look, maybe I’m overreacting, and I so, I apologize. I love you guys and don’t want to alienate my knitting friends. Whatever. Call me cranky and tired…

    Meanwhile, I hope the two of you keep knitting and sewing up a storm, because it’s creative and interesting and rewarding and satisfying to do so. Plus, friends like me really admire your talents.

    Amanda, we SO missed you at SLA…

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