Knitters Anonymous

Many professional women have still not come out as knitters! I know how they feel. For many years I never knitted in the view of work colleagues. I thought they would look at me with different eyes and think me not so clever after all!

I have been knitting all my life, but after I started to work I stopped knitting. I really don’t know why, but I was busy and work took much of my attention. Years later I picked up the needles again and I know why; I had a need to be creative and produce something of my own!
I worked in a senior position in international politics for years and worked with members of Parliament and national and international politicians.

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A design developed to wear in a male dominated office environment!

My work involved a lot of travel and that means waiting, being away from home, family and friends quite often and spending evenings in hotels. To create a sense of normality to the life I led I brought the knitting. Watching a movie and knitting in a hotel room is not so different form doing the same at home. But I didn’t knit while waiting in airport or sitting at the back row at conferences. What would people think of me if I did? It would be like Angela Merkel pulling some knitting project out of her bag – what would we think of that?!

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I designed and knitted this while I was an election observer in Belarus.

At one point I was working on a knitting project while traveling and I so wanted to see how it turned out. I took the risk and knitted at the airport. It developed form there; I knitted at conferences picking a seat at the back so no one really could see, I took great care to use wooden needles as they make less sound when I knit. I even knitted at a debriefing when I was an election observer in Belarus! I was no longer a knitter anonymous.

So what was the reaction to my knitting? In general no one commented on it. When people did it was always friendly. At a large meeting in the Swedish Parliament a male member of the parliament came and sat down beside me, telling me that it made him relax to hear the gentle ticking of the knitting needles! It was a heartwarming experience.
To conclude I think a lot of efficient brilliant professional women would like to knit in their down time during the work day. I finally mustered up the confidence to do it. The challenge is that no-knitters tend to think that the knitting takes all the attention and hence you are not paying attention to what goes on around you. We know that is not the fact, but it is useful to keep in mind if you are going to knit at meetings and conferences. I find that people working on their laptop computers during meetings helps justifying my knitting! I am not sure people that switch on their computers during a meeting are paying full attention, but it is very much accepted.

A year ago I made the move to spend more time knitting resigned from my day job. I use all my professional skills to make a living form designing knitting patterns. Strategic planning and networking has served me well and proves that the skills you have can be applied successfully in very different fields.

I am now very proud of my knitting and I believe if I can’t knit in public with pride, I can’t blame people for looking at knitting as a less worthy activity!

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