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Keep Calm, and Carry Yarn

11 August 2010
Tilly Flop Designs at Knit Nation 2010

Tilly Flop Designs at Knit Nation 2010

At Knit Nation in July, I saw several variations on the Blitz-era poster “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  Originally a message of encouragement to Britons during World War II, the poster was rediscovered a few years ago and enjoyed a brief revival, partly as a reference to our trying economic times.  Inevitably, variations have sprung up: this summer, I have seen “Keep Calm and Carry On Shopping” bags, “Keep Calm and Drink Up,” tea cups, a “Keep Calm and STFU” t-shirt, and too many others to mention.  [As an aside, the link to the tea cups is for Whittard of Chelsea. One can also buy a Big Ben-shaped teapot at Whittard’s. Give it some thought…]

Knitters, who have a lot of experience Keeping Calm in the face of (knitting) disaster, have their own take on the phrase.  At Knit Nation, Tilly Flop Designs had some good ones on display in the form of greeting cards: Keep Calm and Cast On, Keep Calm and Knit One More Row, Keep Calm and Make It For Next Christmas, etc.  You can see some of them in the Tilly Flop Etsy shop.  My favorite is one Tanis Gray mentioned on Facebook a while back: Keep Calm and Carry Yarn.  [Google stalking revealed that one can have it in a poster or a project bag from JennieGee’s Etsy shop.  Want!]

Old Maiden Aunt Emergency Yarn Keychains

Old Maiden Aunt Emergency Yarn Keychains at Knit Nation 2010

This idea of yarn as security blanket clearly lurks in most knitters’ minds, as evinced by another product from Knit Nation…the emergency yarn keychain from Old Maiden Aunt. Tiny little skeins of yarn with a label and a keychain, these guys won’t make up a full pair of socks, but they will make you feel a little bit happier every time you take out your keys.  I bought one in purple, just ’cause. It made me think of the way, when I was a child, I would carry a book with me everywhere.  Not every trip in a child’s life offers a time to read — for example, a play date with another child — but I remember thinking, even early on, that you just never knew when you might need a book.  [I have a vague recollection of sitting down and starting to read during one of these play dates.  Oh dear…such an introvert, so early on. Let’s not talk about it.]

I got to thinking about the little things we do to survive uncomfortable social situations again a few days ago, while reading Alexander McCall Smith‘s book “Corduroy Mansions.”  In it, a character named William uses one question to get out of uncomfortable discussions with cabbies: he asks, “What do you think of the government?” Either a cabbie feels free to give a monologue on his thoughts about the government, freeing William from the need to talk, or he thinks that William is somehow connected to the government and not to be trusted (in which case our fearful friend is also relieved of the necessity of talking).  William avoids small talk at cocktail parties by wearing one of two lapel pins: one says, “Ask me about Salvation,” and the other says, “No longer infectious.”  Either one gets him lots of space from people who go to cocktail parties to socialize.

Now, similarly, we knitters carry yarn and needles with us, and those of us who knit in public do so in part to let others know knitters come in all shapes and sizes…perhaps in part to fend off people who might want to chit-chat about non-yarn-related matters…but also to attract those who want to talk about that all-important subject, My Knitting and How I Do It.  That’s right  — my introvert qualities go right out the window when it comes to other knitters.  I luurve other knitters, and I luurve talking to them about my yarn, or their yarn, or even my latest error-filled project.  I’d be happy to wear a lapel pin that says “Ask me about Knitting,” or one that says, “No longer addicted to worsted weight yarn,” or even to ask a cabbie what he thinks about knitting.  I will wax not just poetic but positively social when it comes to knitters, knitting, yarn, and related items.  I feel safe in knitting; talking about it is like having that book in my hand, long ago.  I’m safe when I knit, and I feel safe with other knitters.  And that, as those of you who know me will agree, is a minor miracle.

Until next time: Keep Calm, Carry Yarn, and Talk to Another Knitter.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 August 2010 5:33 pm

    Love the emergency yarn keychains! Why don’t I think of things like that?

  2. 15 August 2010 5:49 am

    I know! That’s exactly what I thought.

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