April 2, 2004
We always knew that knitting was addictive, but it would appear from experiments conducted by this harlot that it is contagious as well.
Hypothesis: That many people, even those who profess to be immune to the charms of knitting are indeed vulnerable to knitting and wool and can be converted to full-on knitting junkies given enough time and exposure to the process.
Subject: My friend Jacqui. Jacqui was the perfect subject as she has made statements in the not-so-distant past like:
-It's not that I hate knitting...I like yours. I've just got no interest in it.
-There is nothing wrong with knitting Steph...but I'm so not the type.
(This scientist will not allow herself to be distracted by the potential in this statement for an exploration of stereotyping and it's relationship to feminism and knitting. It is clearly a red herring designed to distract her from the experiment.)
Method: To expose the non-knitting subject to knitting in ever increasing dosages over the course of years, and document her reaction, if any.
Results: May 2002. Jacqui's son is born and I make the first exposure to knitting in the form of a knitted duckie blanket. Jacqui responds favourably by admiring the blanket but professing no urge to knit.
July 2002: Jacqui still shows no signs of knitting, however she displays some symptoms of increased knitting cognizance. She gives me a knitting book as a present, a very positive sign that she has early onset "pattern awareness".
December 2002: The subject enjoys and appreciates knitted Christmas gift. Expresses desire for more knitted objects. Laughs at suggestion that she "knit her own". Much work still to be done here.
May 2003: Jacqui receives baby sweater for her son's first birthday. Responds perceptibly by beginning to scour yarn sales and drop off knitting materials (patterns, needles and yarn) at my house. Fails to recognize value of "addi turbo" circular needles and instead of instinctively hoarding them for herself, drops them off at my house with a note reading "hope these are ok". I am beginning to loose hope.
November 2003: After a long period of failure, there is again progress. While the subject has still not voiced an urge to knit, she has absorbed the message that "knitted things are good" and is working to procure knitted objects as Christmas gifts for others. I can only hope that it is only a matter of time until she processes the next step.
January 2004: After Jacqui has failed to make any further knitting growth, I decide to re-evaluate this experiment. If only there were a way to increase the dosage and expose her to knitting, wool and fibre on a daily basis, I think we might have a breakthrough. I have tried calling her to discuss knitting each day, but she resists and wants to talk about other things. I have another idea, but it may be too extreme.
January 23 2004: I begin a blog. While it is an enormous commitment, I really feel that to reach Jacqui I must inundate her with knitting material. I plan to get her to read the blog by occasionally dropping her name into it...and applying guilt that she "doesn't care about my interests". This is a crucial time. If Jacqui realizes my motives now...all will be lost.
February 2004: Jacqui asks me to knit her clogs. I am perplexed that the blog is failing to convert her. It is at this point that Jacqui confesses that she is not actually reading the blog, but only "looking at the pictures". I apply more guilt, and make an attempt to increase the seductive quality of the blog pictures. I further increase the dosage by emailing her links to patterns that she would like.
March 18 2004: Jacqui emails me a link to a pattern that she likes. I resist the urge to be gleeful, but note the progress.
March 19 2004: I am having a perfectly ordinary conversation with Jacqui when she says, "You're not going to believe this...but I think I want to knit something". I am staggered. Finally, progress! Jacqui professes a desire to knit Wendy's cat bed. I say nothing, but give her the address to the yarn store. When I get off the phone, I dance a little bit.
March 20 2004. Jacqui calls me from the yarn store, she is having a good time. Conversion is almost complete. I try not to sound to eager. When she asks for a knitting lesson I put her off. At this point withholding the knitting should increase the desire.
March 24 2004: The subject is becoming obsessed with the urge to knit. She goes to the store and buys cheap needles and yarn and works out how to knit from the internet. She knits a striped scarf. The final phase is near.
March 29 2004: After allowing the urge to build for an appropriate period, I allow Jacqui to come to my home for a knitting lesson. I loan her DPNs and Addi turbos and teach her to knit in the round. Jacqui surprises me by showing a clear affinity for the wool. For one so new she is surprisingly good. I am so close to proving my hypothesis. Jacqui leaves with the cat bed pattern, needles and wool. I wait.
April 1 2004: Jacqui emails me this photo.
Conclusion: Given 23 months, a careful plan, access to the internet, a blog and commitment a knitter can be created from your ordinary friends. Jacqui is showing all indications of being completely converted. She is experiencing an urge to go yarn shops, and will engage in conversation about knitting. There has been mention of her "next project" and experienced no dizziness or nausea when I mentioned the possibility of her knitting a sweater in the round. Given the success of this experiment, I am proceeding with my plan to take over the world.
Posted by Stephanie at April 2, 2004 11:16 AM
Who would have thought that knitting could go over to the Dark Side? I'm helplessly imagining Darth Vader in a stunning black, cabled cape with eyelash trim, and Luke with a very fetching fuschia, i-cord trimmed tube holder for his light sabre...
Need more coffe, I think...
Hmmm... so there's hope for my sister, huh? When she first encountered something I had knit she uttered the words that guarenteed her nothing knitted from me "How domestic!" I needed to be restrained from shoving needles down her throat. (OK, I exaggerate.)
Good entry Steph .... 'nuf said!
Congratulations, Steph! Conversion is inevitable. Resistance is futile. Everyone might as well grab their needles now and cast on.
Contagious knitting -- I love it!
Hmmmmm...makes me wonder if I wasn't Jen's little experiment!
Congrats on getting another one addicted. I don't think you could do it to my friends though - they aren't even interested in my knitting and never even mention it. Guess I'm just an eternal embarrassment to them.
Two things -- First, it is also possible to achieve this effect with spinning, as my friend Kristen (who also reads this blog) can attest. First dangle a spindle, encourage the would-be spinner to fondle particularly yummy fibers, then show off your yarn and/or something you knit from "scratch," then casually offer a turkish spindle ... you get the idea.
Second, I think that the Yarn Harlot's knitting is VERY contagious virtually for those who already knit as well. How else can we explain the fact that I have now finished two diagonal garter scarfs from stray skeins of Silk Garden and that I went slightly nuts at our yarn store when they put the Mexican Wave on sale? Or that on my lap AS I READ THIS BLOG is Stephanie's beloved shawl in the works? I even found myself pawing through Nancy Bush's Folk socks last time I was at the bookstore looking for those gorgeous socks.
Shh! What's that I hear? I think that there are Shetland rats about to appear downstairs...
(As an aside, I am coming to Toronto this spring around Memorial Day and want to go to that favorite yarn store. Where is it exactly? I feel I should at least thank the originator of the shawl compulsion!!)
I love to knit and I don't think it is "womans" work, If you came to my house you would see me knitting, not cleaning. Nope. I don't think so. Dust bunnies everywhere. But lots of knitting done!
This is Laurie's friend Kristen. (The one who also has the same birthday as the Harlot; still recovering from that one.) I would just like to enter, for the record, some amendments to Laurie's version of "converting me to spinning."
ME: "Wow, you spin, how cool. I'd love to learn SOME DAY."
L: "Okay, I'll teach you."
ME: "Well, no, not now, I mean I'm really busy, I have a new job, I just moved here, I have no time, I have so much work...maybe next spring?" (said in September)
L: "Come over for coffee."
[Kristen--that is, me--naively accepts invitation. Drinks coffee--with frothed milk. Admires spinning wheels. Thinks spinning would be a great thing to learn...later.]
L: "Put down your coffee. Time to spin."
ME: "You know, I really can't."
L: "Yes, you can."
[At which point Laurie--on whom I have a good 10 inches in height and easily 60 pounds in weight--forces a Turkish spindle and some Corriedale roving into my hands and MAKES ME SPIN.]
The rest is history (and shopping: one wheel, a handful of drop spindles, and way more fiber than I'd care to admit).
Resistence is futile...you will be assimilated! Oh my, did I just show off my geekiness? Great experiment, Steph!
Well, being that no one else said it, the cat-bed is really impressive and lovely. I hope the cat enjoys it. :)
THANK YOU VERY MUCH JULIE!!
So far my cat won't touch it with a ten foot poll. But thank you for the compliment.
a)fabulous entry. as per usual. that does not mean that i will start being bored by fabulous entries. you raised my joy-quotient this day. for this, i thank you.
b)jaqui - what a LOVELY cat bed!!! you might try spray catnip if kitty is 'into' that sort of thing.
oh, and steph - your pictures Are seductive. you evil harlot you! and hey - will you zoo-along with us? you could probably turn out a pig in about 3 seconds. it would be fab, as you were one of the inspirations for the thing! :)
Oohhhhhh, how I love you blog. So very, very good. I am here to say that I miss living in Toronto and being able to go to Romni on Queen street, so because of that I need to ask - have you been there? That store kicks some arse.
And Jaqui, your cat bed makes me want to have a cat, that's how nifty I think it is!
It should come as no surprise to anyone that a Harlot is Contagious!
Steph... I'm Jacqui's favourite aunty and I've been knitting (and crocheting) since I was about 5 years old; which was about ... oh... maybe 10 years ago. OK, OK, FINE!! It was over 44 years ago!!! *weep* I had NO idea that knitting wasn't genetic!!
(Pardon me, I've become verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. The topic is "Jacqui's Cat and The Ten Foot Pole: How will the cat AND Mr Wasylchuk BOTH fit into that bed?")
I'm so proud of you both, I could just pass yarn... over.
Wow... Okay, there is no reason for me to not have a for-me FO at this point. Jacqui has a finished object and she learned AFTER I DID. I can do this. I've been able to knit since mid-February. My stupid BIRTHDAY (over thirty, not yet forty) is in two days. I have half a sock to go before there will be a *pair* o' (fraternally-related) sox for me by me for my birthday. (I would have been done sooner, but there were amphibious foot-shaping issues involved. Ribbit.)
Ninmu ryoukai. There will be socks.
Good luck with further world domination.
Obviously I need a better plan of action for my mother. Right now she's hooked on cross-stitch, which is a wonderful art but it's not knitting!
Jacqui - love the cat bed. Actually, my first thought upon seeing it was "how can I make her knit one for my cat?". Then I realized the wee beastie'd probably spurn the thing...
Try putting one of your sweaters in the basket - it may be because it smells too foreign.
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