Thursday, September 18, 2008

The dark side of the knitting purl

In response to my tweet last night, I'm doing a mini expose today on something I call "Project Cupcake," in which I will unveil for you all the seedy underbelly of twenty-something knitting groups. I realize I might have to sacrifice my identity when sharing this with you, but I feel it's important for my readers to know the truth.

I joined my Chicago knitting group over a year go, under the guise that I was interested in knitting. In reality, I just wanted to make more friends and reconnect with the ringleader, who I had lost touch with for over a year. Now I'm neck-deep in a knitting ring full of women I have come to call an extension of my "inner circle" - until it's hazing week. We're an inviting group, welcoming and encouraging people to join us, and after you've shown that you're willing to pledge our group full-time, we beat you savagely in a burlap bag with knitting needles and crochet hooks. Honestly, it only hurts for the first minute. You go numb after.

But once you wake up, you're in the group and there's no leaving. You share things at knitting that you don't always share with family or other circles of friends and no topic is considered taboo or in poor taste. I've watched a woman pump in front of me, heard stories of liquor in "lady areas" and seen a "romantic toy" named Gigi, which is perplexing and not at all arousing. This week there was a particularly eye-opening story about alternate meanings for the words "muffin" and "cupcake," which made me now look different at red velvet cupcakes. By day, we're co-workers and friends, but once we step into the hostess' apartment, it's time to put on our cloaks, bring out the needles and candles and purl to our hearts content...sometimes with beer.

Sure it sounds fun, knitting with friends, ordering dinner and enjoying  glass of wine, but the seedy underbelly of it would shock you. The taunting and teasing (usually from the more-reserved members) is brutal, almost as much as having the class bully sit on your chest and threaten to dribble spit on your forehead. I tweeted last night about my private torture and it was the responses I received from tweet-land that prompted this post. It's enough to make the toughest and meanest people (like me) crack because it's taunting in unison from multiple members. So what if I can't always remember what the difference is between "medium" and "medium rare" meat, it changes from place to place! See the torture forced upon me?

My soul feels cleansed sharing this with you all. I fear now I'll have to carry one of my knitting needles with me for safety but it's a risk worth taking. On a positive note, my legwarmers are coming along nicely though and I'm almost finished with the first one. I need to make progress on them so I can rock those this fall.

In all reality - I love my knitting group. They're some of my good friends and we're a tight-knit group (no pun intended). And yes, I'm saying this out of fear of retaliation. Really though, we've expanded to non-knitting activities, like brunch, and two of us are planning an upcoming trip to Iowa for a Big 10 game. It's fun, unless I'm being emotionally abused.

So am I the only one involved in a group like this? Feel free to share, there's no judgement here.

35 comments:

Caz said...

No I'm not part of one but I'm currently looking for a book club to be part of. Knitting would be a good idea too, never thought of that!!

Being in a new city, with a boyf but very few female friends I'm hoping I can start to build a group of my own friends here. Hopefully I'll have some stories to share soon!!

Rachel said...

I had one, a mommy group. We talked about in-laws, poop, marriages, finances, poop, wine, kids, poop, etc. But mommies are like the popular group in high school, quick to judge and can hold a grudge (look at me, I'm rapping) so I got out. Now I prefer bloggers since we don't see each other everyday. That way I don't get annoying to you guys and if I say anything dumb, hopefully you all were have forgotten by next time....

The Maiden Metallurgist said...

I love knitting, beer and seedy underbellies.

Let me know if you ever have an opening for a new initiate. I can take a beating with the best of them.

PomJob said...

Man, I wish I belonged to a group like that. Sounds like so much fun!

secretlysupergirl said...

Loved this post! I read your tweets last night and wondered how on earth a knitting group can be so brutal!

Aside from the taunting, a knitting group sounds fun...except I can only knit in a straight line and in one color yarn. And I wouldn't even know how to purl. So I'd probably be a group flunkie. Maybe I should branch out this winter...

Ashley said...

OOh, I'm so jealous of this! I'd LOVE to have a group of girls to hang out with and knit with.

I'd be scared to go all by myself to a new group of knitters. Was it nervewracking!?

Oh, knitting.

the dom said...

just remember once u join you're IN forever!

DomestiGals said...

Ok, WHAT! Glad I finally got to read this post after getting your tweets... this is intense! But as long as you are reaping enjoyment out of it, that's the important thing.

I can knit but I only make scarves. Anything other than that takes too much brain power.

xo! Jen

surviving myself said...

Well I was gonna join a knitting club, but now forget it!

Ashley D said...

Hmm... I'm not part of a group like this, but I've always wanted to be part of a book club or something. Now I'm having second thoughts. I don't really like the idea of being emotionally abused while reading Jane Austen. :)

Lovesfool said...

I was just thinking of joining a knitting group today.

Jamie said...

I've always wanted to learn how to knit.

LJ said...

Oh My GAWD! I never knew knitting groups were like sororities :)

LBluca77 said...

That would be fun to join a group, I think I will have to find something I am interested in first.

Can a group be some friends meeting up at a bar for a night of drinking? If yes, then I belong to tones of those.

Paula said...

I'm not sure they have knitting groups in glasgow but i soooo want to join one. :(

ay said...

Woah! I'm a "ringleader" now. I just ordered business cards damn it. I'll have to ammend them now to reflect the change.

Yeah, we're a tough bunch but in my family - if we don't rip on you, we don't love you. Jess is a cornerstone of the group -- hence the severity of ripage. You're such a delicate little flower.

Whoever hosts next month better have a box of tissues at the ready. If my core is off, or my broken tailbone hasn't healed, it's on.

xoxo to the bunch of ya --ay

Kyla Bea said...

I was just asked to join a weavers guild! But a Stitch and Bitch sounds way more fun - even if you're covert ; )

RecoveringActor said...

I don't have an organized knitting group, however, a girlfriend of mine had a "craft party" (mostly knitting) filled with fondue, s'mores, Bruce Campbell, and craftiness... and a bit of gossip. I'm hoping it turns into a regular thing because all of my friends live not in delaware where I am, or in Ireland... so... that's a problem. PS...just found your blog and I think I love you.

Maki said...

Oh I wish I have a group that I'm into.. Knitting sounds so much fun! Actually my daughter who is 4 yrs old has been asking me to learn it. Maybe me and her would start mom and little ones knittig group. But then I need to learn how to knit first!!!! Great post!!

Megkathleen said...

I'm part of a book club that I really like, but it doesn't sound as fun as your group. I like being mean...I mean I like being able to talk about anything.

Nilsa S. said...

I am slightly jealous of you and your group. About a year ago, I threatened to start knitting so I could join a group. Since then, I've gone to a sewing class instead. But, it sounds awesome. When I used to belong to a running group, it was like that - eventually expanding into more than just running pals - and now, one of the girls is going to be my maid of honor!

Katelin said...

i've never joined a group like that, that's for sure. does a cupcake meetup group count though? even though i've only been to one so far, oy.

Angela said...

I really enjoy knitting. My grandma taught me when I was about five years old, and I was REALLY into it for about two years in high school and college. But, I haven't knitted a thing in probably two years, after I finished a sweater I was working on. I'll get back into it though. I'm sure.

And, a "romantic toy?" Who the hell calls it that? I wouldn't consider them "romantic" by any means. Candle-lit dinners are romantic. Vibrators? Not so much....

erin said...

I love knitting, but I have a hard time being motivated to actually keep up with it. Maybe I should get a group...

ToughGirl101 said...

haha, that's a hell of a commeraderie you have there.

Mandy said...

Who knew knitting had such a dark side? No groups but my friends I attempted to have a knitting club in college. All we knew how to knit were beer cozies, so it only lasted a semseter or so....LOL.

lifeintheleftlane said...

I'm not part of a group like this, but it sounds like a ton of fun. I don't know how to knit, but add food and beer, and I'm totally in! :)

maris said...

Wow...my knitting group meets in a coffee shop...and no one has ever brought a romantic toy along. What have I been missing!?

Teal Chic said...

I'm boring I knit alone lol! I've been knitting less than a year, and I still don't like to talk and knit at the same time in fear of messing up!!!

RebeccaC said...

A) Your confusion by "rare" and "medium rare" defintely warranted some comments from the peanut gallery.....but I wouldn't go far as to call it cruel.

B) I'm knitting you a new burlap sack for this insolence.

Cassie & Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cass said...

Oooo, what did I miss on wed??!

Word Perv said...

Hey there, my google reader pulled you so checkin' ya out.

I just moved to my new city and recently connected with some knitters who happen to be in my drinking/running club. We too discuss many-a-crazy things while we knit and purl and drink...

Miss Grace said...

I'm extraordinarily jealous of your knitting group. Since I moved in March, I haven't reconnected with my fellow nerds, and it makes me sad.

K said...

I love anything with a seedy underbelly.