An Actual Conversation

Yesterday afternoon I was knitting on the subway, headed toward Rachel H’s house so that we could go up to the Aurora Guild and drink beer and eat butter tarts speak to the guild. (Good times.) I sat there, going round and round on a sock with four DPNs, and a woman and her son, maybe 7 or eight years old, got on and sat opposite me. The boy watched me for a little bit, and then turned to his mum and said

“What’s she doing?” The mum looks and me, then turns to him and says, quite confidently

“She’s crocheting”. I smile at the pair of them, and then I say to the little boy

“Actually, it’s knitting!”

…and the mum looks at me, quirks her eyebrow up, and says, in a haughty and reproachful voice:

“Excuse me… I think I know the difference.”

I was stunned. Stunned stupid. Stunned speechless (which actually happens more often to me than you would expect, considering how many speeches I give.) Who argues with the person actually doing a craft? Who does that?

I stared at her, trying really hard to figure out what to say… and I came up empty. I had nothing. Not a single word. (That’s a lie. I had a few things, but they were rude, or bordering on rude, or not particularly clever, like “Are you sure about that?” or “Nuh -uh” and I’m not the sort to be rude, or at least I’m the sort who tries to avoid it.) I sat there opening and closing my mouth like a goldfish.

Usually, when this sort of thing happens, I have a brilliant retort. Not then of course, I never have one then….but way later, maybe 3am, when I sit straight up in bed and think of a brilliant, but now entirely useless comeback. This time though, I’ve come up with nothing.

Any suggestions then, for a civil, clever comeback? What would you have said?

(Not that it’s ever going to come up again, I mean… Who says that?)

833 thoughts on “An Actual Conversation

  1. Some things are just better left unsaid. You should be pleased with your restraint and chalk the woman up to belonging to the unbelievably rude club.

  2. I think it’s for the best you didn’t say anything. If she was the type who cannot admit making a mistake, any answer would have resulted in an argument.

  3. No cure for that kind of rude. I love that–I mean, I’ve had the ‘that’s crochet’ mistake before, but never had someone correct me when I say I’m knitting.
    The sheer irony of this situation is delicious.

  4. Maybe you should have grabbed a crochet needle out of your bag and actually started crocheting? Then the little boy would have asked: “Mama, what’s she doing NOW?”

  5. There’s nothing to say …this person’s need to be right and in control all the tme is so HUGE, you’ll never penetrate it! Just pity the boy, because he’ll never be right either, and that’s a bummer way to grow up!

  6. Now I’m stunned. I crochet. I do not knit. But every single time I have been crocheting in public, (EVERY S-I-N-G-L-E TIME!!!!) a stranger has said to me “So what are you knitting?” in a sprightly voice. I always correct them. I never dreamt it would happen to you of all people, in reverse!

  7. Maybe you should have said, “You’re right, I’ve been doing this since was 4 years and I still get knitting and crocheting confused.”

  8. You could very politely say, “Do you crochet? Because if you do, you know that crochet uses one needle, whereas, I am using four.” Or, you could equally haughtily say, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM???”
    Or, “Ma’am, I’m afraid you are mistaken.” In any case, it seems to me that you are stuck in these must-be-polite situations from time to time, and that they paralyze you. It’s OK to be assertive! Especially about a subject about which you know so much!

  9. Carry one of your books with you at all times so you can coyly say “Perhaps you should contact my publisher and explain the difference” as you show them the dustjacket with your photo on it. Alternatively, you can ask her, “If it was a crochet hook, would I be able to poke your eye out like this?!”

  10. I personally like “things have changed in the last couple of years. The term has changed to knitting”

  11. Or how about “OH MY GOSH! You mean I’ve been doing this wrong ALL this time??!! All those poor misguided millions I’ve taught.”

  12. I’m afraid I would have said “Oh really. So what is the difference?” Then she would have actually had to explain it.

  13. I would have been speechless too, but now thanks to you, I will remember and be prepared. I plan to use the response I use with my kids when they get mouthy: “ecks-CUSE ME?” As in, ” I cannot believe that I heard you correctly, because that remark is NOT one that you would have made to me, should you value your life as we know it!” This is followed by a gasp and a dropped jaw, with a look of total shock. wonder what she would have said next?

  14. I’d say you should have whipped out a copy of any one of your books, but hey, they get bulky, and it’s way more important to have room to carry a sock or project. Methinks you need some snazzy cards made up. Then you could have just handed her a card & let *her* be speechless. =)

  15. In response to her comment, “Excuse me…I think I know the difference” I’m afraid I would have rudely replied, “Apparently not.”

  16. I pity the poor woman who is so insecure that she can’t be corrected in front of her son. But I would have said something like, “And I think I know which craft I am currently doing.” That is if I could have thought quickly enough!

  17. This has happened to me several times when people have seen me tatting. The insist its crochet and nothing else. I’m always surprised to when they sit there and argue with me, but you know, some people just gotta be right no matter what.
    Then its usually followed by, “Isn’t that an old lady craft?”
    Sometime you just have to feel sorry for them! LOL! 🙂

  18. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I wouldn’t have known what to say either. I’m still not sure. But I sure like the ideas of some of the other commenters!

  19. How about asking her to explain the difference between knitting and crocheting?
    So when she says: “Excuse me… I think I know the difference.” You, or anyone else finding themselves in this situation says: “Oh really! Do you care to explain to me what it is?”
    Muuuuhahahah

  20. “Oh, sorry to offend. What have you been crocheting recently?” Maybe by engaging her in conversation she will want to take a look at your sock and see that your “crochet hooks” look different.
    Besides, she’s going to go vent to a friend who will laugh at her and tell her she’s a loon for correcting someone who was doing exactly what they said they were doing.

  21. I would be like you and would not be able to think of anything to say on the spot.
    But something like: “Oh! I must have my terms confused. You know, I have been doing this since the age of 5 and for the last several years have done this every single day, but sometimes it’s so easy to forget whether I am knitting or crocheting.”
    I think it is crazy she tried to argue with the woman who actually had the needles in her hands!

  22. It wouldn’t have turned out well no matter what clever and pithy retort you offered. What is unsaid is often louder than what is said.
    Knit on, sister.

  23. I don’t think there can be a better response than the one you went with – silence and a polite smile… How can you communicate with someone who’s on the level she is??? It’s always been a pet peeve of mine when someone mistakes my knitting for crocheting, but I haven’t been offended by it, I just assume they’re trying to relateor something, so I just politely tell them it’s knitting. However – in case like this one, if someone were to actually CORRECT me, the crafter, about MY craft, I think I might get creatively violent with my needles and yarn. I’m proud of you for resisting participation in a petty reaction that so many other knitters such as myself might have had.

  24. I had a woman tell me that my great-aunt’s bedspread is NOT crochet. This woman knows knitting when she sees it. I didn’t have a snappy comeback to her other than yes, ma’m, it is crocheted. I still “lost” since she insisted she was correct.
    I’m not sure there is a response equal to the task.

  25. “Um, apparently you don’t. Or you’ve been misinformed.”
    And if it were one of my coworkers who made a stupid statement, we usually add “Dumbass” to the end of the retort. It’s quite effective. Yes we are a very supportive group.

  26. She…what? I understand that she might not have wanted to look stupid in front of her kid by being corrected, but holy cow. How do you argue with someone who is actually crafting right there in front of you?
    The fact that you write knitting books for a living makes it even funnier!

  27. I have no response wittier than the ones above, but I do think it’s a fun coincidence that I, too, got a comment about my sock + DPN knitting on the train this morning! A woman came up to me and said, “Are those DPN’s? I could just never get the hang of those…” She was very sweet, and was excited to see some DPN’s in action! 😀

  28. This is one of the “surrender” moments…when you have to bite it, because all is in vain…not that I am great at this but sometimes it is the only path….sort of guruish eh?

  29. You could have said, “Oh, so you crochet, too?” and she would have either lied to you or changed the subject.

  30. I am totally gobsmacked. I can’t think of anything you could have said to her that wouldn’t have been taken as rude, or actually been rude.
    This situation reminds me of my ex-brother-in-law, who was the same kind of person, the kind who has made up his mind, so don’t you go confusing him with facts.
    He once told his son, my nephew, “I’m right, even when I’m wrong, I’m right.”
    Sheesh, some people.

  31. Seriously, to get into an insult match in front of her son would be something he didn’t need. But I would have ignored her and said directly to him–“See? these are called needles and I knit the yarn into loops that make rows that make a sock. Isn’t that neat? Crocheting uses a hook instead of needles and does something similar.”

  32. I’ve got nothing. I am still gaping with my mouth open and shaking my head in disappointment.

  33. The urge to be right is so strong sometimes, it’s nearly inescapeable. You’re more circumspect than I am; I’m afraid I would have said “Oh, I BEG your pardon,” and sniffed down my suddenly Emily Post-like nose.

  34. I liked the one from Court “I wrote the book” That’s so great because guess what — you did!!! I love that. I want to hunt that lady down and tell her. I wish you would have gotten a picture. Can you get a picture next time and maybe you could tell her it’s so the rest of the knitting world can watch out for her. I’m dying here! Really! I have been reading all your past blogs and I was just going to comment today, and tell you how impressed I am by how kind you are. I don’t know when I’ve seen someone who exibits such kindness toward others, and then I read todays blog and there is this stupid, stupid woman and you are too kind to rap her on the head and tell her that she is too stupid to be away from her keeper. I believe there is a special place in Heaven for people like you. I believe that the day you were born God gave the rest of us a special blessing. Don’t you ever change.

  35. So you were the speaker for the Guild that day? Did she hang around long enough for the talk? Did you have to change the talk to one on crochet in the end?

  36. Oh my!!!! This is HILARIOUS!!!!
    I don’t have any suggestions for a witty come back since I am not that good with those and tend to just smile politely.

  37. Sorry, I would have been speechless too. You had the best of the exchange, she’s given you a priceless moment to treasure for ever. She’s given me a laugh too.

  38. i’m sorry, i’m still back somewhere in the middle of the story being stunned that she truly thought that anyone, sitting there skillfully executing a handcraft, would have no clue what craft it was they were actually doing. i mean really? are there shoemakers who think that they’re baking? i’m so confused!

  39. “F-you. I know what I’m doing, bee-yotch!”
    Doesn’t work if there are kids around.
    I probably would have said something meek like, “Well, knitting is with two or more needles, like this, and crocheting is with one hook.”

  40. Oh man.
    Likely I would have said something along the lines of “You do, do you? So, you’re the authority? Well thank heavens you’ve set me straight. I’ve only been doing this for X years and calling it knitting, not to mention all the other people I know world-wide who do it and call it knitting. Thank the gods I ran into you here on this bus so you could let me know.”

  41. Introducing yourself as the Yarn Harlot and suggesting she google your name would have made me giggle if I would have overhead the conversation.
    Sigh. Silly, silly people.
    Marilyn

  42. I find it’s a very useful habit, when confronted with a comment that would otherwise render you speechless (whether it’s someone who rudely doesn’t know the difference between knitting and crochet, or someone who makes a casually racist remark — and everything in between) to ask them a question. “Can you tell me more?” or “Why do you say that?” or “What makes you believe that?”, stated in a neutral tone, often leaves people flustered as they try to re-think their opinion on the spot. Occasionally this tactic can lead to a conversation with real depth, unlike most retorts.

  43. Not a lot I can add that already hasn’t been said, but I agree – the lady really didn’t want to be showed up wrong in front of her kid. Those are the people I just laugh and just nod or shake my head at, then move on. It’s not worth contributing to the argument, but you can blog or twitter it to the amusement of the entire interwebs. 😀

  44. Make it a teachable moment:
    “Actually, I’m not sure you do, because I’m knitting. If I was using a hook, I’d be crocheting.”
    Let the little boy learn that mom is not always right. Because clearly she will not ever admit to him that she was wrong about something.
    Seriously, where do people like that come from? And where do they get off telling you what you are doing?

  45. Noble silence sux.
    I would have probably said, “apparently not” (weak, but reflexive) but I think suburbancorresponent’s comment is the best. Esp. the sobbing part. I really liked that.

  46. You could point out that “crochet” is French for hook, and then invite her to inspect your needles, preferably while jammed in her eyesocket. But then I’m aggressive like that… 🙂

  47. Her: “Excuse me… I think I know the difference.”
    You: Excuse ME, I don’t think that you do.

  48. Lots of good responses. I personally go with Jennifer. It would have been interesting to see what happened if you actually started crocheting. People like that woman stun me into silence — that they seem to revel in their ignorance is mind numbing. Jo

  49. I would have been speechless, too. I am the type who can think up wonderfully clever replies, but only 10 minutes after the encounter. I’m too shy to actually say any of it anyway! If I were a bolder woman, I would have looked at her despairingly and said something like “Oh man, you mean I’ve been doing this professionally for all these years and now I find out crocheting instead? All of my books are worthless!” And then I would have stumbled sadly away to a different car, where I could knit in peace. 🙂 But again, I am not that bold.

  50. Obviously you did what was best in that situation.
    Let the little boy keep thinking that his mom knows everything for a little while yet….soon enough he will realize she doesn’t.

  51. I think I fall into Barbara’s camp on this one…I likely would have fallen fit to nervous/annoyed giggles and said something to the effect of “Clearly not…” or “Uh, last I checked, you couldn’t crochet with more than one needle…” but I also grew up with a dad who (seriously) used to shriek at me because I was peeling the potatoes “wrong,” so I am kind of over sensitive to these people.

  52. Hooray for you for NOT saying anything.
    Pretty much everything I could come up with wouldn’t have been suitable for young ears.

  53. o.O I’ve had weird moments on public transit – including one memorable afternoon where an older lady looked from her garter stitch scarf to my multi-colored cable panel, snorted and informed me “You’re doing that wrong.” But … “You don’t know what craft you’re doing”? What kind of crack must she be ON?!

  54. Hooray for you for NOT saying anything.
    Pretty much everything I could come up with wouldn’t have been suitable for young ears.

  55. Cheri, at 11:04’s response was classic!
    I probably would have given a tight smile to the woman, and then shook my head “no” at the boy. This is one argument I *know* I’d win.
    Either that or I would have laughed hysterically.

  56. I really, really liked this one:
    “If it was a crochet hook, would I be able to poke your eye out like this?!”
    But, I’d never bring myself to say it, either. I wish I were able to just shut up and stare, but I’m afraid I’d have either blurted out what I tell people when they ask which one I am doing: “Crochet has one needle; knitting has two or four” (even though, of course, that is not true with circulars). People usually get it when I say that. Or I’d say, “Well, I do get paid for teaching this, and the class titles all say ‘knitting’ on them.” I’m a blurter. I wish I were more of a “speechless” person, because then I could come up with what I should have said, rather than regretting what I blurted.
    She just chose such an amusing target for her ignorance. It’s like insisting to Eric Clapton that his Strat is NOT an electric guitar. Sheesh.
    And yes, you really are a kind person.

  57. Well, Steph, you can take the high road and believe she was embarrassed to be corrected in front of her son even though that’s probably not the case. I would have gone with the silence too but been shreiking “apparently not, you rude fool!” in my head. It certainly wouldn’t have ended well had you politely used the moment for a teaching opportunity. People like that don’t respond well and the reamining time of your trip would have been awful. Sad, isn’t it?

  58. I’d have said, “Well, good for you for knowing the difference. Except? This IS knitting, hence the reason I’m using knitting needles and not a crochet hook.” I’m not nice and I don’t suffer fools lightly. 🙂

  59. “Hmmm…well, let’s both go double-check Wikipedia tonight and discuss it again tomorrow.”
    But actually, you got the best revenge by blogging about her stupidity to many, many people!

  60. It is the kind of comment that would definitely leave one speechless. That is just so weird, as if you didn’t know what you were doing!!!

  61. You should be proud of yourself and your restraint!
    In my head, I might have said, “Oh! I’ve been wrong all these years! Oh! Now, what do I do with all those funny little hooks I have?”
    To the child: “Run, young man, run!”

  62. Oh, that is some hilarious irony right there. Irritating, jaw-dropping, but hilarious all the same.
    I might not have been able to restrain myself from saying, ever-so-sweetly, “Two words for you to google tonight, in the privacy of your home: Yarn. Harlot. Cheers!”

  63. Ya, I know that “deer in the headlights” feeling too when someone says something so off the wall you don’t have a comeback. I still don’t have one for you as outsider either. Some people really have NO CLUE who they are talking to and take the rude road without thought.

  64. E-Gad, I am still laughing! I think that would have been my response, a good loud guffaw. Puh-lease! The problem is, when designing and developing the perfect comeback on such short notice in this particular situation, the little kid sitting next to her. How do you respond in a way that doesn’t dis the mom in front of her kid? At the same time, how could she treat you so rudely in front of her kid? Talk about a teaching moment. I really think my gut reaction would have been to laugh out loud, but other than that, I can offer no help without a lot of thoughtful deliberation (so much for spur-of-the-moment!)

  65. You are so much nicer than I am…I would have said..Maybe on your planet, on Earth it’s knitting!

  66. While my actual reaction would be more like Cindy *points up to the third comment from the top* sometime I’d just love to say something like, “Oh, so you knit then?” Then flutter my eyelashes sweetly and give them a big toothy grin.
    Yeah…pretty glad my reaction has always been the first one. Honestly, I can’t believe how rude people can be about knitting in public places. Although usually I get asked “Is that knitting?” or “Is that crochet?” Which is usually followed up by an apologetic and embarrased smile from the questioner and “I can never tell the difference”. It always floors me when people get belligerent about it, though. Sounds like she was embarrassed to be corrected in front of her son. 🙂

  67. I also agree with the first comment, laugh…but make sure you do it so only the mother knows you’re laughing because she’s a moron. Oh, and it will happen again…just give it time. It’s happened to me, but I actually gave a mini-tutorial in the craft, and addressed the child, not the adult.

  68. Apparently, I’ve been on ravelry too long because I’ve been wanting to click “funny” and “agree” on people’s comments. I would have probably pulled out my crochet project (or at the very least, hook) and given a demonstration on the differences right then. Sometimes it really comes in handy to be bi-craftual and super prepared.

  69. I agree with Jessica’s comment….:)) Of course, the end of the story is that the sweet little boy grows up to become a world-famous knitter and knits the idiot, tight-butted mother a most delicious fabulous sweater from the yarn he spun himself…and everything he learned was from the harlot..he goes on to write his own knitting book and devotes the entire book TO YOU!!!:))))

  70. Giggle. There are some good ones. I like Court and Suburban’s the best. I guess I would smirk and just say “Obviously.” Then knit away. Considering you HAVE written several books I think you are confident to know the difference.
    I still think “the wool house” is the best public transit story. It is too bad there wasn’t a little girl on the bus to “Nu-uh. That’s knitting – silly.”

  71. Ecalation of the defensiveness would be a bad move. There are too many people in the world who see situations like that and equate it with a scene from a sitcom and act accordingly (i.e., rudely). I’m a fan of opportunities for education. Clearly, she needed some. Addressing the boy (ignoring the mom and giving her an excuse for not being right) with something like, “Oh– people get confused about this all the time. See these? These are double pointed knitting needles. Crochet is done with a single crochet hook” would be a good way to go.

  72. Wow. Just wow. I would opt for some sort of sarcastic bit of flattery in this case. Something along the lines of “Oh, right. But of course you do.” paired with a smile. . .and continue smiling to yourself while you keep knitting.
    You were being kind to her child and she was rude to you. People like that don’t deserve your bit of education.

  73. If I were you, I would keep a copy of “Knitting Rules” (because it’s got a photo on the front) on me at all times, and if somebody said something like that, I’d just pull it out of my purse, hand it over to her, and sit there smugly while continueing my sock.

  74. I applaud your restraint but also have no snappy comeback that is not rude. But I can confirm that there are more people like this out there. My last name is also a woman’s possible first name. I have had people argue with me about what my own last name is!
    Now that’s a need to control.

  75. I can’t stand it when people tell me something I know to be true is not.
    I probably would have said something along the lines of “I understand they can be very easy to mistake for each other, but this is more than a hobby to me, in fact, it’s what I do for a living. I’ve written several books on knitting and have one of the most read blogs on the internet (if you want to check it out, just google yarn harlot). I’ll bet you didn’t know you were correcting a celebrity. Got anything you’d like me to sign for you?”
    That way, she might think you’re crazy, in which case she’d move and you wouldn’t have to look at her anymore, but her interest would also be piqued enough to look you up when she got home and the then wouldn’t she feel like a dumbass.

  76. *smile* “Well, actually, the two get confused a lot by people who don’t actually do them. I’m not sure why this is hard to believe, but I *do* know what I’m working on here, and it’s a knitted sock.”

  77. Wow!
    First of all, I can tell how much of a gentle soul you are toward children. That was probably what kept you from saying those words you were thinking. It was all for the boy.
    I’ve been “corrected” before and have told people that crocheting is with one needles; whereas knitting is with two or more.
    That said, what I might have done…and I say might because of sensitivity toward the child…
    I might have leaned over and said, “Never do your homework on Wikipedia.”

  78. I think I would have looked down at my knitting and exclaimed, “Well, whaddya know!” and then kept my eyes on the knitting till I got off the bus.
    I had a studio open house once where a woman came in, looked intently at a drawing, and asked “Is this made with oil pastels?” I said, no, that’s done with chalk pastels. She then asked if I was sure! Yes, I was sure–that’s kind of like asking a mother if she’s sure the baby she’s nursing is her own.
    Then she snooped around my studio, looking at everything, and spied a box of oil pastels on a shelf. “Ah ha!” she said, “I thought you said you didn’t use oil pastels.” “I do work with them,” I replied, “but I didn’t use them for the drawing you asked about.”
    She looked at me as if I were an idiot indeed. Why on earth would I lie about what materials I used to make a drawing? Some people just have to be right even when they are wrong, I guess.

  79. “Oh, I’d better call my publisher and tell them to change the title of my most recent book on KNITTING then.”

  80. What’s really interesting is when someone thinks you are quilting while knitting a sock.

  81. I think you should have just said nothing and dropped a complimentary copy of one of your books, picture side up, on her lap as you left. You probably don’t carry those around with you, but maybe you should start.

  82. Hahahaha! I think you should always keep a copy of one of your books and/or a business card with your photo on it to nonchalantly hand to people like the subway lady.

  83. The poor woman was probably taught to “throw” as a kid, never got the hang of it, and still subconsciously feels inferior. She may never have seen anyone knit Continental before – which does look a lot like crocheting. Should have given the poor woman a lesson – she might have been converted!

  84. I disagree with Court — Rude Lady undoubtedly would not know who you are, so you would probably feel compelled to explain which could only lead to more embarrassment when she corrected you on THAT too. A simple Southern Lady backhanded compliment usually puts these people in their place. Something like, “Why, bless your heart! THANK you!! I do SOOOO much appreciate your knowledge and experience. It has obviously taken a LONG time for you to get to this level of understanding. I’ve only been doing this for a little over ___ years and I’ve never been able to put a name to it.”
    This is akin to a “Southern Lady” saying to her acquaintance who has undergone plastic surgery, “Why, Bernice! Bless your heart! You look WONDERFUL! Whoever would have thought all that corrective surgery could turn out without the scars and all!”

  85. Many people have told me I was knitting wrong — this one lady at church in particular couldn’t resist the urge to correct me every time….
    Turns out they were right. I was knitting through the back, not the front. Explains my funky gauge. What did I know? That’s what I was taught.
    But at least they didn’t tell me I was doing it wrong because It was supposed to be crochet. Knitting badly is still knitting.
    In this situation, I would have talked to the kid, offered to show him what I was doing, maybe pulled out a crochet hook (had I one, which I wouldn’t, because left-handed crochet is really hard to learn), and demonstrated the difference.
    Give up on the older generation; save the children.
    That, or taken a poll of the subway car: “Ahem, everyone, we’re asking you to settle a disagreement. A sock worked on four needles: knitting or crochet?”
    There is always the danger that everyone else would agree with her, of course.

  86. Good lord! I love it when people are sooooo ignorant!
    I would have laughed my head off and mumbled some dumb ass comments to my knitting.

  87. How about “I bet you a million dollars it’s knitting, not crochet”? I can’t believe someone would actually argue with the person doing the craft. What is this world coming to?

  88. Thank her. Because thousands of us *knitters* are going to laugh hysterically every time you tell the story. Some people have to pay money for good jokes. She gave you that one, free!

  89. I think you need to have business cards printed up that say Yarn Harlot with the blog address and the list of books you’ve written. Then you could have just handed her one and invited her to send you an email at her convenience to discuss. Maybe you could get some Moo cards with pictures of your knitting on one side and the blog address on the back.
    I’m also in favor of the polite but truthful “I’m sorry ma’am, but you’re mistaken.”

  90. Thank you for clarifying that, sir, I wouldn’t want your daughter to be confused.

  91. Well, she’s made up her mind. You’re not going to change it.
    The only thing you could say that wouldn’t be rude would be something like, “Huh. Interesting,” and then smile again at the little boy before returning to your knitting.
    The kind of person who would argue with the crafter about what craft she’s doing must be having a hell of a bad day. She may have had a day full of things going wrong, or of being wrong about important things, and needed to be right about something just once that day. Or may have needed to be able to argue with someone after repressing all day.
    Either that or she’s insane, and then there really isn’t any reasoning with her.

  92. Nobody’s suggested the classic teen response (my least favourite expression when I was raising them, back in the day): “Whatever” — has to be said with a convincing degree of boredom, though, and just the most desultory of eyerolling.

  93. Ok, this is a prime example why I love reading your blog. I know if I was in your position, I would be dumbfounded and would think of something clever the next day. But I think that it was just me with my usual brain freeze. When someone like yourself experiences something like this, it makes me feel better about myself 🙂

  94. I like the “thank you for clarifying that sir, I wouldn’t want your daughter to be confused.” AWESOME!!!!
    I wish you had a picture like the jerk watching Family Guy on the airplane!

  95. Now having read the comments, I am going to vote for carrying one of your books with your picture on it and, when called for, pull it out and say “I guess I’d better inform my publisher” as suggested by Jessica way back in the beginning. Then I would laugh. I would still end up laughing!

  96. Love “I wrote the books” (plural, of course) as well as “Oh my God, you mean I’ve been crocheting all these years and convinced myself and the whole world it’s knitting?!”
    Congratulations on being restrained under pressure.

  97. I had a (very nice) guy tell me that he’d never seen anyone weaving before whilst I was drop spindling on the bus. I had to tell him that he still hadn’t – then we had a really good conversation about whether or not you could wet spin hemp on a drop spindle (I have no idea).
    I’d have gone for, “yes, you *think* you know the difference between knitting and crochet” (but only in my head).
    I think a lot of non-crocheters really don’t realise that there’s a difference. I heard someone in a shop explain to someone that the River stole she was wearing was knitted although it looks like crochet. I bit my tongue and left.

  98. I had something similar happen when I was in college–a housemate’s visiting mother asked where I was from, and I said Indiana. She said, “Oh, that’s where they grow potatoes!” I said, “No, you’re thinking of Idaho. In Indiana they grow corn and soybeans.” She said, “No, they grow potatoes!”
    I smiled and said, “Well, I’m sure you know more about it than me,” and from the look on her face, she got the point. I’m still pretty happy with that response.

  99. It seems to me that in this particular case no answer was warranted. She had decided (without really LOOKING at what you were doing closely) how to respond to her child, and no matter what you would have said, she wouldn’t have changed her mind (or given up the fact that she might be wrong). Either she didn’t care, or was not raised to be courteous to strangers.
    Actually, you could have some cute little cards with your name and a few of your books on there that mention the word “KNITTING”, and passed one to her on your way by… Here you go – nice talking to you… yada yada 🙂

  100. Civil AND clever? That’s a hard one.
    Tactless and rude? I got plenty.
    When I was a teacher though, and a super rude parent would say something that offended/was trying to get into an argument/fight with me and I couldn’t respond because their kids were there (I hated mouthing off parents in front of their kids…much damage occurs), was to tilt my head sideways a little, sigh and do one of those tight not-smiles and shake my head in that “you poor, poor, deluded human” look before walking away from them.
    Even if the parents didn’t “get it,” the kids did.

  101. Hehhe..Oh wow, sounds like someone didn’t like you correcting mommy in front of her children. I know what I would have done, I would have just laughed and walked away. *shrugs* The reason you can’t come up with a comeback to that is because the woman is so rudely ignorant and you just can’t battle stupid.

  102. Ha that happens to me all the time. I always correct them,I stop being shocked at the misinformation doled out by parents. I volunteer at a zoo and spend most of my day correcting parents,not the kids, the parents. I do it for the kids. I always try to figure out a funny way to give the correct so they don’t get too embarrassed but sometimes I also get Miss Rude.

  103. It is never a sign of weakness to be kind and gentle, so a lack of response might be the best in this type of situation. I do think it would have been funny if you had autographed any one of your best-selling KNITTING books and presented it to the woman!

  104. Wow, I’m honestly amazed the woman even knew about crocheting. For me, its the other way around. I live in a knitting dominated town which rather sucks for me since I seem to be one of the few people in town that has been knitting and crocheting since before I could walk. When I’m knitting, there are no comments. When I crochet, everyone assumes I’m just knitting with a hook. And it doesn’t matter if I’m using thread and the world’s tiniest hook; its just a different knitting technique. I haven’t found a good retort yet. I first need to find a way to break through the knitting-centric bias.

  105. I like the idea of Business Cards…no comebacks required – just hand her the card and leave it at that.

  106. Might be a tad rude, but what they hay!
    “Silly me. I’ll have to call my editor right away and tell her that we are going to have to re-write every one of my books. I’ve been calling this knitting all along.”

  107. I favour and agree with Court- however an earnest look at the child and ‘You should remenber that your mother is always right’ in that serious mocking tone school teachers have perfected over the years would also work for me.
    Does she know who she has ‘dissed’- thank god you didn’t ‘kinear’ her the woman would have had several hundred knitters stalking her all dying to explain ( a) how SOOOO wrong she was and ( b) who she had insulted and how many people have now been insulted by proxy.

  108. This is just so huge. So much bigger than the woman’s insistence on being right. Where’s the civility? Where’s the politeness? Why don’t people respect other people anymore? I’m adding Why We Hate Us to my amazon wish list right now; maybe it’ll help me to understand bozos like that.

  109. I haven’t read all the comments….maybe this has already been suggested but you could have said something like this. I’m sure you don’t want your son going about with misinformation. It really IS knitting.

  110. Bwhahahahahaha! If I were you, I’d fume in my head “I’ve written multiple best-selling books about knitting and knitters and I’m pretty gosh darn sure that I know what knitting is!” all the while trying to smile sweetly and ignore her idiocy. I can’t ever come up with witty remarks at the proper time either. =)

  111. I knit lace. I wear it. Two women at different times have complimented me on the lace shawl and asked where I got it because it’s such lovely crocheted lace. I told them I knit it. “Oh no”, they’ve said, “you can’t knit lace. It must be crocheted”. “I knit this”. “No, no, that’s impossible; it’s crocheted”. “But I made it by knitting.” “No, you couldn’t have.” I gave up. Some people are very sure of themselves with absolutely no reason to be. I did knit it.

  112. If I’d thought of it, I might have smacked myself on the forehead and said, “Doh! I always get those two mixed up.”
    But probably I would’ve become nonverbal instead.

  113. “Oh, really? Well I guess I should inform my publisher that we got it wrong in my series of books on knitting. We’ll have to fix that in the next edition.”
    Stunning really…I get that people don’t know and make the mistake, but to insist? When the other person is actually KNITTING?

  114. Oh the poor kid to be brought up by her. She is rude and stupid.
    When I was a little girl my mother taught me that the best thing to say to people like that was a withering glance. The glance that turns the rain forest into the Sahara.
    I used to think that it was possible to find the perfect polite rejoinder in situations like that, and my mother was just being a snob. Now I know that she was right. As we used to say, don’t waste your breath.

  115. You could have said………”Actually, crochet is for hookers; I’m a harlot!”
    Obviously she’s someone who has to have the “right” answer in order to look good and all knowing to her child. What a sad situation!

  116. I don’t like to be confrontational, but I do like to be right, so I would have wanted to smile and say (all innocent-like), “well, I’ve never SEEN crochet done with 4 needles, and I am PRETTY sure this is knitting, but perhaps it’s not like the crocheting or knitting that you do; most crocheting I’ve seen is done with a crochet hook, but I guess you could do it with 4 knitting needles, I dunno, that sounds really hard.”
    All the babbling gives her time to reformulate her position, gives her an out, reminds her that a CROCHET HOOK is used for crochet, and KNITTING NEEDLES are used for knitting. Who knows, she might have even said, “Oh, now I see, you’re doing THAT kind of knitting.”

  117. Thank you for being polite. It gives me hope. I cannot tell you how many times each and every DAY that people treat me rudely (not necessarily for knitting, just because they’re jerks), and I just walk away. It helps to know that there are other polite people out there who just let it go, despite how much you just want to punch these people right in the face.
    For a response, though, I do like the suggestion that one should ask her to explain. But, really, with people that rude, what can you really do?

  118. I may have slapped myself in the forehead and replied, “and I’ve been doing this for over thirty years calling it knitting!”

  119. That is so darn funny!!! There is no point correcting someone like that. They have horse blinders on!!! I do know, like you, I would have spent the rest of the day thinking of a great retort….as I never seem to come up with one at the time. I like the one that says…”In the last couple of years, the term has changed to knitting”.
    Your blog on “P Town” brought back many nice memories of when my daughter and I landed in the middle of gay pride week in the town. What a blast we had and what a great little place.

  120. Hmm…how about, “Wow! I can’t believe the clerk at the yarn shop sold me crochet hooks when I told her I was going to be knitting socks….”

  121. Lousy Muggles….
    maybe you need to carry a copy o fone of your books around for proof?
    I constantly get the reverse when I am CIP as well. Nice to know Ignorance goes both ways…
    Actually.. It reminds me of the quilted toilet paper ad that has the ladies “quilting” the TP with knitting needles! It actually aired a few months before the braniacs in charge pulled it and fixed it….

  122. It is laughable that she would imply that someone who is making something doesn’t know how they’re doing it, but I still say cut the poor lady some slack. Your fingers move so quickly that maybe she couldn’t quite see what was going on in the blur!

  123. I agree with several — think you DO need to have some business cards printed up, tho, so you can at least point out that you KNOW what you’re talking about in these situations.
    Idiot woman — I really liked the “son, don’t let her pick your wife” remark!

  124. I love the comments, and appreciate most the ones that are sarcastic or biting, but, in truth …
    I have found, while working in tech support, and while raising a daughter, that sometimes I don’t understand what the other person meant. Instead of escalating (which is what seems like it would be most satisfying) I try very hard to say something like “I may not have understood the question correctly. Could you tell me more?” Anything to 1) admit I may also be in the wrong and 2) get more information.
    Sigh. Internally, I often think “dumbass”, but sometimes I really didn’t get the original question / statement / point of view / definition of terms and I learn something in the process.
    Bless your heart for sharing!

  125. Silence sometimes can be the best answer but I also do like Kim Bradley’s response to potatoes grown in Indiana.
    Maybe she’s blogging about it too, “OMG, I met this woman on the train who didn’t even know that she was CROCHETING a sock!”

  126. I’m utterly gobsmacked by this. (as well as a few other stories from last night).
    I think you need to get some business cards made up (do ’em yourself – you can get the perforated blanks anywhere) then hand her one that identifies you as the Yarn Harlot and ask her to Google you and see what she comes up with. Or better yet, ask her to google sock knitting and see what it looks like.
    Although, I did like the “needle to the eye socket” idea – problem is they don’t allow knitting needles (or crochet hooks) in prison.

  127. There was nothing you could have said.
    But, you should have kinneared her. That way, you could have posted the picture and we could all see what rude looks like.

  128. You know, I’ve had similar comments about my name. I’ve actually had people try to tell me that I don’t know how to spell my own name… Yes, Cate can be spelled with a C.

  129. Hilarious! I am physically unable to keep my mouth shut in situations like this. I would have simply said. “Well, you may think you know the difference, but crocheting uses a single crochet hook. Knitting, which this is, uses a minimum of 2 knitting needles.” The nerdy academic in me could not have let this go unanswered and it would be fun to see her reaction, even if she did get mad.

  130. When someone has been this obviously wrong in the past, I resort to a “cultural differences” approach. For example, “Oh, well here in Canada we call it knitting when one uses straight needles, and crocheting when one uses a single hook. How interesting that it’s different where you come from.” It puts ’em straight while allowing them (and you) to retain a little dignity.

  131. aren’t people amazing? that’s pretty amazing. i can think of quite a few things to say back to her, but since you specified “civil”, i’m coming up empty.
    unbelievable.

  132. There is a comeback that is often good.
    “It’s always nice to hear from an expert” (especially relavent in this case as you ARE the expert and she clearly is not, but that would likely have been totally lost on her.)
    I also like “Oh you do needle arts too? What are you working on?”

  133. Wow, don’t people just amaze you sometimes? I probably would have said to the child (echoing Woody in “Earth Girls are Easy”) “Leave home kid!” Well, maybe I would have just thought it. But I definitely would have laughed out loud. I am equally certain that my husband, had he been there, would have turned to me and said, “I can’t believe she’d actually argue with someone holding little pointy knitting needles.”

  134. If I’d done anything at all, it would have been to laugh politely, raise an eyebrow and say, “I see,” in a very dry tone. It might work better with an English accent, though.
    In your case, I would probably have gone with polite laughter and something to the effect of, “Well, I did write the book on it!”

  135. omgosh.
    I’m with you, and would have done the goldfish imitation as well.
    although I love the idea of you carrying around business cards with your name and publishers name on them… then if only one could be a fly on the wall when she discovers who you are.

  136. aren’t people amazing? that’s pretty amazing. i can think of quite a few things to say back to her, but since you specified “civil”, i’m coming up empty.
    unbelievable.
    although, “you’re a very interesting person.” with a completely heartfelt smile might have left her wheels spinning for at least few moments. 🙂

  137. Reminds me of the cartoon when Calvin asks Hobbes about a good retort if they ever get called “a pair of pathetic peripatetics”. I’m still wondering what would be a “defeater” for that one, and now this one will keep me awake too…

  138. Surrender moment, indeed. You can only educate those who wish to learn. And you saved her son a little embarassment – he’s going to see plenty of that in his life.

  139. I’d want to know why. For example:
    HER: “Excuse me… I think I know the difference.”
    YOU: “Really? How can you tell?”
    Because somewhere she’s had some sort of crafting going on and perhaps she’s just confused (with a good does of control freak in there as per above). I think I’d want to open a dialogue with her and find out more about what’s going on with this woman. Scratch a control freak and you’ll find someone very troubled.

  140. oooh, I thought of another response. There’s a very funny woman in my knitting group who responds to people like this with a smile and a sly sarcastic “You might be right.” Translation: You are absolutely wrong, but I will be polite and humor you.

  141. In other words, how does one correct a parent in front of their child? That is a tough one. I agree with Court that you could have whipped out one of your many books, and maybe even gifted it to the child, but maybe it was best to let him believe at his delicate age that his mother is always right. It doesn’t last long, you know.

  142. I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my children and grandchildren. You can’t fix stupid. Get the business cards-the point will be made with out being rude and sinking to her level.

  143. I’ve found that the old standby, Smile And Nod, works with idiots, know-it-alls, and crazies alike, and prevents me from saying something I might regret.
    Kudos for taking the high road, even if it was only due to lack of speedy comeback. The fact that you haven’t got a speedy comeback only proves you’re a nice person!

  144. *laughs* Wow. Often I get “What are you weaving?” while I’m spinning on a drop spindle, but these people have invariably been happy to learn something when I explain weaving versus spinning. But I’m with you on this –> I would have been at a loss to answer her.
    I do like the suggestion “You might be right” polite and humoring her answer.

  145. I would have said, “obviously, you don’t!”. I know it is rude, but….well, I just don’t think I could have been quite as civil as you were. I hope it never happens to me, because I wish I were more like you.

  146. Yeah, if ONLY you had had business cards with blog addy and “XX million knitting books sold” and managed to Kinnear her so she could see all of us laughing at her in the comments. You would have had to blur her face, but still…..Awesome payback. I could not have let her off with that snotty attitude, son or not. I probably would have ignored her and started earnestly and nicely explaining the difference to her son, and get in a comment about how many books you’ve written and sold early on just to make her squirm with embarassment.

  147. You could have politely explained who you are, what you do, your blog etc., but clearly this women wanted to be right and would have taken offense no matter what. I would have smiled, shrugged my shoulders, and said o.k. (trying real hard to keep sarcasm out of my voice)…as my mom says sometimes you just have to let people be wrong.

  148. PS: At least the rest of us now have some good comebacks, even if they’re too late for you.

  149. All I have to say about the whole situation is, if she can’t tell the difference between knitting and crocheting, then obviously she hasn’t had the joy of doing either.
    If it had been me on that bus, I would have looked at her with pity because she is missing out on one of life’s great de-stresser’s. (She might need some stress release. LOL)

  150. Of course you’re right….I have been doing more writing and signing books about it than actually doing it for the last few years.

  151. Aww..geez louezz..I’ve been doing it wrong for 40 years! To emphasize your point you will need to throw your knitting into your knitting bag while looking completely disgusted.

  152. “I’m so sorry for your loss . . .”
    usually puts people off balance for me and makes them think again about what they’ve said. And it makes me feel as if I’ve gotten the upper hand without making a huge fuss and scene.
    But I do like the business card idea too, if this kind of exchange becomes habitual.

  153. I see that you have set aside time to publicly humiliate yourself. And in front of a child… TSk.Tsk..
    Of course, my momma taught if I can’t say anything nice, say something to cut them to the bone…
    🙂

  154. I prefer the simple response:
    “I think I know the difference.”
    “Um, I think not.” (and then move on. Now, if you me, with less grace and dignity, I’d have given a crash course in hooks and needles — but then again, I’ve been known to be offended when someone asks if this thing is crochet.)

  155. “You should let my editor know that the books I’ve written about knitting are wrong then”

  156. Well I have a 9 y/o son and a 6 y/o daughter and have been corrected in front of them. Big deal. Then we BOTH can get a lesson of what the person is doing.
    I would have been stunned too, esp since she had such an attitude. If she was alone and depending on my mood, I would have pursued the conversation, but with her son there, its not worth the scene. Or you could have said “Crochet is with a hook and knitting is done with pointed sticks” and use the extra dpn to point at her REALLY close! LOL

  157. Really, there was no answer to her remark. There are people out there who simply refuse to be wrong about anything–which means they refuse to learn, which is very sad. This woman’s remark tells us that she’s been this way for a long time, and nothing anyone does or says is going to change her. I think I would have simply stared at her openmouthed, and then gone back to my knitting. I feel sorry for the child, though–here’s hoping he can rise above his mother’s attitude.

  158. I’m with Dev, only to give the benefit of a doubt (which is easy, since she wasn’t sitting opposite me on the train) maybe to have been sincere. You never know – she may be just waiting for her conversion to the true (unhooked) path of knitting!
    Either that or ask if she’s had the dosage on her medication checked lately. I’ve heard that sometimes causes extreme bullish stupidity and general foot-in-mouth.
    The worst/best bit is: this poor woman in a moment of madness, is now going to be a meme in the knitting world. And she’ll never know.

  159. Yes of course your right…I didnt catch your name…mine is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee also known as the Yarn Harlot…perhaps you’ve read my books….

  160. I guess I would have said, “Oh, it’s just the way I hold the needle. But I am knitting, a sock, in-the-round, see?” I make bobbin lace and during demos, someone almost always says, “Look, she’s tatting.” This is where I whip out my tatting and say, “Actually, this is tatting. What I’m doing here on this pillow is bobbin lace.”

  161. “Actually, this is a very special kind of crocheting that is done with 5 needles! Some people think it looks like knitting!”

  162. *giggle* “Really?” – and then in an undertone “obviously not”
    but then again, I’m not concerned with random strangers thinking I’m polite.

  163. Wow – hard to believe that happened! What nerve! I wouldn’t know what to say either. I think I would of just nodded and said “OH”. I don’t think that we’re ever prepared for someone else’s rudeness.

  164. I think speechless was a good response. Maybe she thought she was right and was uncomfortable being corrected in front of her son. While it is good for the young ones to see us admit our mistakes, in front of a stranger might be a hard place to do that. Knit along now, nothing to see here.

  165. I am no good at the “not rude” retort so I have nothing to offer on that…
    But your story reminded me of a girl I went to school with. See, I’m a twin. When Katy (twin sister) & I were in the 7th grade, there was a girl named Colleen in our class. One day we were sitting around in gym class and she asked Katy what it is like being a twin. I can’t remember what my sister said but Colleen’s response was, “But doesn’t it get confusing?? I mean, it is like you are one person but you are two. Do you ever get confused?” (I’m sure you can imagine the vacant expression on her face.) And Katy looked her straight in the face and said, “Yes. Most mornings I spend 10 minutes looking in the mirror trying to figure out which sister I am.” To which she replied, “That must be awful.” (Without even a hint of irony.)
    Maybe that girl has grown up and moved to Canada and is now raising some poor, misguided boy who will likely spend years in therapy undoing the damage his foolish mother inflicted upon him.

  166. My housemate just commented that in the future a simple business card might be the right answer. Then she could google you at her leisure.
    I also think you did the right thing. You likely would not have convinced her and you modelled politeness to a young man. This is definitely a good thing.

  167. Smile gratefully at the woman while asking her (and fishing for the camera) if you could take her picture to show your thousands of knitting blog fans the moment that knitting became crotchet because only a photograph (preferably with date showing on a newspaper) would do for such a turnaround in reality. Adding that the aforementioned adoring thousands of fans would be able to grasp said reality shift only if there was photo verification. AND KEEP SMILING YOUR MOST SINCERE SMILE just to outfox her “you’re taking the mickey aren’t you” thought processes. Letting a small gap in time pass, stand and move to another spot, shaking head in a bemused, baffled manner which hints at your thought processes as being “time waster. Life really is too short for all of this.” Oh, and a glance at the boy to let him know your polite-wrath isn’t aimed at him… would do it for me!
    The other day, getting out my dpns and working them sitting near to a small gang of irritating teenagers in a park had them moving on within two minutes, nothing else said. They looked so freaked!

  168. Well, there is nothing good that could come from showing the poor child just how rude or stupid his mother is. He’ll figure it out soon enough. Your obvious enthusiasm for our craft may have contributed to his growing up to be another Kaffe Fasset- or Franklin Habit! We can only hope!

  169. How frustrating. You can’t undermine a parent in front of their child no matter how asinine the parent’s statements. Your response was the best one. If this is a sign of what she’s like all the time then her son will learn that in his own good time, but there’s no sense forcing the realization on him now.

  170. Some great and hilarious suggestions. I liked “What makes you say that?” Engaging rather than punitive, and quite possibly resulting in even MORE amusing stupidisms!
    I’m another person who experiences ‘esprit d’escalier.’ (I love that term.) But if I were (a much crankier version of) you, I would maybe say, “Really? The people who read my books must be really dumb, then.”

  171. I told a friend who was observing me knit a cobweb weight shawl that I was “knitting.” Later she called me with a question about a friend’s crochet project. When I told her I don’t know much about crochet, she thought I was lying and just didn’t want to help her! It seems very few people know the difference between knitting and crochet.

  172. Are you sure u were in Canada and not in the States. I thought all stupid, rude people lived here, not in Canada!

  173. I applaud that you didn’t respond. It’s hard to know what to say, for sure. Poor child. Imagine what his days are like. I vote for “Court’s” comment but with a smile and nod. I would worry she’d take it out on the child when they got home if you gave her a comeback that annoyed her. Hmmmm. “I’m certain this is knitting. I’ve had 5 books published about knitting and it’s what I do every day of my life. Knitting taught me it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s nice to see your son’s interest and curiosity.”
    Lame but all I can come up with. Carry on, pack leader.

  174. Pity the poor boy with her. And I totally get that all the time when I’m kip. People are always coming up and asking, “so what are you crocheting?” or something like that. I got so fed up with it one time that I eventually wrote a big blog post explaining the difference to all the poor deluded people out there.
    But I’m totally with Shelli and Suburbancorrespondent on what to say to the woman.

  175. My grandfather had a good response for this type of situation:
    Her: “Excuse me… I think I know the difference.”
    You: “If you say so.”
    That phrase always meant, “You’re wrong but it’s not worth my time to argue with you.”

  176. Neither clever nor civil, but I’m rather certain my reaction would have been
    “Ha ha ha ha ha! -Oh wait, you weren’t kidding?”
    Then, showing the sock-in-progress,
    “One-two-three-four needles.”
    Holding them up: “No hooks.”
    “*Knitting.*”
    Of course, if you were truly prepared, simply laying your books on the seat one at a time, some of which have your actual picture on the cover: “Knitting. Knitting. Knitting. Knitting. Knitting. and Knitting.”
    Big smile.

  177. Wow, that’s terrible. I’m sure I could have some up with a retort, but nothing clever, and definitely nothing to be said in front of a child…

  178. Unbelievable! I would not have been able to think quickly enough, either. I’m still not sure how I would respond. I like the other commenters’ ideas. Especially the idea about asking her to explain the difference.

  179. You now MUST ride that same train everyday until you see her again. Bring a copy of your book, a camera, and possibly an I-phone so you can show her your blog. Then laugh.
    And although I don’t recommend it, no one has yet come up with the ever-so-mature, “Are you calling my Grandma a liar?”

  180. Such abysmal ignorance does strike one dumb! Maybe my story about what happened to me on public transit last Friday will make up for it. I was taking the el (Green Line for Chicagoans) downtown & was working on Lucinda Guy’s dinosaur sweater (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dangerous-dinosaur-sweater). About half way downtown, 2 male teens got on. They were exactly the type that people tend to avoid on the el – pants hanging down to there, tatoos, scowls – very gang banger looking. They sat near me (one next to me & one in the seat right in front & perpendicular to mine). Then the questions started – what are you making, what is that called, how long does it take to finish a sweater, do you do it for money, dos it cost a lot for the yarn. It was so sweet to me to see these “scary” looking kids behave like normal curious kids – just made my day!

  181. No idea what you could have said that would not belittle her in her son’s eyes, but I’m having a delicious time envisioning this scene: The woman relates the whole story to a friend of hers in an oh-so-condescending tone, as in “you’ll never believe the yahoo I met on the subway today…” The friend, however, has just happened to have read your blog post today (never mind how it happened, it’s a fantasy and ANYTHING is possible) and proceeds to set her straight; say, in front of 6 co-workers or something! “you know that yahoo makes her living by writing KNITTING books…” Tee hee! That’s YARN YAHOO to you, if you please!

  182. That reminded me of something similar that happened to me, only with spinning. I was at a festival, demonstrating spinning. A woman came over with her child. “That woman is weaving.” she told her kid. “She’s making STRING.” When I politely told them what I was really doing, she ignored me entirely and moved on.
    So, do we really know what we’re doing?

  183. “Well, it’s probably hard to see from there because the needles are so small, but if it were crochet there would be a hook on the end (holding empty needle close to her face so she can see clearly-and fight off the urge to poke said eye out) these are knitting needles, not crochet hooks”

  184. I know the feeling. I’ve had this exact “conversation” many times whether I was knitting or crocheting. Trying to politely explain the difference doesn’t work. I’ve come to realize, that their statements, however erroneous, are usually born of nearly lost, yet fond memories of their Grandmother, or Great-Grandmother, or a Crazy Aunt, someone from their past. There’s no point in arguing with a childhood memory. Look at it this way, maybe seeing you crocheting…ur…knitting actually recalled a warm fuzzy memory for that woman, let her have it.

  185. The more I think about it, that story ranks right up there with Franklin’s story about the bus where the woman asked him if he learned to knit while in prison! (sorry, don’t remember how long ago that was but it’s a killer story!)

  186. “Oh, GOD! Thank you for stopping me! I should be using a crochet hook!!! These knitting needles will ruin EVERYTHING!” Desperately look around, and ask her if she has a crochet hook you can borrow.
    Mind you, I would probably have just shot her an eyebrow and shaken my head. But it is fun to dream.

  187. In my group of knitters when someone is misbehaving we say the following, ” Look Bitch” while this would have been way funny, I don’t think it would have been proper as a child was there.
    I would have said,” Really now, seeming I give speeches and have written books on this I guess I might atually know”
    I hope she went home and googled it and now feels like and arse.

  188. I don’t know if there’s a comeback for it–I know that I would have been stunned and open-mouthed, too. “I wrote the book” is the best suggestion of this lot, though…

  189. I would have asked her where she thought I’d hidden the hook. Stretches the meaning of “think” to breaking point, tho.

  190. All you need is a business card, an arched eyebrow and three words:
    “Harlot. Yarn Harlot”

  191. You should have said, “Oh my God you’re RIGHT! Why didn’t anyone TELL me??”
    Or not. You could have instead handed her one of your books, preferably “Knitting Rules.” ^_^

  192. This reminds me of a similar situation I endure VERY often: Part of my job involves answering the phone and I always identify myself. Now, I’ll grant you that there are a couple of accepted ways to pronounce my Russian-origin name, and after 39 years I am SO over getting upset by anyone saying it “the other way”. HOWEVER. When I say my name and they “correct” me by responding “OH, you MEAN ____” it takes every ounce of self-restraint to not respond in a snarky kind of way. Of course when this occurs somewhere other than work, all bets are off!
    There’s no telling what was the best way to handle the situation with the crochet “expert”. Maybe that woman was having a bad day, a bad year, or even a bad life. Perhaps the Mysterious Powers of the Universe conspired to render you speechless because there was nothing to say that would have helped THIS time. Just go with your gut instinct. Sometimes a situation is perfect for teaching, other times correcting someone is NOT helpful.

  193. Good restraint – I would likely have given the teen-esque “ooookaaaay” and rolled eyes, because my restraint isn’t so good. But I would have wanted to say everything that was said here in the comments. And I would have wanted to kinnear her so that other knitters could avoid her or at least snigger at her on the subway.
    Being open-mouthed and dumb-founded likely got the point across anyway…
    I’ve found that most people find my knitting in public to be almost like if I was an alien – they try really hard not to look at me, possibly hoping that I’m a hallucination. Except for one woman who wanted to know what I was making (a baby-blanket for a cousin), whether I was married, when I was planning to have my own children, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

  194. geez, i hate when people get snotty about knitting or crocheting. and doesn’t it always seem it’s started by someone who crochets? can’t we all just get along for the love of fibre art??

  195. Just count yourself as a gracious person. I can tell you from personal experience that correcting someone who is always right even if when they are dead wrong is an exercise in futility.
    I hope someone she knows reads your blog…

  196. I don’t see anything wrong with correcting her politely in front of her child. Kids know (or should know) that parents can make mistakes. Simply saying that crochet uses one hook, and knitting uses two or more needles, along with a face-saving, “lots of people get them mixed up” might have gotten your point across. She had no qualms about being rude in front of her child, so to me the best thing that could be done is to show the child by your polite but firm behaviour that it’s wrong, and ultimately embarrassing, to be rude. Especially when you end up being corrected kindly by the person you were rude to.
    Actually, even the, “Are you sure about that?” might well have been the best thing, and not rude IMO. Then the ball’s back in her court to justify her rudeness, or attempt to!

  197. Rude & Stupid… maybe she’s in American politics. Not to go off on a tangent, but I have been recently flabbergasted by stupidity and rudeness on our TV politics “reporting” and commentating (is that a word?)
    Maybe you could have just said what I’m constantly saying under my breath “IDIOT!”

  198. There is no response possible.
    The phenomenon of thinking of a snappy comeback when it would no longer be useful is called, (excuse my spelling, I don’t actually know French) “l’esprit d’escalier,” “spirit of the staircase,” as in, something that comes to you on the stairs as you leave a party.

  199. Man! That woman fell out of the “stupid” tree and hit every branch on the way down! I would have had to say something, but might have restrained myself to raising my eyebrows and saying, “Interesting…” But as usual, Stephanie, you took the classy way out, and good on ya!

  200. you have much more restraint than me! my mouth often works faster than my brain. i would have said “oh really, how can you tell?” in a surprised and inquisitive voice.

  201. You pull out a copy of one of your numerous books and say, “Well **this** book says I’m knitting. And, wait, what’s that? Who’s that on the cover? O, right, that’s me.”
    You see? Always carry at least one copy of your books. You never know when you might need it.

  202. Or an alternative to my above response is simpler and VERY ENERGISING when said back to the person as quickly as possible, firmly but very politely: I’m sorry, you’re not polluting my day like that and then add the polite but utterly firm rebuttal before moving on to another seat or go stand somewhere else to clear your air of her. My firm explanation would be directed towards her son, finishing with the warmest smile I could muster in the circumstances. Even the truly rude and power-mad have to have a starting point somewhere on their road to change! Making a response invites her to alter her usual stance and that means there is hope. One less person may get it in the neck from her next time and she can start to unburden herself of her power mantle. And we can all expend our precious energy on the things that count, like knitting.

  203. You should always have a copy of one of your books handy to whip out for just such emergencies!

  204. Wow.
    I would have smiled and said “Great! How many socks have you ‘crocheted’?”
    Or
    “Sorry, but I must insist the correct term is knitting in this case. I have published several books on the subject.”
    Or
    “Oh! A fellow fiber artist! Would you like to see the pattern.” Which I would hand over with my finger pointing to the work knit.

  205. This is one of those times where having a Moo card with photographs of your knitting on them on one side, and your credentials on the other would come in very very handy. Just pass the card to the person, smile politely and return to the knitting.
    She can look it up at home and realize in private how silly she was.
    But then you wouldn’t be able to blog about it. Hunh. Nevermind!

  206. “So I assume you also crochet?”
    That’s what I would wish I’d said. But knowing me, I would have become very teacherly and explained that “no, crochet is done with one hooked needle. Knitting is done with two” and likely have gotten into a heated argument with her.
    Maybe it would be better to say, after a pause just long enough to make the entire train or bus uncomfortable:
    “…and you’re basing this fact on what criteria? Because last time I checked…”

  207. Really you can’t beat just continuing on your merry way and letting her live in her own little world of self-denial and rudeness. But, it would have been clever to say something to the effect,
    “Oh, I’m so glad you cleared that up for me as I am on my way to speak about my books as the knitting guess I should be looking for the crocheter’s guild”.
    Not really, silence is golden (although next time remember to close your mouth so it’s not gaping)

  208. Great comments everyone. One I have learned to use, which I miraculously came up with once when I was in a losing (non-fiber-related) struggle with a customer: “You could be right.”
    Very satisfying. They think you’ve caved. They stop arguing. Inside you are saying “But I know you’re wrong.”

  209. This will surely come back around one fine day when her son, who was obviously interested, takes up “crocheting” and runs into your blog and books… .
    The only drawback is you will not be there for the moment when he walks up to her and says, “Hey mom, isn’t this the woman we saw on the train that day?”

  210. Silence was best, though I do like the “tiny smile with headshake” and “If you say so.”
    Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. Over 30 years ago when I was a new knitter someone showed me a scarf and asked me how to reproduce it; I also knew how to crochet, but I couldn’t tell how it was made. (I still wonder.)
    kcwc (if I have that right) – there is no wrong way to knit, just different ways, though some of them don’t work well with standard pattern directions.

  211. ‘Really? Hm, I have 4 books about knitting currently in print, and I’ve been doing this since I was 4. I’m quite sure that I am knitting. Crotchet uses 1 hook, I am using 4(or 5) needles.’

  212. You could have said, “Oh, do you knit?” or “Oh, do you crochet?”, either way to …. fish out her familiarity (which was prob. non-existent.)….
    (A question often works – if you have the presence of mind.)
    [Love your posts.]

  213. I don’t have a snappy comeback, but it has happened and I just patiently explain the difference between knitting and crocheting. Might not have worked in your situation though

  214. How about next time you see her, you just give her the link to this post and the comments? It’s akin to being publicly shamed. Should do it.

  215. When someone is obviously wrong, I like to quote Mary Poppins in a polite cheery voice, “You know best!”
    Or, next time we could do a version of Franklin’s (I think)blog post about how you learned to knit in prison, and you’re sure that the matron called it knitting, and crochet hooks were too dangerous to have behind bars…

  216. I think at this point we get to behave like teenagers and so totally roll your eyes, look at her like she’s an idiot, and mutter *dumbass* under your breath.
    I think the best part is that all of us knitters/crocheters are ready to spring to your defense with a quick and witty jab using either type of crafting tool.

  217. If this knitting needle were a crochet hook, it would have a rounded end and I would not be able to stab you with it. Like this *stab*

  218. “You mean these last 3x years I’ve been CROCHETING and I didn’t know it?! Thank you, lady, for setting me straight.”
    Or Court’s answer.
    Or a string of profanities and insults. 🙂

  219. this is so funny.
    A withering look is probably the best you can do, but I’m pleased that you were nice to the kid.

  220. Branching off from that second comment, this conversation strikes me as a perfect excuse for you to start carrying around a copy of Knitting Rules. It’s got ‘knitting’ printed obviously on the cover, as well as a recognizable picture of you. Perfect for whipping out and showing to people like this lady.

  221. Well, I had almost the exact same thing happen to me, except the mom told her daughter I was knitting, and then I said it was crocheting (because that’s what it was), and the mom told the kid, “No, it’s definitely knitting.”
    This was about 4 or 5 years ago, and since then, the best I’ve come up with for a response would be to go back in time and ask her where she learned that. At the time, I said, “Well, knitting uses two or more needles that are pointy, and crochet uses just one thing with a hook, and they make different kinds of fabric.” And then my car was done being fixed and it was time to go, but I swear, it was totally flummoxing — the arguing. I’m well accustomed to people saying “Oh, she’s knitting!” when I’m doing something else, because as my husband says, the way people see things is: chick + string = knitting. That explains why they say I’m knitting when I’m spinning, for example. But the arguing… just that one time. And still no really good answer. I just don’t know.
    I truly do not get it. I mean… if I met someone who appeared to me to be crocheting, and she said “Actually it’s knitting,” I don’t know what I’d do. And if she said “Actually it’s tambour,” then, dude! I just can’t imagine. I really can’t.
    Was it lace? Some people do perceive anything with holes and lace as “must be crochet” and knitting as stockinette, ribs and cables.

  222. It happens to bobbin lacers a lot. We call her the “Tatting Lady”, and she shows up at every demo, no matter where in the world we are. She peers down her nose at the pillow and announces to her friend “they’re tatting – my grandma did that.” We gently correct her, demonstrate the difference with a tatting shuttle, but invariably, as they walk away, we hear “they’re tatting – I know.”
    You can’t win this one, she won’t budge. 🙂
    LeAnn in Oregon – gearing up for a day of demonstrating at the Oregon State Fair this Sunday

  223. You took the high road. I don’t think it would have helped the son to get in an argument with his mother. Maybe in a few years, he’ll be dating a knitter!

  224. This happens to me ALL THE TIME, because I knit in public, and make bobbin lace and tapes and sew and other stuff at 18th Century houses and encampments. People are ALWAYS saying that I’m tatting or crocheting, they KNOW this because their grandmother used to do it.
    What I’ve found _works_ is to say, “I’m knitting (or making bobbin lace)” and if they argue, ignore the comments, and just go on, “Knitting is a technique where you have multiple needles with pointed tips and you pull loops from one to the other. Crocheting uses a hook and only one loop at t time. Bobbin lace uses a pillow, pins, and pattern(pricking) with many many small bobbins with lengths of thread that get woven in a sort of braiding technique (that is the world’s over simplification!) Tatting uses one or two threads and a shuttle. It’s a series of rings an d loops covered with little half hitches. You work it in your hands.”
    Depending upon what craft I’m working, and what they think I’m doing, I give the appropriate description. It may not convince the person, but it informs the people around her (it’s ALWAYS been a woman), and I’ve NEVER had one argue with me once I’ve started in with the definitions…it’s imperative that one only start explaining/defining, and not arguing! Then I come across as a polite teacher, so they back off.
    It’s not as satisfying as telling them off, or saying something to make them ashamed of themselves, but it works better!

  225. I think I’d have said something like, “I’m doing it and I think I know the difference too,” or “actually, crocheting only uses one tool, how many do you see here.” But really, it’s just not worth casting pearls before swine.

  226. Slightly OT but your story made this pop into my mind – when I first met my now daughter-in-law she admired my knitting and told me that she crocheted (which I knew from the beautiful afghan she made for my son). English is not her first language and she couldn’t think of the right word, so she explained it as ‘knitting but with only one needle’. I’m teaching her to knit with two needles now.

  227. Holy @*&#(*% $*@#!!! I wouldn’t know what to say either.
    I guess one option could be, “Well, I guess your mommy is right, since she’s the expert hooker.”
    🙂

  228. I think “clever” is overrated. Of course you’ll come up blank if you put that kind of pressure on yourself to be “clever”.
    I would have said, ‘really? why don’t you explain the difference to me, since I seem to be confused’, but in a tone of voice and demeanor like I’m completely sincere, maybe even a little concerned (not sarcastic). And then, when she explains it, explain to her where she’s wrong, again, in a completeley calm, respectful and reproachless tone of voice.

  229. I agree with the Mary Poppins “You know best” or possibly “Actually, I teach knitting, but I know it looks unusual since I am knitting circularly”

  230. I would have been completely gobsmacked at the time & wouldn’t have said anything. My later thought would have been to try & gently educate. Response: “Oh, I tell the difference between the two by whether I’m using a hook or needles. How do you tell the difference?” Of course poking her in the eye with the needle would have been much more satisfying! 🙂

  231. This is why you really ought to carry some extra copies of your book around. Next time try to get a cash wager out of her first!

  232. Like Susan, i wanted to just keep clicking “agree” and “funny” a la Ravelry as i read through the comments!
    Stalk and Kinnear the poor woman now, so we can all thank her for the many laughs she’s given us!!

  233. – “excuse me, i think i know the difference!”
    – “excuse ME, but apparently you *don’t*.”
    yeah, it’s a rude retort. but when people say something rude to me, i feel no remorse over being rude back.

  234. I think I would have said, “huh, I’ll let my grandma know that she’s been crocheting for the past 70 years instead of knitting. She’ll be glad to know that.” (Or woken up at 3 am and thought of that)
    Or a good old-fashioned “whatever” in my best imitation of a bored teenager.

  235. Either:
    “Well the Aurora Knitting Guild is going to be disappointed then when I give my talk on what I thought was knitting tonight.’
    or
    “Then all those thousands of people who have purchased my books are in trouble since they think of this as knitting.”
    I would have done the same as you and not said anything or argued but I would like the come back.

  236. And THIS, exactly right here is why Canadian public transportation is Soooooo much more pleasant than American. In the New York Subway that would have turned into an all out brawl for the six o’clock news.

  237. Enlighten me? Then watch her dig herself into a hole! Maybe the intention here is a little nasty 🙂

  238. That is so sad. And funny in a quirky way too.
    It could have turned ugly and messy as well. After all, you had 5 DPNs with you!

  239. I was knitting my first sock on a bus, and a lady commented to me that I would probably find it easier if I was knitting with larger needles. I couldn’t think of anything to say to her either! 😛

  240. I’m torn between Shelli’s and SuburbanCorrespondent’s response as my favorites. This is too funny…. I would, (only because I you gave me time to consider a response) would have treated her like she was a recent release from an asylum. Patronizingly agreed with what she said in soothing tones: “Oka-ay, whatEVER you say, dear; now don’t excite yourself” And then given her a serene smile. I would love to see her face when she tells all her friends about “this lady on the subway” and one of them happens to see your blog and tells her who you really are.

  241. Reply with.. “NO WAY! Crochet you say? GET OUT!!!well that just explains EVERYTHING…no wonder!!! Ma’am, I’d be ever so grateful if you think you can show me how to 1/2 double crochet w/ these sticks?

  242. If a response has to be made, I’m in the “you might be right” or “you know best” camp, although I think an uncomfortable silence is probably the best response this time. Save your breath for when it is likely to have a positive impact.
    Time for another MSF donation?

  243. This is why you carry around your book(s). Ask her son if he’d like a signed copy, straight from the author.
    Court, I wrote the book. Snort.

  244. Well, my ghast is completely flabbered. I think your response was, ultimately, the best one. I will admit, however, that I love the idea of just quietly handing her a business card, then ignoring her and talking to her son. ^_^

  245. well at first I was quite please to hear some one mistakenly refer to your craft as crochet. I crochet and anytime I do it out in public people refer to as knitting…
    I just re-read that statement…anytime I do it out in public…I should re-read that but naaa its good.
    anyway…
    I would have asked her if I could poke her and then she could determine if I were knitting or crocheting 🙂 but I can be a wee bit evil at times.

  246. I would have been stunned, as you were. But then I would probably laugh and mumble something like “whatever”, because who really cares what she thinks? I don’t mean that in a rude way, just in an “what she thinks doesn’t really affect my world” kind of way.

  247. How about “Oh no, you’re kidding; I am allergic to crochet. Someone call an ambulance!”
    Or “Can you help me hide from the Crochet Police – I thought I had everyone fooled!”.
    Either remark would probably go right over her head.

  248. “Would you mind taking over here for me for a second? I need to look up how to KNIT TWO TOGETHER for this next row.”

  249. I’d have laughed and said, Apparently not! I know what I’m doing. Then I’d have told the little boy that in crocheting, one uses a hook and, as he can see, I’m using four needles to KNIT with!

  250. I love all the suggestions, however I remember a great quote:
    “You cannot fight a battle of wits with an unarmed (wo)man.”
    Seems to apply to this situation.

  251. I would have been slightly rude: “Really? I’ve written four knitting books about this and now I learn it’s crocheting? Don’t tell my publisher!”

  252. And Manon looks gorgeous on you! Any shade of orange, yellow, rust, etc. makes me look dead, so I’d probably make that in a deep jewel tone. Chacun a son gout!

  253. I’ve run into this too. Good heavens, do you suppose there are great numbers of these people around?
    I like to pretend I completely missed the haughtiness and challenge part of the person’s response. I put on a big smile and say, in my best friendly “oh, isn’t this neat” voice something like “they are awfully similar, aren’t they? It turns out crochet is done with a hook, which looks like a knitting needle but bends at the end, while knitting is done with two or more needles which are pointy at the end, like this.” If they aren’t looking friendly yet, I might babble on with “They’re both basically ways of making something by pulling loops of yarn through other loops of yarn, which explains why they look so much alike. Why, sometimes on a finished piece it’s hard to know which is which!” (I’m perfectly willing to oversimplify to save face for the person and turn a conflict into a friendly encounter. She can learn the technical stuff later.) I can babble harmlessly about my project (how the yarn makes stripes for me or whatever) if that looks like it will help. Smiling people babbling on about their little yarn project seem to come across as non-threatening. 🙂
    The person gets a friendly response back, with no reciprocal challenge, and so has a chance to respond positively without having to defend their position. This has turned some weirdly hostile beginnings into friendly chats.
    I think sometimes people respond defensively and then immediately realize they’ve been a twit, and respond gratefully to a chance to pretend it didn’t happen.

  254. To bad that you didn’t have a business card or one of those moo cards with like a list of the knitting books you’ve written. The look on her face would be priceless.

  255. I would carry all the books you’ve written at all times. In cases like this, I would have just said, oh, little boy… since you are intersted in what I’m doing, would you like to see all the books I’ve written….
    Or just drop them casually on the seat….
    Linda in VA

  256. At any point did you think- do you know who I am…….????
    This was great for a laugh , did you happen to have a copy of your latest in your bag…..
    At the moment I have 3 GDS knitting here with me, from 11- 13 yrs, I will make sure they know they are knitting…….
    Did she ever doubt herself………??? Lol, oh to be so confident……..Lol…….my laugh for the day 😉

  257. I own a Spanish Water Dog. I was on the street and a woman asked what kind of dog she was. I told her and she said “You mean Portuguese.” I did what you did, I said, “No, Spanish”. She said…. “You ought to know what you’re buying.” Like you, I was struck dumb and have never come up with an appropriate response. I have come to the conclusion that some people won’t listen anyway and you should save your breath for conversation which implies give and take and let the rest fend for themselves

  258. No response is probably the best, but I know I’d be lying awake trying to think of what I should have said.
    How about: Please don’t tell my publisher. They might make me give the money back!

  259. I guarantee I don’t have a better answer than any of the 300-plus above, not all of which I’ve read. But I can’t resist telling Jennifer’s parallel story: the exact same thing happened to her at a fiber show, only with different crafts – she was giving a spinning demo, and the little boy’s mother firmly insisted that she was WEAVING.
    Hmmmm. Wonder if it was the same woman.

  260. Wow! I am impressed with the strength you had to keep quiet. Hmm, she seemed to think she knew more than you and let’s see – who was the one knitting???? –
    Wow – I think I would have explained to her the difference in the needle used in crocheting and then for knitting – therefore – this is knitting hun!

  261. Now that is when you should whip out one of your books, which you of course have stashed on your person just for such an event, and hand it to her with the back cover side up so she can see your photo. LOL

  262. I personally probably would have gone with “apparently NOT” but I like the “Well, I wrote the books” comment.
    Probably best you said nothing. “Never do battle of the wits with an unarmed person”

  263. Absolutely stunning! Well, my 16yo daughter thinks you should have handed one of your books to the boy, with the casual comment…”would you like it autographed?”

  264. I once had someone argue with me over the telephone about my last name. They didn’t believe it was real. Like I would make something like that up! Yeah.

  265. I had an experience like this just a month ago: Walking with friends, we saw some men practicing Tai Chi. I did Tai Chi in school, and recognized it. I said “Oh look, they’re doing Tai Chi” and my former friend said “did you say Tai Chi? That’s Ka-RA-Te” in a very snooty tone. I said “Oh, maybe I’m mistaken”. As we walked closer, there was a book right next to them “Tai Chi” loudly proclaimed on the cover.

  266. I think I would have just started to laugh. Then if I still felt the need to say something it would be “Muggles say the darndest things”.

  267. I don’t know about polite, but I probably would have responded, “Apparently, not”, and then returned to my sock. I’m not good with silence.

  268. Someone already came up with, “I’m afraid you’re mistaken (said in a very gentle tone), so that’s out. Miss Manners says that sometimes a stunned look is the only thing that will do.
    Thanks for your comment. I’ve now been accused of stealing your feet.

  269. I read it, and the response actually popped out of my mouth (as things usually do with me).
    “Excuse me…I think I know the difference.”
    “Doubtful.”
    Tee-hee.

  270. Don’t say anything. 🙂 Hand her a business card as you or she gets off the train and smile.
    And hopefully the business card says “Author of…., knitting guru.”
    LOL

  271. Some day that boy will grow up to realize that his mother was talking through her sphincter much of the time. And she’ll wonder why he no longer values her opinion.

  272. My supervisor had a customer tell her that “their” was mis-spelled on a sign. “It should be ‘thier’, not ‘their’.” She replied that that is indeed the correct spelling, and the customer said, “I am an English teacher! I think I would know!” and then told my supervisor how often her students got it wrong…
    Wow! What can you say to that??

  273. I think one thing was forgotten in this
    conversation. When you corrected her in front
    of her son, it was her pride that answered you.
    Of course you were right, but that wasn’t the
    point. You knew it was knitting and she
    mistakenly said crocheting, and when you
    corrected her she was embarrassed for her
    mistake and it turned into an insult towards
    you. You did the right thing by not saying
    anything further. Sometimes the best answer
    is no answer.

  274. How rude! Obviously no winning over that one.
    My only thought is you could have winked and smiled at the boy… he would have figured it out. Probably not the first time the mother has behaved so poorly.

  275. Laugh, or give a smile that says, “You are stupid and amusing, and through my blog you will amuse many others.”

  276. I would’ve said “Actually, if I were crocheting, I would only have 1 needle with a hook at the end. There’s more than 1 needle here, and no hooks, so it’s knitting.”
    I don’t think she could argue with that, you think?

  277. I’m sure I would have gone with “Well, apparently not but I suppose you simply don’t like being corrected in front of your child.”
    I also second the nomination to feign stupidity and allow her to explain. If nothing else, your blog post story would have been even MORE entertaining I’m sure!! 🙂

  278. “Now, you don’t really think they’d allow hookers on the subway at this time of day!” 😉
    LOL!!! Some parents just don’t want to be wrong in front of their kids.

  279. I doubt if I could’ve said anything because my jaw would drop to the floor and probably be walked on before I could pick it up! I’ve had many people ask what I’m doing (mainly because I’m using magic loop which looks weird even when people are familiar with knitting!). But I’ve never had anyone tell me I don’t know what I’m doing (in relation to the sticks and yarn in my hand, anyway).

  280. This reply from quiltsmf at August 27, 2008 11:57am has nearly killed me from laughing: “Actually, crochet is for hookers; I’m a harlot!”
    Best. Possible. Reply. Ever!
    But, if I were in your place at that time, I wouldn’t have known what to say either. There really wasn’t a clever way to correct her without antagonizing her in front of her child.
    I can only hope that somehow the Universe shows her the truth… and she finds out who she corrected… and she has one of those “I’m a dumbass.” moments we all have from time to time. 😀

  281. I think any additional response would’ve fallen on deaf ears. If she wants to be ignorant, so be it. She could’ve taught her kid a valuable lesson by handling her reaction better. As my sister would say “whatev”! 😉

  282. I like your 10:45 am response from Court. Can’t get better than that. There is no explaining some folks. Well yes there is, but not in polite company.

  283. Seriously? She did? Wow. I work in HR and am always amazed at the sheer gall and stupidity of otherwise intelligent people. Congratulations on your restraint! 🙂
    And I agree with suburbancorrespondant: Really? So all those books I wrote about knitting…were…wrong? with the voice cracking, tears welling up, the whole she-bang. *grin*

  284. I deal with this at home all the time. I cross-stitch, needlepoint, crochet and quilt … but whatever I am doing is referred to as “your knitting” by my not-so-craft-saavy husband … he seems to think that “knitting” is a generic uber-category for all the textile arts.

  285. I like Nita’s @11:11 suggestion. It was the boys question that started the “discussion”. By addressing him directly (and taking his rude/prideful mom out of the equation) you would have answered his question with facts. Also, I see business cards in your future.

  286. I’d have asked “How many needles do you crochet with?” and watched her do the sputtering goldfish face.

  287. I had something similar happen to me at the library – only the mother asked what I was sewing.
    When I replied that I was knitting a sock she said “Really” in a tone that clearly implied that I was both wrong and crazy and then rolled her eyes at her son.
    At which point the little boy looked at her, looked at my sock, looked at me and said “It looks like a sock to me, Mom.”
    hehehe.

  288. Get out the book. I would go with Knitting Rules, as it has the picture of you and everything. Then autograph it for her.

  289. Um, wow. People around me mix up the two (knitting and crochet) a lot, but I can usually just show them whether I’m holding a hook or a pointy stick and explain that the tools are different. I’m not sure what I’d say if they tried to *correct* me.
    There’s probably no arguing with this woman, but I like the idea of the business cards. “Professional Super Knitter and Author,” perhaps.

  290. There’s always “the voices in my head told me in was knitting–they’re never wrong!”. Then cross your eyes at her and go back to your sock.

  291. I’m like you, never have the answer at the right time. Court’s answer is the one….
    You DID write the BOOKS! I think you ought to know! *wink*
    (((hugs)))

  292. You were perfectly correct in not shaming her in front of her child. However, you might have thought of asking her how to perform a particularly difficult knitting manauever since she was well aware of the craft? Ha ha

  293. I bow to those who commented that they would restrain themselves and take the high road. I am not that good a human I’m afraid. The “I wrote the book” retort, is golden, but I think I would have gone with…
    “I’m afraid you apparently DO NOT [know the difference] but, no matter, this is going to make a wonderful entry on my KNITTING blog.”
    I think she was more rude to you for telling you that you didn’t know what you were doing, than you could ever be to her.

  294. Oh, good gracious! I think that all I’d have been able to muster in the moment would have been the same answer I give my boys when they are (incorrectly) sure of themselves: “If you say so” said in a world-weary sort of way, with a sigh at the end. But hands down, my two favorite replies from comments, both said sweet as sugar, are Court’s “I wrote the books” and “.”Actually, crochet is for hookers; I’m a harlot!” THe latter being most effective if you’ve got a business card to hand over with your blog addy.

  295. I agree that being silent was probably the best. I am not so into being condescending or mean, even if she deserves it. It would have just made me more upset to be cruel back to her.
    The other thing would be to try to engage her on a very down-to-earth level, ignoring her arrogance, and try to show her the difference. But who knows how she would have reacted to that?

  296. (smile politely) “Well whatever you do, don’t tell my publisher. They’ve been paying me for the past x years to write knitting books. If they find out that what I do is crocheting, they might want their money back.”

  297. How about: “You’re right! And since you know what it is would you like to crochet on my sock?”
    Then hand her the sock and watch….

  298. My favorite is “Thank you for clarifying that, sir, I wouldn’t want your daughter to be confused.”
    It’s sort of rude but it gets the point across. No one likes having the gender of their child mixed up!
    (When someone asks me if my girls are twins I always say, “No, it just looks that way.” Perhaps that could work in a situation like this.)

  299. Maybe you should have invited her to the guild event and then she could have explained to the whole group why it was crocheting…lol. I think no reponse was probably the best response. There’s no arguing with some people.

  300. Actually you should have stabbed her with your dp and said “Bet a crochet hook would not leave a hole!”
    this may have already been said since I confess I did not read them all.

  301. “Tis better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.” Mark Twain
    I admire your restraint. It would have been hard for me to keep quiet.

  302. Actually you should have stabbed her with your dp and said “Bet a crochet hook would not leave a hole!”
    this may have already been said since I confess I did not read them all.

  303. I’m flabbergasted even now about this. I think silence was the way to go.
    Her correcting your “knitting/crocheting” reminds me of people trying to correct my knitting. I took a knitting class one time and was told that in order to be in her class, I must knit the correct way — ie Continental. I throw, most of the time. I can knit continental, when I want, combination or I can knit the way Andrea Wong taught me at TNNA a year ago — around the neck. Just as some people are bi-craftual, others can knit various ways. I just didn’t know that you were crocheting, and not knitting, that sock I saw in May at WEBS! 🙂

  304. It’s no wonder to me that knitters flock together . SOME muggles cannot admit they are wrong. If knitters did that we would have some really weird FO. Good for you and your restraint at any kind of retort.

  305. Just can’t believe it. I have been in my sewing room(rudely usurped by my computer which better look out cause it can be reaplaced by a laptop) laughing over the comments and reading an occaisional one outloud when asked). Left for a while to sit in front of the fire, in Seattle, in AUGUST, oh the vagaries of the PNW, when my husband informed me that I wear jammies much more than 1%. He retired last spring and I just couldn’t keep up appearances for long. My now grown daughter used to come hom,e from junior high, put on her jammies, watch tv, and then redress and curl her hair if she had to go somewhere. Guess that apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
    Love the comment about not letting the mom pick out the boy’s wife. I don’t consider it rude when kids are fascinateed by dpns. They are way cool and who knows said questionee may become my next sock knitting buddy. There is always room for more in this world. I consider every “old”
    skill to be one more way to feel connected and capable. There is such a huge disconnect in our society between cause and effect – meat, veggies etc come from the grocery store. Said daughter’s new nieces freaked out when she got the flor and sugar out of the cupboard because they thought all homemade cookies came in a tube from the refrigerated department. Enough of my soap box. BUT..here’s top us the can do kind of people who make the world a more reasonable and secure place.

  306. You should have just handed her your book with your picture on the front, then handed her another one of your books, then another, and so on. Don’t say a word…just hand them over and continuing crocheting…um, I mean knitting! 🙂

  307. Ok, I’ll admit to not reading all of the umpty-hundred responses before me, so perhaps someone has already come up with it, but I think when she said that I’d simply have to reply, “Forgive my confusion. By the way, you have a lovely daughter.” (and I think I know the difference!)

  308. You don’t think this was actually a case of the Mysterious Powers of the Universe giving you something to blog about – knowing that it has been known for you to resort to blogging about changing a hook and eye to a button?! (JOKE)

  309. I have an all-purpose phrase for situations where people say odd/untrue/rude things – gently but firmly say “I’m not sure why you would say that, but I’m afraid I can’t agree.”

  310. I saw a bumper sticker recently that might apply here: “Don’t believe everything you think”.
    Or, there’s always the tactic of disarming her…give her a smile, and say “You’re so pretty.” Maybe even throw a “Bless your heart” in there with it. 😉

  311. Around my house, such a situation would have been met with a “Here’s your sign” response.
    And to Tanya – I run into the same thing all the time! I either can’t spell my name – it should have an “o” up front or an “i” in back as far as most are concerned – or I can’t pronounce it. Depending on my mood I will usually respond either “Dang that Tanya Tucker. She ruined it for the rest of us.” or “Actually, the name is derived from the Russian ‘Tatiana’ which, as you can here, has only the soft ‘a’ sound, making ‘Tanya’ the correct pronunciation.” If the person is really being an idiot about it, I just give them a bland look and tell them to take it up with my parents.:)

  312. Hunh. There’s no arguing with someone who is totally, absolutely, unshakeably convinced of her rightness — even when completely, undisputably wrong. Smile sweetly while mentally exacting revenge with the dpns.

  313. I think what I would have done was to have smiled sweetly and said, “Obviously you don’t.” Then gone back to knitting with a smirk on my face. It that’s being rude, then, well… so be it.

  314. I think that I’d have to sit there all deer-in-headlights style too because the letters “T. W. and F.” would be running through my head… although not in that order… And I’m pretty sure something implying gross obscenity is not ok on public transit 🙂 It is pretty incredible that somebody would correct someone else on the actual activity the person is doing! I corrected someone once when she said “stocking stitch,” I didn’t realize that it was another way of saying “stockinette” and I still feel like a jerk!

  315. I would have said “apparently not.” since that is the first thing that popped into my head. Then, since I’m not a very polite person when confronted w/ arrogant ignorance, I’d have added “bee-yotch”.
    but that’s just me. You’re a far better person.

  316. My first name is Malisa. The more common spelling for the pronunciation of my name is Melissa. Many times in my 37 years I have written my name in front of someone and then that person has said, “Is that how you spell your name?”
    With raised eyebrows I usually say to them, “Yes, last time I checked my birth certificate.” What I want to say, “Hum…OMG! For 37 years I’ve been spelling MY OWN NAME wrong! I’m so glad someone finally told me!”

  317. My father told me never to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed person.
    You win by being silent.

  318. I would have turned to her, “Really? I’ll bet you are a really good crocheter. Tell me about your projects.”
    Do you remember the TV commercial for Quilted Northern TP where a bunch of cartoon ladies are sitting around a square of toilet paper, “quilting” it with afghan hooks? Too, too funny!

  319. Can I digress? What is a butter tart? It sounds like something I would want right now.

  320. I had sort of the same experience, but the offender was much nice about accepting her mistake. I was taking a post op break in the locker room of the hospital where I was doing an OR nursing internship. The interaction went like this:
    “That looks like a great way to unwind. What are you crochetting?”
    “This is knitting. I’m making a sock and yes it is very relaxing.”
    “It looks so complicated with all of the pointy things. I could never do that.”
    Me- nursing student.
    The other- brain surgeon!
    Go figure

  321. Whip out your camera. Give her a big smile. Say: “Do you mind if I take your picture? In all the years I’ve been knitting in public, I’ve had some wild conversations, but this is the BEST! I’d really like to document the moment for my KNITTING BLOG.” Click.

  322. This happens to me all the time. And when I did crochet it happened to me all the time then too. My dad would constantly ask me what I was knitting while I was sitting there crocheting… No matter how much I corrected him he could never remember the difference. At least he was always willing to be corrected gently.

  323. You didn’t need to say anything – the story is absolutely hysterical as is! I’m quite sure I would have lost it and convulsed with laughter if I had been there. Posting about it is much more effective than anything you could have said. The poor child is going to be very confused though, if he decides to learn to knit or crochet at some point.

  324. I think your response was appropriate – there’s no way to argue with someone who “knows” they’re right. Safest response too – my daughter tells me that when we travel the Toronto subway, I am lucky to live because apparently I stare dumbfounded at people…Glad you’re safe, if dumbfounded…

  325. “I’ve written (X number) books on knitting.
    How many have you written?”
    The reason I put (X number) is because you’ve actually written some that haven’t been printed (hit the shelves) yet, so I don’t know how many you would want to claim. Oh, and at this point, I’ve lost count.
    I’ve found that knitting socks (or mitts, etc.) on four or five needles confuses people. When I do it, I usually have several people ask what I’m doing.
    And sometimes I have people insist that I’m doing it wrong or that it’s crochet, or something else.
    I was once knitting in line at the DMV and had most of the people in the line admiring my work. They particularly loved the yarn and asked me where I’d gotten it.
    When I told them I spun it, the whole crowd turned nasty, and informed me that I couldn’t possibly have spun it even after I’d told them that I had demonstrated spinning at a local museum (where the people informed me that I couldn’t possibly have woven a hatband I’d woven, because people can’t do work that fine, only machines can).
    There’s no arguing with stupidity.

  326. Glad it was you and not me….I would have called her an idiot and then, the gloves would have been off….I imagine they don’t allow you to knit in jail…..

  327. While I think so many of the above responses are entertaining, I think stunned silence is really the kindest answer, especially in front of the child. I’m sure he saw the expression on your face. She must be the same woman who passed me while pregnant who said “It’s a boy, and I’m never wrong.” (I had a girl.)

  328. Her: “Excuse me… I think I know the difference.”
    You (said neutrally, with perhaps a faint hint of cheeriness): “Oh, well, that’s good to know.”
    (It’s good to know that her opinion is totally wrong…..)

  329. My vote goes with the “say nothing, just smile sweetly” crowd. It seems to me that this is one of those situations where any attempt at a snappy or sarcastic comeback will be more likely to hurt, rather than educate.
    If you could muster the sincerity, though, you could hand her a business card and say, “Oh! Then you might enjoy my blog!”
    If she actually has an open and inquring mind buried under the surface somewhere, then she can learn the difference in private. There’s always a chance.
    There is a small risk that she might refuse it with a comment like “I don’t have time to waste on that nonsense,” but that would be openly rude in a way that even her kid might pick up on.

  330. O the irony!
    There is no appropriate comeback. None at all.
    I think we should all wear Steph’s image on the back of a T-shirt, with the logo “She wrote the book” or something thereabouts. Maybe the wonder publicist could have something done up for the next book?
    Vive l’Harlot!

  331. I probably wouldn’t have been able to come up with a response at the time either.
    However, in reading the comments, I can’t let the comment from kcwc at 11:37 go. She said she was told she was “knitting wrong” because she was “knitting through the back, not the front”. I knit through the back (from right to left) and purl through the front (from right to left). I hold the yarn in my left hand and don’t “throw” the yarn. I have never had a problem getting gauge, and think my knitting looks just as good as someone who knits the “right” way. By the way, I was taught to knit by my grandmother about 45 yrs ago. I don’t think there is a “right” way or a “wrong” way to knit, just different ways.

  332. I think you made a good response, as you didn’t embarass the mother in front of her son.
    But, you might have asked for her address to offer send her an autographed copy of one of the books you wrote ON KNITTING.

  333. I started to write up a pile of responses, scrolled back and I think we knitters pretty much have it covered. I think you may need a blog card.
    However, my suggestion is to reach into your bag, take out your learn to knit kit and say, well whatever you call it, it’s never to late to learn something new. I learned how to make socks x number of years ago from my grandmother. Would you or your son like to learn how to make a pair?
    Hopefully you come out smelling like a rose and still like you probably knew what you were talking about.

  334. I like a good, puzzled look and a drawn out, “Riiiiight…” with a headshake directed at the child. Who can then be offered a quick lesson in knitting.

  335. the sheer balls of the mom’s retort makes me laugh. honestly, doesn’t it make you wonder where the heck that would come from?
    i think you did the right thing.. because you don’t know what kind of crazy day she might have been having.. and maybe, just maybe, she’s slapping herself in the forehead right now, thinking she’s made an idiot of herself (and can you imagine how bad it would be if she figured out the vastness of her gaff?). for the little boy’s sake, let’s hope that’s true.

  336. Don’t know if this is up yet, but you could have said “That’s one for the blog!” I don’t know how you kept from laughing yourself off your seat. I know I am! 🙂

  337. How RUDE of that lady! I hate it when I get shocked speechless too, but it’s hard when there’s a child around–b/c although YOU know their parent’s a twit, it can be hard for kids to know that kinda thing.
    I think it would’ve been cool for you to say something along these lines:
    That’s interesting, since my name is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and I wrote a couple of popular books on the topic. I guess you haven’t heard of _________(list many titles here, repeating your name frequently so she’ll remember it)? Well, you should check them out, and if you end up getting one you should check out my blog and I’ll sign one for you. (You say that last part as you’re writing your info down on a card. Then get up and move, but not too far away so that she can see you’re not wanting to talk to her anymore.)
    Then smile and wave when either you, or she, gets off. HA to her!

  338. This is why you should always carry a few copies of your books around with you.
    Pull out a book, open to title page,autograph it to “The woman who can tell the difference between crocheting and knitting” and hand it to her saying,”Happy crocheting”. Smile and continue on.

  339. I think you did perfect. There is a quote of Herbert Spencer’s about the only thing that blocks learning is “contempt prior to investigation”. I belileve that is what she has. The child will remember your shock and restraint, and someday he may work to emulate your kindness. That is one frightened, defended woman. I feel sorry for her.

  340. I think I might have said, “Really? What IS the difference?” just to see what bizarre idea she had stuck in her head. Maybe she was just thinking short sticks vs. long sticks. It would probably not have been worth any effort to convince her, but I would have been curious to know why she thought it was crocheting.

  341. All of this has me laughing out loud! So far, Amy and Susan win for me. But you probably did do the best thing in the end. There’s just no getting through to some people and judging from her unbelievable arrogance, she’s probably one that nothing you could have said would have made a dent. Thanks everyone for all the laughs today!

  342. O M freakin’ G!
    I’m with Susan at 11:28. Where’s an “agree” button when I need one! And like Noelle at 4:18, I can’t imagine why you didn’t fall off the seat laughing.
    Some people.

  343. That woman probably told her son that she knows everything about everything and that she’s never wrong. Tsk, tsk.
    There’s never a right thing to say to someone like that lady. You can teach ignorance, but you can’t do a darned thing with stupidity.
    Just call it another life experience.

  344. you did fine especialy since there was a young person sitting there. I am not sure If I could of said anything either.

  345. I would have been tempted to whip out my phone and call Rachael H to say, “we have to cancel my appearance tonight at the Aurora Guild, it turns out I don’t actually knit.”

  346. Probably said something like, “That’s a beautiful girl you have there.”
    And when she eventually comes back with something like, “He’s a boy.”
    “I think I know the difference, thank you very much.”
    Or something like, “I write books about it. But since you clearly know better than someone who makes a living off of it, I should probably inform my publisher.”

  347. How about: “I call THIS (indicating the work in your hands) KNITTING. EVERYONE I know who does THIS (again, emphasizing the work in your hands)calls it KNITTING. Your mum, apparently, calls it crocheting”. Ok, that was actually funnier in my head.

  348. I think I would have said, “Darn, when I started out this morning I was knitting – I wonder when it changed to crochet?!”
    Or – Don’t you think I’d know what I’m doing with my own hands? Although that may be one of the rude things you might have said.

  349. You know what? I think you’d have just felt really shitty putting this poor woman down. Obviously she felt annoyed at being corrected by someone in front of her son, which means she must not have much self-esteem to begin with – so why fight a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. You did the only right thing, really. What would it have gotten you to do some sort of one upmanship game with her?
    My 2cents – although I loved the witty retorts:)

  350. “How depressing that after authoring several books on the subject and devoting the past 25 years to this craft, I come to find out it’s not what I thought it was.”

  351. Amazing! I would have been speechless, too.
    I’ve loved reading the comments. I laughed at this one: “Thank you for clarifying that, sir, I wouldn’t want your daughter to be confused.
    Posted by: NewJerseyLaura at August 27, 2008 11:39 AM
    And I love this one: “Well, I’m sure you know more about it than me,”
    Posted by: Kim Bradley at August 27, 2008 11:47 AM

  352. Still think its best not to engage further with a stranger who is so stubbornly ignorant! That said, when my 5 yo gets like that about something, I sometimes go Mary Poppins on him and say “you know best, as usual”.

  353. Yeah, I’m not so good on the silent and polite, but I would’ve tried since she had her son there.
    But, like my granddaddy always said, “He (or she) is so stupid, he brought a knife to a gun fight.”

  354. This is why you should always have a copy of Knitting Rules with at all times so you can just smile sweetly at said rude woman, pull the book out, lay it in your lap and just tap it with a fingernail until she inevitably has to look.. Your picture on the cover (knitting) and the title should speak for itself.
    And you are certainly right.. WHO says things like that?

  355. While I would hope that I’d come back with one of the many kind replies your other readers have supplied, I’m afraid that I would have burst out laughing and said something along the lines of an incredulous “And I think I know what it is that I am actually doing, ma’am!”
    It’s probably best that you didn’t reply at all. If she had to be that right, even when any reasonable person would realize that they were wrong, it’s like my daddy always said, “Never get into a pissing contest with a skunk…”

  356. I think that I would have given her the smirk/head nod/eyebrow raise combo. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to let it go politely, you are a stronger woman than I.

  357. In the face of such blinding certainty, your politeness was probably most appropriate. The thought crossed my mind that this might be a parent who must always be right to her child.Sad, if so….
    I couldn’t resist thinking of some things though. Maybe say to the boy: “I guess your father must be right about this being crochet.” If his mother can ignore the obvious, why not you too??

  358. “No, actually it is knitting. You see, I wrote the book on knitting.”
    That’s my suggestion. Slightly rude perhaps, but quite accurate.

  359. The best retort would have been whipping out a copy of your new calendar, with your picture on it!! I can’t believe her – “blinding certainty”. Makes you wonder what else she tells her child……

  360. I think your response was the best possible one under the circumstances. People like that aren’t worth arguing nicely with, and whipping the gloves off in front of a young child isn’t a great idea.
    But it would have been funny to take out a copy of *Knitting Rules* and ask him, “Would you like an autographed copy of one of my books?”

  361. “DAMMIT! And all this time I’ve been writing those funny knitting books without having any idea what I was talking about!”
    Or, what I would have done: drop sock on floor and declare, “Well, thank God you told me, because I’m great at knitting but arse at crochet, so it seems silly to carry on.”

  362. O_o Some people need a swift slap upside the head. Seriously.
    I agree with all the “I wrote the book” comments, too. “In fact, I wrote multiple books. Want one? You might learn a thing or two.”

  363. Although the “I wrote the book” comeback is appealingly direct, it doesn’t work well when you say it yourself. Someone else needs to say it. The solution, obviously, is to always have a disciple by your side, to instruct the unwashed masses in their ignorance of the demi-goddess Yarn Harlot.

  364. Myself, I would have said “whoops, pardon me!” in a sweet tone and gotten up and found another seat. My evil twin would have said to the boy, “Sweetie, listen to your grandma, I’m sure she’s always right.” When she protested that she was the boy’s mother, I would have said, “I think I know the difference.” And then would have changed my seat.

  365. i would have just thrown something at her. this is always my response. it never works, but it’s funny.

  366. I had one lady come over and watch me knit my socks and comment “I knit faster than you” and then wander off…

  367. Sometimes humor works with people like this — “Ooops, I better tell my editor. (Wink, whisper) I’ve written x number of books saying that this is knitting.” Just leave her wondering.

  368. How much you want to bet that she didn’t want to look bad in front of her kid for not knowing the difference?

  369. Give the woman the benefit of the doubt – assume she knows perfectly well who you are and is winding you up – giggle (or otherwise show your amusement – you’re younger than me, and I would giggle) and say “You nearly had me there – turn up to XYZ and I’ll sign you a copy of my next book”.

  370. The answer of course, is that an IDIOT says that. What you can say next time is, crochet always only uses 1 needle. Actually, it’s a hook not a needle and knitting uses a minimum of two needles, although they can be connnected to look like one. [and although the following is what my mother would have said, not yours, and it’s questionable whether it’s a good thing to say in front of the kid…) and crochet is MUCH easier than knitting. Her implicaiton being that knitting was low class. Since she was working class, it’s all kind of ridiculous. I recall at the age of 5 thinking that distinction between knitting and crochet was ridiculous. To my 6 year old hands, they were both easy, what was the big deal?

  371. I agree with Jackie Hoffman. I would have loved to know why she thought you were crocheting. In explaining it to you, she might have learned something too.
    Otherwise, yes, silence was probably the best way to go.

  372. How rude, and she’s certainly not a very good example for her son. Did he learn a lesson about how he should respond if someone corrects him? You bet he did. It probably would have been a waste of precious oxygen for you to have said anything else to her. Get a t-shirt that says, “I’m knitting” on the front. With a picture of needles and yarn. Maybe that would clarify things.

  373. I think it doesn’t hurt for a kid to learn that if you are rude to someone, you get called on it sometimes.
    I like Amanda’s idea at 2:13. Feign innocence to the rudeness.
    I also think the ravelry agree buttons have me spoiled!

  374. Yes, Court’s response is perfect. If you had one with you to show her it would have been hilarious!!

  375. Hey, I just had someone lecture me about what a waste of time it was to knit socks when they are so much cheaper to buy. Really. That I should stop knitting socks for my loved ones and do more housework. Guess who will never be on the sock list?

  376. I hope she relates the story about the terrible crocherter to a friend who turns out to be not just a knitter, but a knitter who reads your blog and has read about the incident already….what a hoot.

  377. Whaaaa???? Hmmmm, there’s not a nice way to answer such a person. Well, anything you said would have come out sounding rude to her, but it’s her attitude that’s the problem.
    On the other hand, I was a bus the other day and crocheting. A woman and small daughter (maybe 4 or 5) got on and sat next to me. I moved my bag to give the girl more room. The little girl was really staring at my hands and the yarn. The woman asked what I was knitting and I said “crochet.” “I’m making a piece of sculpture. [I’m into crocheting coral reef.] It’s going to hang my wall with lots of other pieces.” “Ah,” she said, “I’ve tried knitting and can’t get the hang of it.” Then she said the piece looked nice. Oh well. Her tone, though, was nice, not annoyed at being corrected.

  378. I think the fact that you didn’t give her a come back has been overthrown by the 430+ come backs or laughing in her face responses on this blog. The universe works out a balance somehow and this is it.

  379. I do not suffer controlling stupid people easilly. I would have turned to the boy and said something to the tune of “No, it’s knitting. And Mommy is a controlling harpy who will make your life — and the lives of anyone around her — a wretched, living hell until she has driven you all away and she ends up dying old, ugly, bitter and alone.”

  380. I am sure I wouldn’t have been stunned speechless as well. I would have just gone back to my knitting and been just as bothered as you.
    Maybe in the future you should bring little pamphlets with you explaining the difference between crocheting and knitting that describe the whole history of it all. You know, just a light bit of 100 page of more reading material that can sum up needlework in general might just do the trick! ;o)

  381. I might have shook my head and said something like “You might think you know the difference, but you would be the only one who thinks so.”

  382. While I wouldn’t necessarily say it in real life, I would go home and fantasize that after she said, “Excuse me… I think I know the difference”, I would say something like, “And perhaps you do, in your own little world. But here on planet earth, this is *knitting*”.
    Or the shorter, more to the point. “Ah, but you’ve clearly demonstrated that you don’t.”

  383. I have been in your same shoes and reacted the same. silence. Later I come to realize that it’s when you’ve corrected the mother in front of their child that set them to correct you back. They don’t want to come off as the ignorant one.

  384. There’s always, “I’ve written several books about knitting,” or, “Crochet is done with a hook, this knitting uses small needles, see?” But really, why bother? It’s not like you’ll get her to admit anything. Some people you just can’t bother worrying about. (But to say that? just how dense is she????)

  385. I think you were right saying nothing. People like her aren’t worth the time or effort. As for her son, well, let’s hope someday he learns to knit!!! :0)

  386. I think the perfect comeback is what you’ve already done: blogged about her.
    She is forever crystallized in html as a ninny.

  387. You just gotta laugh, don’t you? I mean laugh. “Who says that?” is right. You certainly can’t take it seriously, for sure. I’ll be laughing all night.

  388. “Excuse me, do you know who I am?”
    I get this mental image of you morphing into some X-Men-esque superhero. Wind starts to blow, your hair grows about a foot and cascades of curls (no friz) grace a well chisled back. Whatever clothes you have on your back transform into this beautiful cashmere (with one ply of golden thread) gown that has STUNNING stitch definition and no pills whatsoever. This floor-length gown is too blowing in this wind that surrounds only you. You have a quiver of straights slung off one shoulder and as you open your hands palms towards this insolent woman, and four strands of an aran weight hemp shoots out of your wrists and wraps this woman in an i-cord that magically knits itself around this woman. This has a stunning affect on her and the little boy is in AWE of your superhero powers. You float over towards her and say…
    “I may be the Yarn Harlot, but I assure you, I am no hooker.”
    …you float away as Mommie Dearest struggles in her i-cord straight jacket and the little boy watches after you wishing that his mommy was as cool as you.

  389. Yeah, I would have just laughed and laughed (but that’s what I do, laugh at inappropriate times) and then I would HAVE to say, as I am knitting, “KNIT one, PURL one, KNIT one, PURL one” (or whatever)
    WHAT a donkey!

  390. I think this woman gave her retort before she actually thought about what she was saying. *You* were doing the craft, *of course” you knew you were knitting and when this woman realizes her mistake she’s going to feel stupid indeed.
    It’s good that you didn’t say anything back to her. You wouldn’t have wanted to make her look bad to her kid.

  391. As you don’t have a mean bone in your body (except when wool-stealing squirrels are involved), you’ll never be one for the quick retort. Plus, the quick retort runs the risk of being equally rude back, which would horrify you even further…
    I’m thinking business cards. Alternatively, an amused smile accompanied by, “I’m sure you’re right.”

  392. hmm. I think I might have said, crochet needs only a hook, knitting uses 2 needles. Do you crochet or knit? Would you like to try? (proffer sock), its not that hard, though crochet is easier. And keep going in that vein until she gives in, being polite and gracious the entire time, so if she snaps at you again it will seem like shes the one with the problem.

  393. Maybe you should send her one of your “crochet” books. Actually, why not overwhelm her and send all of them. Well in a dream world that would work.
    In real life I think I would have burst out laughing at her. The funny things is it’s not like it happened to one of average every day knitters. Your a multi-published celebrity knitter!

  394. Or you could revert to the classic southern comment….
    “Well, bless your heart.”
    Which when said with just the right inflection means “well, you’re a few beers short of a 6 pack, but I’m too polite to point it out.”
    And has the advantage that the person it’s directed at would have a heck of a time taking offense.

  395. Now I know why I always carry a crochet hook in my bag! Nothing like a comeback with ILLUSTRATIONS. (“Crochet is like this…”)

  396. Sounds like she’d just been watching that Springer show and was spoiling for a fight. A quiet and friendly smile was just the ticket.

  397. Or use the response from michele at August 27, 2008 1:25 PM, with the following addition:
    “You could be right,” (pause), “or not.” Not that anything would persuade her. How rude can someone be?

  398. Simply say, “You’re right. I simply crochet so much that I wore the hook right off the needles and had to keep adding them until I came up with this. Isn’t it odd?”

  399. How about:
    “And all these years I thought I was knitting! Thank you so much for setting me straight!”

  400. Or here’s a thought! Get her a copy of NEVER NOT KNITTING, with the word “knitting” crossed out and scribbled over in black marker with the word “crocheting”… HAHAHAHAHA!

  401. I would have immediately gone into an explanation of the differences between the two, and the first thing out of my mouth would have been, “But crochet only uses one stick, and knitting uses at least two.” I know I’d have talked about the differences in fabrics, as well. Pedantism is good for defence AND offence!

  402. “Oh, dear, really? And here I am on my way to give a talk at a knitting guild. How embarrassing! What will I say to them??!!?”

  403. You were right to say nothing. It does no one any good to have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed. Besides, she is probably the one who would actually manage to put her own eye out with a DPN if you handed her one.

  404. a ridiculous comment like that calls for something like “Actually it’s carpentry and these (needles) are saws and hammers and this (yarn) is wood. or maybe it’s masonry and this is all trowels and cement. Who can really tell the difference, right?”

  405. I would have just laughed at her. Although I think Court’s suggestion is the best for sure.
    While I sympathize with your bewilderment, I think the whole thing is hysterically funny. Of ALL the knitters in this ENTIRE COUNTRY to say that to, she chose you – the best known of the bunch – to say that to. It’s like someone telling Anne Murray that she sings hip hop.
    (Yes, I just compared you to Anne Murray. Hope that’s ok….) 😉

  406. Hubby says you should have asked her to explain the difference. I, for one, never would have argued with someone carrying pointy sticks.

  407. Honestly, I’d’ve finished the row, taken my 5th needle, held it up clearly and said – in my best professorial voice – “This …. this is a knitting needle. Had this been a crochet hook, you would see a hook at one end, and a blunt end on the other. Thank you for your attention. Thus ends the lesson.”
    But I’m sarcastic like that.

  408. I LOVE it that you got 485 responses to this post!! I’m just here to add to the volume! “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”- E.Z.

  409. I confess that I have not read all eleventy billion comments, so I hope I’m not repeating someone, but I think the answer to your question is in the title of your post. I’ve found that any time I can engage someone in an actual conversation, I find that my Righteous Dismay was displaced (and I’m fairly trigger-happy with the Righteous Dismay, so I have a lot of opportunity to practice this).
    It’s sometimes hard to figure out how to engage with someone who has pushed your button so successfully, but something like, “Oh, do you do some needlework also?” (asked in a genuine sort of a way, not in a snotty “I know there’s no way you know what you’re talking about” sort of a way). And then, depending on what they say, you sort of just make conversation like you would at a cocktail party or something (or like I imagine people do at cocktails parties, never having been to one myself). Or if you think the tone of Righteous Dismay might come through if you try to talk about knitting right off, you can just start the conversation some other way (“That’s a beautiful shirt you’re wearing”…you know, whatever.)
    And eventually maybe you learn that she is from the Ukraine and in the Ukraine they call the two crafts by the opposite names, or you know, whatever. (I once met a barista who was from one of those countries that ends in -ania like Transylvania only something else, and where she was from people nodded when they meant “no” and they shook their heads side to side when they meant “yes”.) Or maybe she just really didn’t know what she was talking about, but she would be more able to hear your correction if you have just exchanged a few sentences about where you grew up and how old your kids are.

  410. The sad thing is, she’ll get kicked in the butt by this.
    She’ll probably see knitters everywhere today. She’ll hear about you, the yarn harlot, somewhere.
    She’ll say something like that to her own mother who actually is a knitter.
    All of these little things which I’m sure will happen (because the universe has a way of making its own witty comebacks last a while)will serve to remind her that she didn’t know what she was talking about. And she can never apologize politely.
    This will be one of those times (hopefully) that will replay in her brain in those weird times when you just can’t stop yourself from thinking “my God, did I really say that?” (Usually that happens while I’m swimming or post-date)

  411. you know, several years ago i got over the fact that there are plenty plenty dumbasses out there and can mostly overlook their enormous dumbassedness. but what i am having a problem with here is………..beer with butter tarts?? now, i’m not sure about that combo……………

  412. I probably would have pulled my current crochet project out and said, “Actually…”
    All the more reason to pack two different projects for a single tram trip into the city. One has to be prepared for these things!

  413. long time reader, first time commenter here:
    when faced with the irrational, rationality will never work, so laugh out loud, she won’t know why you are laughing at her, and you get to keep your sanity (rather than worrying about the best verbal response).
    I have managed to snag a ticket to the I Knit in London talk you are doing, if I bring a bottle of Beer (organic Ale, that’s REALLY good) does that make me a polite and grateful reader of your blog or an evil enabler?

  414. I would have told her, ” Oh really? Well then, what’s the big difference?” I then would wait, and then either after she’s done talking/after 5 sec. of silence, say, ” Do you mean to say that I, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, have been lying to about 1 million people that the craft they have been doing with 2 needles is really crochet? What about the people on Ravelry? Online? Yarn shops? Groups? What about all of them?”
    That’d make her rethink her so-called logic.

  415. Next time ask her, without missing a beat, to please explain the difference to you. (And try to keep from laughing out loud while she goes on with her nonsense.) I think I would have been speechless, too…

  416. I keep waiting for the time when I don’t get surprised at how stupid/arrogant people can be. Then, everytime I think that, I am reassured that I have probably sounded really stupid to someone in the past.
    However, some of the responses, like, “I wrote the book.” and “Do you know who I am?” are very funny. he he he.

  417. This reminds me of an anecdote I read of a woman who was criticizing the way a demonstrator was spinning. She kept saying, “That’s not the way my grandma did it.” The demonstrator finally had enough (after the requisite politeness) and said, “Then your grandma was a lousy spinner.” Gotta love it!
    I do think you should keep riding the subway until you come across her again, then drop one of the above pearls (rude or otherwise) on her. Just for the satisfaction.
    Even better–does your local newspaper have a reader’s column in which you could relate this funny tidbit, then go on to educate the community about the difference between knitting & crochet? Wouldn’t that just frost her?

  418. You said “Usually, when this sort of thing happens, I have a brilliant retort. Not then of course, I never have one then….but way later, maybe 3am, when I sit straight up in bed and think of a brilliant, but now entirely useless comeback.”
    There’s a word for this! It’s French, of course: esprit d’escalier, the wit of the staircase (the idea that comes to you as you’re leaving)
    Also, I think you really only have two options: bust out laughing, or adopt your most helpful tone and say “ah, well, crochet uses a hooked needle, where knitting uses straight needles. If you look, you’ll see that I have straight needles, even though they don’t look like normal knitting (single-pointed) needles. These are called double-pointed needles, and they’re good for knitting a tube, which is what you want to do if you’re making socks. I can see why you were confused.” But really, I think laughter is the best approach there.

  419. I’m afraid my knee-jerk reaction would be to say with a blank look, “So do I. I’m knitting.” Simple reiteration probably wouldn’t get you anywhere, though.

  420. I can only think – what a horrible day that woman must have been having. What other excuse for that kind of resopnse.

  421. Stephanie, sometimes violence is truly the only answer you need. It’s the first haven of the gobsmacked.
    I’d have responded with my usual comeback to openly expressed stupidity: “You’re so pretty.” In a sweet, sing-songy baby voice with my head cocked to one side. I might have pinched her cheek.

  422. I like some of the comments, especially “I wrote the books” but I’m sure I would have said “Okaaaaayyy, whatever.”
    I’m not one for clever comebacks either. Silence was probably the correct course.

  423. I have no response for your situation, but I can feel your pain.
    Last year I was at a local store, getting ready to check out. The little girl in front of me (age 5 ??) was doing a sprightly dance while holding her brand new goldfish.
    “I can’t believe I’m getting an animal of my very, very own”, said the little elf.
    To which her mother replied,(very superiorly, I might add), “That’s not an animal, its an amphibian.”
    I stood there doing a fair imitation of a gold fish myself, when the mother leaned over to the checker and said, “We feel its important to only use the proper words for things, that’s why XXX and I have decided to teach her at home.”
    I’m a homeschool mom, but even I would have said, “Send that little girl to school”.
    Know-it-alls are bad enough, but idiot know-it-alls are worse.

  424. I think I would have winked at the child (I’m a teacher) and whispered “it’s knitting” and smiled.

  425. (Sorry, I haven’t ready through all the comments, so I apologize if this has already been said.)
    Well, it was a true statement that woman made, “I think I know the difference.” She did think that! 🙂 So I guess one could agree with her, if one couldn’t think of anything else that wouldn’t seem rude.
    “Yes ma’am, you certainly do!” *smile*
    (I also would have been stunned silent I think. Or given a look of some incredulity.)

  426. The comments have been entertaining to read. Some of them have made me laugh out loud. However…I’m sure there was a look of incredulity on your face that spoke louder than any words.

  427. Poor miserable woman, to treat a stranger like that. However, it’s interesting to watch myself in response to this story: my first reaction is to meet her where she is and one-up her with one of the scathing put downs so beautifully offered here.
    Someone wise once said: “Would you rather be happy, or right?”
    Your response, Stephanie, was actually both.

  428. How about directing a conspiratorial smile and wink toward the little boy along with a stage-whispered “I’m really knitting!”
    If it had been me I probably would have replied, “No, I’m knitting because I’m not smart enough to crochet.” This is true.
    I think you did the right thing by not responding.
    Lastly, I wish Bill Engval would read today’s blog entry and respond. For those who haven’t heard of him, he is a very funny actor/comedian whose trademark routine is about how stupid people should be required to wear signs that say “I’m stupid” so the rest of us will know what we are dealing with. I’d love to read his comment! Actually, it would probably be much like what Tasha posted at 6:15.

  429. The first thing that popped into my head when I read “Excuse me, but I think I know the difference” was “Apparently not.”
    Would I have said that? Probably not. But then again, I might have if I was in a snarky mood.

  430. Wow–Does Canada have a “Dork Day?” Maybe it’s a new holiday and you just didn’t get the memo?
    Sorry–that’s the best explanation I have. 🙂

  431. Court and Suburbancorrespondent were on the money. Pointing out that you have written several books on the subject are the way to go.
    I have never had anyone tell me I was wrong when corrected someone when they called it crocheting. I do, however congratulate any man who correctly calls it knitting. Most guys don’t know or care, and the ones who do should be recognized. Or when they apologize for calling it crocheting, I just say, at least you didn’t call it “sewing.”
    Kids are endlessly facinated by people knitting in public. I have had parents apologize to me for their kids’ interest in what I’m doing. Parents should never apologize for a kid’s curiosity, unless that curiosity involves throwing my yarn out the window of a moving bus! I am never too busy to answer a child’s questions. (well, unless they are MY children).

  432. People like that NEED to be out-snarked (not a word, I’m sure). My response to her would have been along the lines “OBVIOUSLY, you don’t know as much as you THINK you do.”

  433. Can you imagine if the woman overhears two knitters talking about this post sometime?
    Just imagine, yea, even dare to dream that the same woman with son will be sitting nearby & recognize the story.
    Oh, to be a fly on the wall then…
    sigh.
    Nan

  434. ‘And I assure you that I know what I’m doing.’
    Tho I think Court’s ‘I wrote the book’ takes top honors. Along with ‘Don’t let her choose your wife.’

  435. Laugh. It was the very first response, and I think it’s the only polite thing you could have done. Laugh like you just heard a mildly funny joke, say nothing, and go on knitting.
    There’s a chance she’ll wonder why you’re laughing and ask. Then you can introduce yourself and tell her all about your knitting books. There’s a chance the little boy will ask his Mom why you’re laughing, and again that might make her ask. And there’s a chance she’ll just stop talking to you. It’s a win win win situation.

  436. I’d carry a small crochet project as well. That way, when this comment comes, you can say, “Oh, I’ve been doing the wrong project, I’ll get out my knitting now.” Put the knitting away, get out the crochet.

  437. You just never know about people — everybody’s an expert or so they think! Anyway, I would have been tempted to retort with something along the lines of, “Well, you are right – I am crocheting, but I’m using an ancient, little known technique called KNITTING.” The other comments are right. Nothing you would have said would have changed her mind.

  438. This reminds me of the time i was on a plane and the lady next to me asked what I was crocheting (socks on DPNs). I told her I was knitting socks. She then proceeded to share that she had recently learned to CROCHET. Are you freakin’ serious? One hook vs 4 pointy sticks. I crochet too and pardon me, but me thinks Knitters may be smarter than crocheters. (note the capital “K” and lower case “c”). Just kidding. I love crocheters too – some are even my friends.

  439. I should have added that Stephanie did exactly the right thing, much as I’ve enjoyed all the glorious replies, she did do the right thing. Drat it.
    Besides, you know that woman wouldn’t have believed it if she was handed one of Stephanie’s books, photo side up or not. But it sure is fun talkin’ about it ha
    Nan

  440. You showed much more restraint that I do. My normal response to “what are you crocheting?” is “I don’t crochet, I knit. Crochet uses one needle, knitting uses at least 2.”
    Recently when visiting my tax accountant, I passed the waiting time knitting the toe of a sock (cuff down). His admin (I hope she wasn’t a CPA) asked if I was crocheting an afghan! I replied that I was knitting a sock. She said she was sure it was an afghan, her grandmother crocheted afghans and she knew what they looked like.
    After I got over being stunned – I mean it was an almost finished sock – I daintily took off my sandals, put the sock still on the needles on my foot and waved it in her face!

  441. “A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.” –Bill Cosby

  442. I agree with LaurieM except I would leave out the “Really”
    I would have asked, with seeming respect, “Why do you say that?”
    Because I would really wonder why anyone would say what she said.

  443. I would have said “oh my, I wrote all of those books about the wrong topic!”
    I can’t even believe she would say that!

  444. I loved the comments but there isn’t much you can say to someone like that because no matter what your response, people like that either just don’t get it or don’t want to hear it. She could have learned something new and shared with her son in the bargain. When my oldest son was a little boy, he enjoyed watching me work on my knit and crochet projects. One day he was watching me and said “I love it when you’re yarning, Mom”. You could have said to this woman “Actually, I’m yarning”. I bet she would have said “I think I know the difference between yarning and crocheting”.

  445. Incredulous tone: “Really!!??!! Guess I missed the memo.” Leave her to figure out the semantics.
    You did the right thing to let it go. No clever retort can fix willful stupidity.

  446. The first thought that ran through my mind (if mom was alone) is, “Duhhhhh….ya think so?”
    But since she was with her child, smiling and shaking your head kills them w/kindness.

  447. You can’t make this stuff up. But you could put it in the next book.
    My comeback of choice might be “can you hold on a second while I get my publisher on the phone so you can explain the difference?”. Or maybe “you mean grandma’s been wrong all these years?” Honestly, I would have been flummoxed. And maybe would have invited her for a knitting lesson somewhere.
    YES, NAG.

  448. No snappy retort would have come to me, but my infamous “raised left eyebrow of scorn” would have been pointed in her direction before I resumed knitting. I have to say that I must be terribly lucky because I’ve never had rude comments when I’ve been KIP. I’ve had several polite “Are you knitting or crocheting?” or “What are you making?” but never anything rude. Remind me to be more thankful for that.

  449. i’m rendered speechless just reading that. Just flabberghasted. However I think in person I would have felt all hugely annoyed and then argued it out in an irritatingly rational and polite voice. “Uh, no, sorry, um, crochet is where you take one hook and pull loops of yarn through your work, and knitting is where you take two or more needles and work continously on them until the end of your project, when you bind off. And to be really specific, I’m knitting in the round with double pointed needles, which is exactly what it sounds like…”
    to which she surely would have replied, “well, whatever, I don’t care. It’s pretty much the same thing.” and then hairpulling and such would ensue.

  450. That made me laugh so much!! Reminded me of my favourite TV ad for Telstra Bigpond (in Australia). The man tells his son that the Great Wall of China was built to keep out the rabbits! If you google it you’ll find it.

  451. “That’s funny, my parole officer distinctly said knitting.” [shrug] “But I guess you would know.” You could have then winked and said “I guess they taught you all about it up at the big house. I was only there long enough for the one lesson. It’s definately the thing for prisoners now though, ever since Martha. You remember her and that poncho…”

  452. I think I would have raised an eyebrow, let silence do its work, given her a look that would kill, and would have said “I’m SURE that I do.”
    Especially if this happened at the end of the workday, when I tend to take no prisoners.

  453. Silence was the best answer. The first “rule” we had to learn in nurses training was “You can’t cure stupid.” Grandma

  454. I had an actual conversation at the bus stop today. Got off the train and there was a white haired woman at the bus stop. We exchanged warm smiles and I pulled out my sock (toe up, Cat Bordhi’s Spiraling Coriolis, on 2 circs… so plausibly a kind of sock she’s never seen before). She says ‘what are you knitting?’ and I say ‘a sock’ and she says ‘I’m a knitter…’ and I ask a few questions and she talks about learning to knit socks for the soldiers when she was seven and other interesting snippets, and my bus comes all too soon. Just so you know there were public transport/knitting conversations today that didn’t get the goldfish thing going! mary

  455. You should have Kinneared her as you ran from the carriage and then posted the photo for all of us to see what a rude pig looks like.

  456. For some reason, this reminds me of a conversation I had at a zoo in California back in the ’80’s. The zoo had peacocks which were allowed to run free all over the unenclosed areas. A little boy standing next to me asked him mother, “What’s that?” The mom said, “It’s uhh, uhh, uhh….” I quietly said, “A peacock?” The mom replied, “That’s right! I knew it wasn’t a porcupine!!” I hope your conversation gives you as many laughs in the coming years as this one did me.

  457. Yup, I think that staring with surprise is sufficient retort.
    It’s not her mistake that shook you or shakes me, it’s her insult to YOUR knitting intelligence and experience / her BLIND “self-confidence” (arrogance). The staring exposes that sort of thing.
    Wow.
    Although, I also sort of like: “I’m sorry, do you know who I am???” 🙂

  458. I might have said, “Um, I THINK I know what I’m actually doing.” Or I might have just looked at her with an expression that said, “Ok, it’s a crazy person. Don’t try to have a rational conversation with the crazy person. Just look away…”

  459. Hmm. Perhaps you need to carry a business card that has your name and blog info on one side and a picture of one of your book covers on the other.

  460. Hey Steph, Stay cool, don’t let Ego slip in. YOU know that you were knitting. Does it matter what the other person thinks you were doing?
    Carol

  461. I am like you, usually too dumbfounded to come up with a snappy retort at the right time. That being said, I do agree with everyone who said that politeness is underrated and sometimes keeping your mouth shut is better than more rudeness.
    I wish I had come up with this term, but alas, it’s from the Washington Post’s (I believe–please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!) yearly word contest (it was a funny email going around). The woman is an “ignoranus”: someone who is both stupid AND an ass.

  462. I am stunned!!! See I have this father in law who told me once that he knows more than me about everything! strictly because he is older than I am. and even he doesn’t try to argue with me about knitted items, and loves the felted clog slippers I made him!
    I would have had to be pretty rude to that stupid lady. there might have even been inappropriate words in front of her son unfortunately!

  463. How about next time you slap yourself in the head and say “It is? You mean all these years I’ve had it wrong? I’ve published books thinking this is knitting. Oh the shame of it all! I may have to kill myself….Thank you so much for setting me straight” This should be accompanied by suitable dramatic gestures of despair and an intonation of the most sincere sarcasm. Yeah, I’ve heard it too.

  464. Hope they went into a store at their next stop and the kid asked for a Learn to Crochet book and supplies.

  465. Me…I would have said…”gee…looks just like crochet, but really, it’s knitting! Alot of people get them confused.” and tried very hard not to laugh. Poor boy, having a misguided mother. I wonder what else he’s been led to believe.

  466. Oh, that’s when you slip your hand into your bag, pull out a copy of one of your books, hand it to her saying “see the author? That’s me. I think I know my stuff.” And then just to finish it off, offer to sign it for her. 🙂

  467. I just recently watched Joe vs the Volcano again for the first time in years and now my standard reaction to being gobsmacked is to imitate Meg Ryan’s LA character’s voice and say, “I have no response to that.” I’m not sure what else I could come up with that would be civil. Frankly, I agree with my former Sociology professor who said, “If your mind is already made up, there is nothing for me to contribute to this conversation. We can discuss or debate, but I have neither the time nor the oxygen to waste on arguing.”

  468. I have to agree with a few responses that suggested laughter as the best response. But I’m sure you were too surprised to even chuckle. I would have been. Meeting an arrogant person is never a pleasant or expected occurrence.
    One can’t help but wonder how many other subjects this woman is wrong about, but in her own mind, she is correct. People like that must annoy if not aggravate others on a daily basis.
    Thank you for sharing such a funny story!

  469. I think I would have reacted just like you did. Mouth agape, searching for the right words, when there really are no right words. Anything but a friendly reply would have only shown her son that strangers can be rude. He would have had a view of the situation that started with agreeing with and protecting his mother, given his age.
    It’s fun to think of all of the witty, sarcastic comments that could have made you (generic you) feel better (and would have made me feel better, too). How much better was it for her son and for the world in general to let that woman’s negative energy stay with her, and not be reflected back to her or magnified.
    Namaste.

  470. You should have said, “Um, w w w dot Yarn Harlot dot com. Check it out, you’ll be discussed.” Then you should’ve yelled “And what b!tch?” and then ran away.

  471. When she said “I think I know the difference.” You might have said, “I think you should too.”

  472. I don’t think returning a response in kind (even if witty) is ever justified. However, I do think it’s good to educate or correct, and it can be done graciously. I would think that an appropriate response would be, spoken in a gentle tone, “Actually, it is knitting. I have written x number books on the subject. Knitting is done on needles such as these, whereas crochet is done with a hook.” And leave it at that. (I only threw in the books part because it lends credibility. If it were me in your place, I wouldn’t be able to say that part, but you can. 🙂 It would be good to educate and correct her, as we all need correcting sometimes. If she came back with another reply, I’d either leave it be or respond accordingly (depending on what she said), but I wouldn’t be inclined to let error stand.

  473. you look at her and say “you’re right, i’m crocheting, and the sky was green today, and andrew jackson is the king of england” and leave it at that.

  474. This has happened to me many times. I say, “No, crocheting is done with a hook, and only one loop. This is knitting.” If they press me on it, I get out the crochet hook (which travels along for fixing loose ends) and crochet a bit to demonstrate. The child is fascinated; the parent is chagrined. I do my best to not belittle the parent, just to explain the difference, especially to the child.

  475. Her: Excuse me…I think I know the difference!
    You: Very true…that’s just the problem…

  476. I’m not exactly sure how close to you this very knowledgeable person was sitting, but you might have been able to say something along the lines of, “Oh, you must not be able to see it clearly from there. These are needles, and if I were crocheting, I would be using a single hook instead.”
    Not sure if even the intrepid Yarn Harlot will be able to read this far down in the comments (!!) but thought I’d give it a try.
    silence is good too…

  477. I am usually sarcastic, so I probably would have used my favorite phrase (that I use almost daily at work) – “You cannot fix stupid”. Just as when someone talks to me while I’m reading and I have to ask “Am I reading too loudly for you??” 🙂

  478. You didn’t realize that you, YarnHarlot, had just met the CrackpotCrocheter. She is probably blogging like mad about your ignorance.
    I say if she’s too stupid to know the difference btw knitting and crochet, throwing one of your books her way would be a waste. Unless it hit her ever so slightly…:)

  479. You should have argued loudly with her about it, and if she threatened you with physical violence it’s ok because you had all those pointy crochet needles to defend yourself with.

  480. “And to think I fooled all those people into thinking they were knitting!And got paid for it to boot!”

  481. You could just go over and poke her with your knitting needle and say, “crochet hooks aren’t pointy.”
    Or
    “considering I make my living lecturing all over the world as a knitting author, I might be right on this one.” Of course, she might not believe you.
    Muggles.

  482. I liked suburbancorresponent’s comment about the knitting books. I also think it would’ve been nice to pull out a business card or something with your blog on it to give to the boy.

  483. It’s knitting you dill hole. Don’t fill me with rage. That’s what I would have said , at 3 in the morning.

  484. WOW. I keep trying to think of things, but somehow they all involve accusing her of being a hooker. Pun intended. Maybe she was misguided many years ago by her own mother or some authority figure.
    Her poor son.

  485. “I”m sorry, ma’am–I guess I’ll just have to change the title of my next book.”
    But that’s the polite thing to do. I probably would have blurted out, “Are you shitting me?” And walked away. Unfortunately, that probably would have been seven-year-old notwhithstanding. I’m evil. I’m sorry. I’ll go now.

  486. I favour an eye-roll in the kids’ direction and stage whispered “Google knit and crochet”.
    Pork (somewhere way up there), I’ve also responded to racist or abusive comments with a blank face and question about who is THEY or what exactly does she mean by saying more people need to spank their kids. Often, when pressed to explain, the inappropriateness or silliness of the statement become clear to the speaker.

  487. You have to hand it to her, there are many people out there that really don’t know what they are doing! I bet she is convinced you are one of those!

  488. There’s no telling what else that poor little son of hers has learned wrong. Good thing folks like you write books to straighten them out later in life.

  489. To mother: I’m sure my publisher will be gratified to know that they’ve been marketing my books wrong the whole time. That’ll probably change next summer’s book tour, too, huh.
    To child: Run while you can, before you find yourself fifty years old, living at home, taking care of the cats, and watching Wheel of Fortune on a Saturday night.

  490. I kip a lot and people often get it wrong. I just smile and say, “No, it is knitting. I don’t even know how to crochet, but they are very similar.” I wouldn’t even be concerned about what the woman said. She may be totally embarrassed that she got it wrong. Hopefully her son will ask more questions about it at home or school. Then he may learn how to do either one or the other and show his mother.
    Of course, under my breath (or probably just in my head) I would have said, “Sphincter says what?” Knit on Wayne. Crochet on Garth.

  491. Well, this is completely rude, but the first thing that came to my mind that I would have liked to have said had I been in your position would have been something like, “Do you think you also could tell the difference between your @ss and a hole in the ground?”
    Maybe not…but, you know, people don’t like to be wrong in front of their own children. Oh, well.
    Smiles,
    Erin

  492. you could do the thing from Camp Rock where you make a W-E-M-L with your hands on your forehead?
    what
    ever
    major
    loser!

  493. I think “Nuh -uh” was perfect. I haven’t used that phrase in day-to-day speaking for several decades. I’m going to try to reintegrate it to my vocabulary. Thanks for reminding me of a really great way of stating disagreement.

  494. After reading a lot of the comments I realized this woman is the exact same woman that has many incarnations within my work. They come into the store, have been there before, and then presume to know my job better than I do. I always just smile, nod, and say “Yup” even though nothing could be more rude.
    However, in a knitting matter on the bus…where I’m not getting paid to be pleasant…
    If I couldn’t think of an immediate response it would be a whispered “Right”. My lips would tighten into one of those ‘trying not to say anything’ looks as my eyebrows went up and if I could make eye contact with someone nearby I would shrug as though to telepathically connect with them saying “I don’t know what that person’s problem is. Go figure.”
    But, if I was feeling gutsy it would be a straight-forward explanation after a moment of silence. Not forceful, just a pleasant, “Crochet uses one hook. Knitting uses two or more needles. It’s alright. Lots of people get them confused.” A nice smile afterward before going straight back to my knitting. She can do the math.

  495. How about, “It’s never to soon for a kid to find out that their mum can be wrong.”?
    FYI, Manon is brilliant. It’s the first time I’ve seen a peplum actually compliment someone’s arse. People who are afraid of wearing orange don’t know what they’re missing : )

  496. I would probably have choked laughing and reminded myself of one of my Dad’s favorite sayings: “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”

  497. “You can call it what you want, but calling a skunk a flower doesn’t mean that the skunk is a flower.”

  498. How about “Excuse me, I think you don’t”
    Haven’t read all the 500 odd comments above me so this may have already been said.
    Honestly, I have had the “crochet” comment, both when I’m knitting and crocheting but I’ve never had more than a “Oh, yeah, that’s right” when I’ve corrected a mistake.

  499. Could it have been that your hands were moving so quickly that she mistook the blur for crochet???
    By the way, did you see the ORANGE pantsuit that Hilary was wearing last night at the convention?? I guess not, since it probably is not big news in Canada. Bet you didn’t think you had that in common with her!

  500. This happens a lot if not with knitting with clothing and stuff at my old job, video games and stuff at my new job. I usually just furrow my brow and say “Ma’am?” in a very confused way that implies I am ready to bolt awy from this clearly delusional and potentially dememnted person. 15 years in retail I have gotten pretty good at it.

  501. Forget kinnearing… hand the sock to the kid and take his picture. Smile kindly, and let his mother know where she can find it online.
    Then the rest of us will have a face to go with the prayers we should all be saying for this boy for years and years to come…perhaps that way we can help head off the therapy we know he’ll need…

  502. My personal favorite response is looking straight in their eyes and stating (sarcastically of course) “Obviously not” followed by ignoring them.
    I do like Court’s response though about having written the book.

  503. I like Jon Stewart’s all purpose inquiry: “What, are you CRAZY?!”
    (but your readers had some great ones, too.)
    Could you write this incident up for a newspaper feature? She deserves a comeuppance.

  504. I probably would have smacked my forehead dramatically (avoiding sticking a dpn in my eye) and said, “OH MY GOSH. All those KNITTING BOOKS I WROTE were WRONG!!!”

  505. There is a shirt you can purchase threw cafe press that would be perfect to wear for just one of those people it says:
    1.Yes,Iam knitting.
    2.No,not crocheting.
    3.No it doesnt require allot of patience.
    4.Yes,you could do it.Really want to learn?
    5.Yes,I know you can buy sweaters,socks,etc.For not much money.
    What’s the fun in that?
    6.Yes,I’m sure your grandmother did knit for you.Thats nice.
    7.Well,yes,it does require some concentration,depending on the pattern.So could you shut up and let me knit now? Thanks!
    I had a day much like this and you made me smile.Thankyou Hugs Darcy

  506. That very same thing happened to me once. I was having a garage sale and of course what else do you do but knit while you sit there right? And a woman asked what I was crocheting and I said actually I am knitting and it is blah blah blah. Then she asked if I was sure I wasn’t crocheting!!!!!!!!!
    I took the low route and had to argue that I was indeed knitting and I did know the difference and that crochet uses one hook and I was using 4 needles.
    Then she caved and I was VICTORIOUS!

  507. Oh, too bad you didn’t Kinnear her! She would have gone crazy with all the strangers chuckling and waving socks at her…

  508. My vote is for “Really??? I don’t think so. You see, I wrote the book. You can find it on Amazon.” And then hand her a business sized card promo-ing your latest book.
    – Pam (when I first read your post, all I could think of was “You’re kidding me! The nerve of some people.”.)

  509. “Hm. Let me check.” (Dig out copy of Knitting Rules.)
    “Nope, knitting. See?”
    (and yes, I AM widely known to be totally evil in these situations)
    Aside from that, I love NewJerseyLaura’s comment. To the point that my dogs all had to come over and see if I needed first aid, rolling around on the floor like that….

  510. Maybe you could have given her a darwin award, for argueing with the woman with the pointy sticks…
    she must have been suicidal.

  511. I’m definitely with the hand-over-business-card-with-raised-eyebrow response here (sort of Roger Moore as James Bond raised eyebrow look, you know). Or wait! How about submitting something to a local newspaper… it would make rather an amusing, light-hearted letter to the editor, and maybe then the woman in question will actually find out Who You Are, which is after all what makes the whole story so extra-funny.

  512. “Yeah, kind of like how you know the difference between ignorance and fact.”
    If I was quick enough to think of it, that is what I would have said.

  513. I think you did the right thing, there’s no arguing with this kind of rude. George Bernard Shaw said something along the lines of “never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and besides, the pig enjoys it.” I guess he’d wrestled with a fair few pigs before he found out…

  514. “Well, it is certainly possible to crochet socks but in this instance, I am knitting mine in the round on double pointed needles.”
    But that would probably have just escalated an embarassing situation. You see, I agree with Toni at 2:37 – the lady reacted to your challenge to her authority/knowlege in front of her child.
    In which case, silence was probably the most tactful response.*
    You see – I have found, in general, that parents do not like other adults talking to their child uninvited in a public place.
    So if I hear a child asking about what I am doing (I knit on public transport all the time), I wait for the parent to say, ‘Why don’t you ask the lady?’ That way, I know it’s okay to speak to the child. Otherwise, I turn my ipod up and tune out!
    I did once listen to a couple discuss my knitting in a foreign language in front of me on the train. He asked what I was doing and the words that I picked out of the reply were ‘…method…antique…to make clothes…’
    I did chuckle – after all, I guess it’s true?!

  515. Her: “Excuse me… I think I know the difference.”
    You: “Wow – I’m glad one of us does!”

  516. Things like that are like just a little bit of seasoning in a stew. Enjoy it for the comical foolishness, tip a wink at the child and knit on!

  517. Was she perhaps Japanese? I’ve had a look at knitting books in Japanese and the patterns are largely crochet. They all had “knit” or “編み物” (knitting in Japanese) but… they apparently consider knitting and crochet similar enough to call both knitting
    But still! I would have been so tempted to say “so do I, and if you look carefully, you’ll see a distinct lack of crochet hook”

  518. I had a similar thing happen to me. A child of about 7, on a train said to me “I know what you’re doing, you’re sewing. Old people do that.”
    I was speechless, and her mother laughed and thought it was so cute. I was 36.

  519. She probably thinks tiddly-winks is played with manhole covers. Was it cage cleaning day in Toronto?

  520. Amazing! I would have wanted to explain the difference between crochet and knitting needles, but I’m sure it would have come off condescending and really, the kid didn’t need to see that. But how funny is the idea of Kinnearing her or writing an article for the local paper? That? Is genius!

  521. Maybe a redundant suggestion, but here goes:
    “Oh, gee! I’m so glad you said something. See, I’m kinda stuck with my project and since you know how to crochet and all, wouldja take a look at this and tell me where I went wrong?” Then hand her your sock and sit back and enjoy the show.
    Yeah, I’d throw “dumbass” in there somewhere, too.

  522. I ride the train to NYC frequently. I had a woman sit opposite me one day and insist that
    1. I was “doing it” all wrong ( i throw)
    2. I was crocheting
    3. I really should take some lessons
    4. what I was doing was really messy looking (lace shawl)therefore = wrong
    5. the dangers on a train that makes violent stops and starts were of concern to her, and that I should move my seat.
    The answer to all this was a smile, and the drop dead stare until she broke eye contact and moved HER seat.
    Carolyn in MA

  523. Steph, they’re out there. BTW the feeling you had trying to think of what to say and coming up with the perfect retort an hour later is something the French call esprit d’escalier or staircase wit. You think of it as you are going up to bed at the end of the day. Keep reporting the remarks of whackos. It’s fun to read. Lily

  524. My favorite way to respond when someone contradicts you and you’re obviously right is to feign astonishment. Case in point – my college always had a big party on the last day of classes each year. My senior year, I attended the party with my sorority sisters, and all of us in my pledge class were wearing shirts that said “Seniors 2003.” A guy came up to me and said scornfully, “You are NOT a senior.” (I look young.) I said, “I’m NOT??? REALLY??? Oh, NO! It’s been four years of tuition… shoot, you mean I’m not graduating? My parents are going to be MAD!!!!” For you, I suggest the following:
    “WHAT????? This is crocheting???? But… but… all those books I wrote about knitting! Excuse me, I need to put in a call to my publisher and get this sorted out IMMEDIATELY! THANK YOU!!!!!”

  525. Give her one of your cards and say, “I’m Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, also known as Yarn Harlot. Please visit my blog in the next few days as I’m going to make you famous!”

  526. You could have been facetious and said, “Really, and all this time I thought I was knitting”. Of course, don’t forget the sweet smile on your face when you say it…… hehehehe Humans…too funny….

  527. Wow, so many memories come flooding back. When I was a long distance operator for sprint years ago, one of the things we used to help people with was international dialing b/c people in the US are hopefully ignorant about dialing other countries. I had one man call me and ask me, “how do I call alaska? i’ve never called internationally before”. I explained to him that, “and you’re still not. Alaska is a state. has been for QUITE a while now. just dial it like any other US number.” He then proceeded to berate me for about 20 minutes about how i was just some dumb operator and obviously lived in india or something b/c alaska was most definitely a part of canada. I then explained to him that even if that WERE true, which it’s not, that canada is in the same north american dialing format as the US is ANYWAY. He swore at me some more and hung up. The alaska question used to come up a LOT, (sad, no?) but he was the only one who didn’t believe me when i explained that alaska is a state.
    My other favorite correction was also working for sprint. In one of the help files we used, they talked about the “providences” of canada. I explained to my manager that they needed to fix that b/c they are “provinces” not “providences” and she didn’t believe me either. Fun times.
    most of the time there are no good ways to correct someone who doesn’t WANT to be corrected. I vote for “i wrote the book” and then diving into… “well actually, books. and my very popular blog. and of course, the speeches at the yarn shops and bookstores i did as part of my most recent book tour. and the speech at the knitting guild i did. if you want to give me your mailing address i’ll send you a signed copy of my newest book! or the knitting calender. Forgot about that one….” =^)

  528. I’m sorry…but, in my circles, we call it KNITTING (caps denote raising of voice).

  529. You know, as small as the world is, if this story were repeated often enough (especially by people in your area) it would probably get back to the lady concerned…
    Just a thought!

  530. I vote for not saying anything – nothing you could have said would have changed her mind and all you would be doing was opening yourself up to some stranger taking out all their worldly frustrations on you. There is not correcting or teaching her, so engaging serves no purpose.

  531. I could never in a million years come up with an appropriate kind but corrective remark under those circumstances. After the fact and given time to consider, I hope that I would point out that it is hard to tell at a distance, but I was using short double pointed needles without a hook at the end. They may look like crochet hooks, but they are really just another kind of knitting needle, especially for socks.
    I have confess that this response came to me thanks to the questions offered by a previous responder–I think it is brilliant to ask, “now why do you say that?”

  532. I think you had the best response. At least you’ll know that when she figures out she was wrong (and either she or her little boy will), either she will realize it and maybe be embarrassed, or her son will realize that her mother was *wrong*. He’ll treasure it.

  533. You could have said just a little loudly “Oh, you are a hooker then, and I am the Yarn Harlot.” while putting out your hand. I think she would have been doing the guppy thing.

  534. You probably did the right thing, but it would have been fun to take a bit from comedian Bill Engvall and say “stupid people should have to wear a sign that tells everyone they are stupid so nothing is expected of them.” Then hand them a button with “I’m stupid” printed on it and say to the woman “and here’s your sign”.
    Not very nice, but it would have been fun.

  535. Ouch!
    I hope her child learns how to be an independent thinker!
    I would probably have had the same reaction, stunned silence.
    Really, if someone’s going to be THAT arrogant about her ignorance, best to leave her blissful and happy in it. NO argument would change her mind!
    Of course, you could have asked for her address and sent her a list of your book titles.

  536. I’ve actually had a similar exchange, except it was a husband who asked about the craft, not a son. I looked at him and answered him by saying “Crochet needles have a hook on the end and knitting needles have smooth points.” I left it up to them to decide which sort of needle I was using!
    The work involved in helping the Mom in your story relax enough to hear is probably beyond the scope of a subway ride–but you didn’t increase the stress in their lives, so you are a kind person indeed. You know, at least “do no harm.”
    Cheers!

  537. I would have looked back at my work, smiled,raised my eyebrows and said, “Alrighty then!” Or, “you use knitting needles to crochet with? Huh, I’ll have to try that.”

  538. Wear a shirt that says ‘THIS is knitting’ with an arrow pointing to wherever your project would “be” were you to be holding it.
    Sort of like the ‘I’m with stupid’ shirts, but much more informative.
    I personally would have snorted laughter and said “Sure…okay”

  539. No response is best for all concerned. Nothing will change for her and you will not have wasted any energy.
    I feel sorry for her child.

  540. People ask my what I’m crocheting every once in a while and don’t bat an eyelash when I say I’m knitting a (insert whatever I’m knitting).
    The one that gets me is “You are not doing it right” or “If you do it this way, it would be faster…” I’ve gotten pretty good at informing them that I don’t want to change techniques in the middle of a project. They always look disgruntled, but getting and maintaining gauge is hard enough without someone else trying to knit a few rows in a different knitting technique to spice up the challenge.

  541. Perhaps she had never seen anyone knitting with thin needles and they looked more like crochet hooks to her. But the best answer was silence.

  542. I think you handled the situation well. If you were to correct this mom, she would have said something to her child later that would have reinforced her being right and your being wrong. Perhaps he’ll remember your comment about knitting and how you allowed her retort to sit there without a response, thus not escalating the situation. He’ll need that skill to get through his childhood.

  543. My husband’s response is priceless… he suggests to just smile and say “oh, excuse me for interrupting your taxi ride…” 🙂

  544. I’ve got one for you. I was in a bookstore looking at books about Autism. I had my now eight year old with me. A TOTAL stranger started to loudly insist that my son wasn’t autistic because ‘he makes eye contact’.
    Thank fully he was only four and had no idea what the woman was talking about (niether did she). Because he was RIGHT THERE, fcol, I didn’t reply.
    I think you did the right thing. I could have explained to this moron all about how, yes, he was and refferred her to all kinds of specialists he’d seen, blah, blah. But at the end of the day, she was a stranger and this was my son.
    It wasn’t worth it. I admit, almost five years later it still pisses me off. But, like others have said, if the boy hasn’t already found out his Mother is insert favorite expletive here yet, he will soon. For now, he can think (as she does) she hung the moon.

  545. I probably would have answered, “Really?” and gone the way of Pork With Bones, engaging her in conversation, getting her name, then as I was leaving, “Oh by the way, you’ll be on my blog.”

  546. Well, this sort of thing happens all the time! It doesn’t matter what craft I might be doing either. If I am tatting, someone calls it crocheting. If I am bobbin lacing, someone calls it crocheting, or tatting. When this happens I go into teacher mode. Usually I have the tools for each craft with me and a sample of each technique. I often wonder if “crocheting” has become the generic term for all the needle arts. How sad to think that these wonderful art crafts have been reduced to one generic term. No wonder folks think they are “lost arts”! Perhaps with the resurgence of Knitting (which I have seen)Jane/John Q. Public will know the difference. Knit on.

  547. “Oh, have you crochet any socks lately?”
    (I know that some people DO crochet socks and I mean no disrespect to those reading who might do so, but really, since when is she the expert? And socks are usually knitted)

  548. Stephanie, I work in a library and I get comments of this ilk occassionally. Don’t make a confrontation outof it but DO shine light in the darkness. Just say, cheerfully, that you have been knitting since you were 8 and you love it and you do crotchet occassionally with a crotchet HOOK but knitting with knitting NEEDLES like this is your favorite thing to do…. chat, blather, SMILE!

  549. I think I always feel more upset with myself when I don’t say something in a situation like that. Taking the charitable view, perhaps she was caught off guard or having a bad day and snapped when she normally wouldn’t have. Maybe just agreeing with her that dnps don’t look like regular knitting needles and then explaining how they work would do the trick?

  550. I think you were kind not to say anything to her. I mean she would lose face in front of her son.. However I believe that likely she went home and realized her mistake, and turned red. It would be even better if she then realized she had offended one of the goddess of knitting in this world. Ahhhhh we can but hope she runs into one of your books and turns immediately beet red in a Barnes and Noble or some such place.

  551. She was probably just annoyed that you corrected her in front of her son…I find that some parents hate to be wrong in front of their children, which is silly since she would have been better off taking a moment to learn the difference. It’s amazing how making mistakes leads to learning…knitters and crocheters certainly know that! As for your response, you were better off looking like a goldfish because nothing can usually be done with people like that.

  552. You might have whipped out a pen and started writing while
    laughing hysterically that you absolutely HAVE to put this in your
    NEXT knitting book and that your blog fans are just not going to
    believe this one. Thank her for a great laugh, introduce yourself (so she can look you up later), then go back to your knitting giggling helplessly to yourself.
    And yes, I am evil. ; )

  553. I apologize if someone else has suggested this (I haven’t the time to read all of the comments above), but I would have said, “Oh really? I always thought that I was knitting, since I am using knitting needles. Could you please explain the difference to me then?”
    Ah, Muggles!

  554. You need business cards. Then if this ever happens again, just hand her a card & drawl, “Heeere’s your sign!” (For you “crocheters” north of the border who don’t know that southern comedian — his famous schtick centers on people saying really stupid or obvious things to which he hands them a “stupid” sign — “Heeere’s your sign!”) (OK… uhhhh… maybe you’ve just got to see it.)

  555. I’m comment 647, so I’m guessing I’m not the first to bemoan the fact that you didn’t have a copy of one of your books with you.

  556. I have to say this is my favorite response:
    “…Maybe on your planet, on Earth it’s knitting” I laughed for 10 mins on that one.
    Thanks!
    I had to read as many responses as possible since I couldn’t actually believe I read your post correctly. Some people are just “special”. Silence is the best way to keep them at bay.
    Kudos to you!

  557. OMG… I would have just whipped out one of your books, autographed your picture for her and said nothing. Then I’d just sit back and wait to see the look on HER face when she realized just who she was dealing with… How funny…

  558. While not saying anything is a perfectly wonderful response, here’s another one that might have worked. Slap own head. Say, “Of course, I’m crocheting. Silly me, and look I’m using my knitting needles. Wow, do you crochet? Have you got a hook I could borrow?”

  559. Once while on the MAX train in Portland a young man came up to me and told me his Grandmother knits like I did. I was delighted made several “that’s great” type remarks, time passed between us and he told me “his Grandmother was smarter than I was” I told him I didn’t doubt it, “yeah my Grandmother knits with 5 needles you are only using 4” apparently that is the bench mark for intelligence, so you are smart…….
    I am never surprised by the “public” and always wonder how wonderful it must be to be “right” all the time, poor dears.

  560. I particularly liked “Son, don’t let her choose a wife for you” and “I’m SURE that I do”.
    I feel terribly sorry for her son. The sooner he learns that she pretends to know what she’s talking about when she really doesn’t, or that she BELIEVES she knows what she’s talking about when she really doesn’t, the better. And I don’t care a whit if it makes her life more difficult for the next 10 or so years. I’d love to be the fly on the wall when she tries to tell one of his teachers that pi = 3.

  561. My favorite response for that type of person is “Clearly you know more about it than I do.”

  562. I read a quotation recently that I try to remind myself of in situations like this (hillarious!) one: “The only fool bigger than the person who knows it all is the person who argues with him.” But I sure do enjoy reading some of these great responses! Perhaps you could have said to the little boy – “well, I’m *making* a sock, I call it knitting.”

  563. If I were having a good day, I’d (1) check to be sure she’s serious, then (2) burst out laughing. If I were not having a good day, I’d just fume. Then laugh later, when I remembered who I was.

  564. “Excuse me, but I think I know the difference.”
    -shocked look, followed swiftly by one of dawning realisation and supreme gratitude-
    “Oh my goodness. That WOULD explain why the patterns I keep writing and buying never work out like everyone else’s.”

  565. The closest I can come to civil isn’t terribly clever but would let the mother save face. “I don’t think you’ve looked closely enough, see 4 knitting needles not 1 crochet hook.” In reality I probably would have just goggled at her or burst out rudley “I don’t think you do!”

  566. Are you any good at the “incredulous laugh”? You should practice immediately because it WILL happen again. The answer to her comment would be, “Clearly you DON’T and I suggest you stop before you sound like a complete idiot.” Then you can throw in the comment about writing the book. Cheers.

  567. I was speechless reading it..like you I would have gaped at her — speechless in the face of such stupidity…

  568. With panic: “Oh no, you caught me! You’re the first person in x years who’s figured it out!”
    With paranoia: “Or so the RUSSIANS would like us to believe.”
    With sorrow: “Yes. But I like to pretend that I’m sophisticated enough to knit sometimes.”
    With amusement: “Yes, you seem to know the difference between knitting and crochet as well as you know the difference between good manners and bad.”

  569. Hee, this reminds me of the time my dd & I were standing in line to get some last-minute class project supplies. Last-minute because the teacher didn’t tell the kids any earlier. As we discussed this, a woman behind me told us “a teacher wouldn’t do that. You (to my dd) must not have been listening.” Knowing how disorganized this teacher had been alllll year and how she operated, I turned around and said “You don’t know this one.” Sorry, Steph, I don’t have your restraint.

  570. I would have said O..K..??? and then tried to stifle my laughter, as i gathered my things. Then shuffling away to a different seat I would have let loose a howl of laughter like a crazy person. This is easily the funniest thing I have read in a very long time!

  571. You did good Steph. Nothing can correct rudeness and bad manners. That poor child…..I wonder if he knows where eggs, bacon, milk, orange juice and fruit come from.

  572. While the idea of wiping out books or business cards is appealing, it would only work for Stephanie. What would Jenny-Average-Knitter do? The high road is the best road, esp. with a child involved. A vague smile, a quiet, “Really?” Any attempt at reason would be wasted on this woman. Will she ever know she is the subject of so many comments? I would love a follow-up post.

  573. I can’t wait for this woman to see your face on a book and make the connection…
    Next time you need to say I am the f-ing yarn harlot!

  574. How about: raise one eyebrow looking at her quizzicaly, then, clearly ignoring her further, say to the little boy — in French it is called “tricot” [and add as many other languages as you know], but nevermind what it’s called, here’s what I am doing. And proceed to show him how you are making loops, etc. The teaching experience goes to the one who is curious enough to ask questions.

  575. You know that she wouldn’t have cared, anyway… why waiste your breath! the boy, however, I’d have been tempted to look at him, slightly tilt your head like you’ve got a secret, and in a conspirital (?) tone, say… the most successful people never stop learning! and walk off the bus/train! (or at least to a new seat.
    Good for you, not being rude back.

  576. I would have said it is like the spelling you crochet with one needle there is only one T in the spellling you knit with at least 2 needles there are two t’s in knitting. That is how I explain it to people. Such a pity she did not know the difference.

  577. Best answer would be something along the lines of “may I recommend my latest book ….” (so obviously more than one book).
    but honestly? I’d probably just start laughing, and continued giggling slightly every time I looked up at her.

  578. I think you did the right thing. You let the mom save face with her son. Although, I would have been tempted to pull out a book and start reading. And not just any book, if you catch my drift!
    You took the high road and that’s commendable.

  579. Unfortunately, we are all awash in the current and widespread sea of stupidity, but she is going down for the third time!! You did the right thing by saying nothing…

  580. I’m with Barbara. I would definitely have replied “Apparently not”, or even “Clearly not”, but then I’m a snotty Brit so you’d expect me to.

  581. With mouth agape, direct eye contact, and tone of amazement and benign amusement:
    “Hmm! What a thing to say!”
    Then shrug to yourself and continue knitting.
    This response is probably useful in a wide variety of contexts. 🙂

  582. Some people just can’t take being wrong, especially if front of their children. I’m afraid any snappy comeback may have turned into a rabbithole of an arguement. You could have said that you were en route to speak to a knitters guild. Wouldn’t they be disappointed when you pulled out a project on “crochet needles?”

  583. How about: You’re right of course and by the way, your DAUGHTER is priceless…

  584. I applaud you for saying nothing. Setting her straight is just another form of doing what she was doing–being rude and having to be right.
    Also, I know someone with such low self-esteem that she can never cope with being corrected. If that is this woman’s situation too, she has more problems than not knowing crocheting from knitting, and it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t. Imagine going around feeling that crappy about life and then having someone one-up her or take her picture and put in on the internet? No, no. Your kind silence was just right,Stephanie, plus you entertained all of us on the blog. Perfect.

  585. Your response was perfect! There are so many very ‘special’ people in the world and she is one of them. Be kind, they can’t help it. Like the many ‘special’ people who upon learning my son is deaf, ask me if I know Braille.

  586. “Well, I’m following the instructions in this book called Knitting Rules, and I’m fairly confident the author knows what she’s talking about,” while showing her said book.
    PS Mike says hi

  587. What’s the world coming to? That lady is right up there with the Northern toilet tissue that had ladies quilting the tissue with knitting needles…correct motions and all. Sheesh.

  588. Perhaps you could have looked thoughtfully at her and said, “Ah, how fortunate for you. And since I know the difference between rudeness and good manners, I’ll just wish you a good day.”

  589. Laugh and hand her a business card with your blog on it——-
    mostly I would laugh . . . or so who died and made you queen of the yarn pile chica!?

  590. Perhaps she lives in an alternate reality in which “knitting” uses one instrument that resembles a hook and “crochet” uses two pointed sticks. Hey, it could happen. 🙂

  591. You know what the worst thing about this kind of situation is? It burns so much energy over such a simple thing. I find I work myself into quite a tizzy thinking up all the clever things that wouldn’t make a dent anyway. I just get mad thinking that she’s sitting there thinking other thoughts going calmly on her self-assured way, and the rest of us are smoldering at a slow burn, helpless. I hate that.

  592. Oh . . . see, that is where my mouth would get me in trouble. You would have had to come to the US to bail me out.

  593. “I’m sure you do”.
    Then smile at the boy in the way that 7 year old boys understand very well that means “She has NO IDEA what she’s talking about.”
    😉

  594. I probably would have reacted like I do with some of my students…the “ooook” with the look that says “yeah, you’re REAL right on that one” and then started laughing. “You just pat yourself on the back then lady…” I had to laugh though because just yesterday I was talking with some other teachers about how I wanted a quilting room, and they said, “You need a whole room just to make socks?” Oh dear…

  595. Draw yourself up to your full height, get a haughty look on your face, and say, “Excuse me madam, but are you calling me a hooker?”

  596. I think you should have taken a picture of her with your socks and captioned it “Crocheted Socks and the Woman Who Set Me Straight.”

  597. Hand her a copy of one of your books and then quote the immortal Ron Burgundy and say, “Well, agree to disagree.” (See “Anchorman”).
    P.S. – San Diego means “whale’s vagina”.

  598. I would have laughed, too. Not in a “point and cackle” sort of way, I think I’d have chuckled to myself and said something “okay, then.” I’ve learned over the years that there are people who can’t stand to be laughed at and the sort who can’t be wrong are the worst for it. Just a little giggle probably would have riled her more than anything you could have said. And the little boy probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it.

  599. You handled it perfectly. I told my fabulous boss that she had to read the post because it was applicable to an employee that she has to deal with on a regular basis. This employee who is a colleague of mine, but not one of my direct reports, always is right and can’t be taught and doesn’t read what you send her. My boss thought the post was hilarious and right on the money. So your fame spreads to those who do no knitting at all.

  600. I find it is best not to converse further when someone demonstrates that clearly that they are insane, no matter how much you might pity the child. So you did the right thing.

  601. She was definitely suffering from a bad case of the DickHead Virus…so it’s best that you didn’t respond. There’s no telling what a person with the DHV will do when provoked! I’m so sorry to see that the DHV has spread to Canada.

  602. Not sure if anyone has already suggested this as I did not read all of the very funny responses before mine but I would have handed her the sock and said “Since you know the difference perhaps you’d like to demonstrate”.

  603. You did well. The wonderful Elisabeth Elliot once said “Remind me that not everything needs to be said, and there are very few things that need to be said by me.”

  604. I agree–you coped very well. I think I would have wept. Or maybe asked her to elaborate and show me what she thought knitting actually was.

  605. “Really? Because I’ve been knitting these socks on four knitting needles for many years now and up until this very moment, no one has ever told me that I was crocheting. Boy! am I going to be in BIG trouble with my publisher.”
    Is what I might have said, though in truth I probably would have been just as stunned as you at her response and just stared at her with my mouth opening and closing.
    I like the “I may be the Yarn Harlot but I am no hooker!” comment. (Though I would never have said it….outloud)

  606. “I’m a famous knitting book author, I know the difference, and you’re making a fool out of yourself in front of your son”

  607. Well, the only civil response is no response. Answering rudeness with more rudeness creates more rudeness. And who needs more rudeness out there? Especially in front of her kid. So, take the line you didn’t answer because you were being deliberately civil, rather than struck speechless.
    (That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it)
    Or maybe just “Really.” And leave it at that. To be somewhat less civil.

  608. Days, weeks or months from now she will remember the conversation, discover her mistake and blush retroactively. She’ll feel worse then than you could ever have made her feel if you had said anything.

  609. Barb @ 2:08 posted: That poor child…..I wonder if he knows where eggs, bacon, milk, orange juice and fruit come from.
    Don’t they all come from the supermarket?

  610. Wow, over 700 comments! I’m sure this woman’s ears are burning. She just didn’t know who she was messing with – did she?

  611. Reminds me of the time I was taking an elderly woman to a meeting. I didn’t know her very well and we pretty quickly ran out of things to talk about. She was in another organization with my mother and so I said, “I think you know my mother.” She said, “Oh, who is she?” I told her my mother’s name and she replied, “Oh no, she doesn’t have any children.” At that point I conceded the conversation!

  612. Well, regardless, I would think that a few butter tarts later one would forget the whole affair.

  613. This reminds me when my friend was crocheting and her neighbor insisted she was knitting. She said that’s how her grandmother used to knit, she used just one silver needle! My friend couldn’t tell her otherwise, she was knitting and that’s it!!!