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“You’re a what…?”

“And how’s school going?”

“So, what are you doing with yourself?”

“What are you working at these days?”

“How’s the (cue vague knitting-type hand movements) …job?”

This is the procession of questions I have heard every 6 months since I turned seventeen and was diagnosed with an auto-immune illness. Every half year, as sure as the solstice, my doctor will check that my diabetes is behaving itself – she’ll check my weight, take blood, look over my most recent readings, check my injection site for any skin irritation, quiz me on my sick day protocols, tickle my toes to make sure I’m not losing any feeling – and as the notes fly and the food-related questions burble forth, she’ll ask how work is going.

“Work” is something I’ve had to explain frequently over the years as my doctors changed or misplaced my personal details amid a plethora of others they’d be seeing that day. “Work” is something that frequently comes up at family gatherings and parties. “Work” is a question I can barely escape and can rarely explain without caveats and corrections and the gratuitous use of white boards or flip charts or other people’s wine glasses.

You see, crochet design is a baffling concept for anyone outside our crafty, cozy bubble. Usually, I reply “Oh, I am a crochet designer,” when asked, but that invariably leads to confused puppy face – tilting head and all.

Each time I explain that I design crochet patterns and that I write up the instructions; “similar to a cake recipe”, I’ll say, “I take photos, lay out charts, record technique videos on YouTube and then people who want the thing I’ve designed can buy the instructions and make their own”.
It’s not uncommon that visual aids are necessary before the concept becomes clear. Luckily, I usually have a half-finished project to hand.

“What do you do?” is inevitably a question that strangers regret asking me. Whether they like it or not, they end up learning more about crochet along the way than they ever wanted to.

“Crochet is one hook, knitting is two or more needles.”
“Yes, you can crochet socks”
“No I won’t knit you a jumper with my hook” (that’s a topic for another post, isn’t it?)

There have been times that I wish I was just able to say “firefighter” and be done with it if I’m perfectly honest, but I don’t think my 5′ 4″ height would lend much credence to such a claim.

But. Ah, dear people. But.

But. But. But.

Last week, I had occasion to visit my local hospital’s Accident & Emergency department. I’m fine, don’t worry.
“What do you do?” I was asked at reception as I waited to be seen.
“I’m a knit designer,” I replied on a whim.
“oooooooh, that’s amazing. I bet that’s very fulfilling.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather, people. No confusion, no caveats, now white boards necessary. A disappointing dearth of wine glasses, too, for the record.

Now, this may be a fluke, it may be that this one lady was just being polite and had no idea what I was on about. Or, it may be that the very mention of crochet as a viable profession simply short circuits the human mind and leaves many dumbfounded.

I’m not sure. But I sure as hell am going to experiment further.

Ready for your next project? Check these out!

Ard Ri
King Lir

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