On Second Thought

Maybe I don’t want to be a knitwear designer.

It’s not because of the knitting or designing, though, but because of the mean girls and underworld mobsters I might encounter.

The fellas on the right would be much easier to deal with.

As Monsieur Poirot would say, “Please to explain.”

In researching my cabled sweater, I again came upon the name of Janet Szabo, who has written books on Aran cables and Aran sweater design. I found myself on her blog, Big Sky Knitting Designs, looking for a way to subscribe to her newsletter, Twists and Turns, and read this post about why she left the knitting world—to do medical transcription of all things (no offense, Mindy).

She writes:

…the knitting world was beginning to look like a very big version of high school. I didn’t enjoy high school. It was a constant game of “who’s in, who’s out, who’s popular, who’s not,” and the fact that the knitting world was beginning to operate in that fashion made me feel exactly the same way I did when I was 18. I wanted to run in the opposite direction and find a place where I was valued for what I was able to do and not valued for my looks or my ability to schmooze.

I didn’t like high school for the same reasons (and because I’m an introvert), but all the sweet little knitters out there making mittens and scarves and blankies? I’m not seeing it—and I know it’s not because I’m one of the popular knitterati. (Just in case it is about looks, I keep my face out of my design photos.)

That same day, my Google alerts fed me this story about Cutthroat Yarn Shop (not Shoppe, blessedly). That’s really the name of a yarn store in Leesburg, VA.

From the article:

About the store’s name, Ward explains, “I used to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While at the FBI, I learned that the business world can be cutthroat. I wanted my business’ name to be fun, but also make people ask why, and I’ve succeeded in doing just that.”

She used to work for the FBI? Okay, I guess it makes sense to go from hunting down drug lords to helping a knitter hunt down just the right blend of wool for a cardigan. One of my yoga students is a retired army colonel and former batallion commander who fought in Bosnia (thank you for your service, JS). When she retired from the military, she put up a shingle as the local seamstress.

The tagline on the yarn shop’s website: Because Knitting is a Cutthroat Business

I doubt she worked in public relations at the Bureau, because would you really want customers to associate your yarn shop with barbaric murder? Far from “fun.”

These stories haven’t scared me enough to get out of the knitwear business, but going forward, I’ll be wearing my big-girl panties and keeping a shiv in my boot.


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