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August 14, 2007



for the black yarn? I'm in *love* with my headlamp ($20 @ REI). Not the most flattering look, but it really gets the job done.


I have not heard of muggles either. I don't like it, because, like you used to be, I'm afraid to sit down at the LYS and knit with everyone. I taught myself to knit and I know someone is going to scoff at me too. I'm not even sure what some things are called, like the "backward loop cast on". I have always felt a little odd in every yarn store I've been into - like going into the fancy clothing store in jeans and flip-flops. One time, I went into the store to buy a larger size needle for a pattern and the lady asked me why I wanted that size. I said because I knit so tightly. She said "Hm. Really? Do you knit continental or English?" me - "I don't know." her - "You don't know? Do you throw the yarn around the needle?" me - "I don't know - I guess." I wanted to run. All I wanted was the next size up needle!


needle_s_ that is


needle_s_ that is


I've felt all the same things you described and agree that naming non-knitters is counterproductive at least and offensive at worst.


what are those round things pictured beside your knitting? This Virginia girl wants to know!


I think the only time I think in an us/them way, is when someone thinks I must be 75 and boring because I knit. They're totally missing the point.

I love the Lychee. They always remind me of summer (I spent college summers in China).


it's to bad your LYS had to be like that, not all of them are!! There was a quilt/knit shop near my house and the knitters in my old knitting group all said they hated going there because the ladies who worked there ignored them... and all of the ladies there had kids my age and grandkids half my age in some cases. I liked the shop very much. I was never shy going in, and I always asked loads of questions. After I came in a few times I was an old friend. If you go into a shop and don't say a word to anyone yeah they may ignore you. Not saying thats right but if you talk to them often times they arn't so awful after all.

Now thats not to say I havn't been in the ones when you did walk in and you had been there 10 times and they STILL didn't remember you or act like they have seen you before, and still acted very rude even when you asked questions... I've experienced that too. Life is filled with ALL sorts of different people. Ah well! I don't like the muggle mentality either, I don't mind the word being used in jest as an insider joke for those who read harry potter, I mean after all anyone who loves those books is in a little club arn't they? BUt its not as though those who arn't have anything wrong with them or should be scoffed at, same with knitting. I love meeting "Kindred" spirits, but I would never make fun of someone who wasn't a knitter or thing less of them.


I'm delurking to say that I completely agree with your very tempered assessment of the word "Muggle." I don't think it's productive to form an "us/them" situation. I remember the sort of haughty treatment I received from yarn store owners when I didn't really know what I was talking about...


hmmm..I've never felt on the "inside" of anything. I remember wanting to knit for most of my life and having to not only bribe my mother but trick her into teaching me how to knit. When a friend wanted me to teach her because she wanted us to be like two knitting grannies (yes...I'm rolling my eyes on that one since I was 21 at the time.)I agreed. I taught her for an entire hour just how to cast on. I even sent her home with a picture book on how to knit. The next day..she came back and literally threw it in my face and told me how stupid it was and anyone who did it was stupid. So...I think even if you're on the inside..people will make you feel like less of yourself. I think it's because they're afraid of losing something. I mean..if all they have is their knitting..and if those who want to do it..can't, then maybe it's about something different all together?


My opinion, for what it's worth is that "muggles" is just another in a very long list of "fad" words/phrases/slangs that people latch onto just because it's fun to say or it lets other people know that, in this case you read HP. Let's face it - not everyone can know everything!! There's probably a bunch of nuclear physicists sitting around calling us non-nuclear physicists muggles too! That's not to say that some people aren't malicious in their exclusivity - because they are. That would include some LYS's, S&B's, blog writers and readers as well as many others. Thankfully, those are in the minority in my opinion because I find the knitting community on the whole to be a very giving and caring group of people. But I don't get out much either...


I'm generally a quiet reader and not a commenter, but now you found my button. Cliquishness (sp?) is far from new in our modern knitting community and frankly, the knitting blog phenomenon was a huge step in that direction. Many of us have noted that certain blogs are in to the exclusion of others. If you don't write a knitting blog you are called out as 'blogless'?! Certain yarns become popular not because they are really outstanding but because they are mentioned on this or that blog and then suddenly you are an outsider if you don't own gobs of that yarn. People are willing to stand in line for hours to get a single skein and not even care what the color is! Heaven forbid if you mention that it's overpriced or that the colors bleed or the yarn doesn't hold up with wear. It's human nature to follow like sheep but that doesn't mean that the shephards leading them have to be self righteous. In fact, a careless shephard is a sheep's worse enemy. I wish some of the current leaders of our hobby thought more about who they lead and less about their own popularity with the 'in' folks.
Note please: I could list more than 6 blogs and 3 or 4 yarns that these comments apply to. Please don't take it as a criticism of any one.


I think you have a very rude LYS. Or maybe I've just been lucky - but most in-person and on-line knitters I've met have been amazingly kind and open-minded. So I just can't see the derogatory connontation with "Muggle" - to me it's just a response to the horror that we all get from time to time from those who don't get it. Muggle=don't presently understand/ignorant. One can choose to learn, or choose not to. It's not a "I'm better than you" thing.

At least it's not for me.


I'm totally with you. I saw the thread on ravelry, and chose not to comment. We should be inclusive rather than exclusive. Exclusivity creeps into so many parts of life, its a shame.


WOW. I went to see the Harlot when she was in town and I didn't get anything negative out of her use of the word muggle other than it was a person who just wouldn't be able to understand our need for a stash....and having a stash that overtakes a room.

I use it when I get that look....you know the one when I am knitting socks and the other person doesn't knit, much less knit socks. I can tell you I am sick to death of hearing that I can purchase 6 pair of socks for $5 at Walmart.

I don't think that I am better than anyone else because I knit socks, I just don't want to hear how it is a waste of time. Sheesh, it is MY time, I will do with it what I want.


I always thought that Muggle was being used in a kind way that actually zings back at knitters -- "we're so weird that normal people don't understand us."

It seems to be a separate issue from the high'n'mighty stuff that certain shops seem to foster. (I've never seen people act that way in the nicer shops.) These snooty people would never use the word Muggle.


I love the way you always want to include people in the knitting pool. I am that way too. I always try to encourage people to give knititng a try- I never think about right or wrong ways of knitting, but rather I am intrigued by the differences. Thank you for bringing light to an exclusionary expression.


I totally agree with you. There are so many things in this world pulling us apart, that I think it's silly and harmful to find more reasons to make distinctions between people. As long as someone's interesting, has something to say, and is friendly, then they're great in my mind, regardless of whether they knit or not. Sometimes I don't even feel a part of the knitting clique - and a lot of times I feel like I don't want to be.


No-one is forced to read anyone's blog. If a person doesn't like what somebody says, they should not read the offending blog. They should not join Ravelry. They should stay out of the yarn store.

Freedom is only a click away.


Just to add one more voice to the chorus...

Still occasionally feel alienated in my LYS? YES! Hellooooo flashbacks to the lunchroom in Middle School! Ha.

When I first heard of the "non-knitters as Muggles" phenomenon, my immediate thought was "Hey, pretty funny!" But, you're right, it does make me a little uncomfortable. I love the "being part of something" feeling I get from the knitting community. But sometimes (just sometimes) there is an "I'm better than you/them" vibe. It isn't really a characteristic of the group, but rather the occasional individual member. For my part, the best recipe for getting past this is just looking down at whatever I've got on my needles and remembering how much I love love love to knit and I love love love knitters and yarn and patterns and craft blogs and stitching away while sipping coffee in my LYS and, well, it all just sort of eclipses any negativity. Honestly, if the LYS ladies want to keep the Riff-Raff out, they really shouldn't have such damn fine coffee, you know?

elizabeth m

I'm another who doesn't warm to the use of "muggles" = non-knitters. Not sure why. Maybe it just strikes me as gimmicky and faddish.

I'm not on Ravelry and don't plan to ever try to join. I rather spend more time knitting than organizing my photos and stash.


I always assumed the term Muggle was being used in a lighthearted way by Harry Potter fans. It's fun to use those Potter terms. I don't think non-knitters really spend a lot of time analyzing why people knit. If someone stops talking and looks at what I'm knitting on transit or whatever, I think they are just curious, not thinking I'm weird or anything. Sometimes we can overthink things and be a little too sensitive. Just my two cents.


Honey, if your yarn store makes you feel like that, you need to find a new yarn store! There's nothing worse than someone making you feel defensive about how you do something. Ridiculous! Middle school-sh! Crap! At my yarn store, they say "everyone has a different way of doing something, and none of them are wrong". You have such chic, cute patterns on your blog that I can't imagine anyone thinking anything but that you are talented talented talented!


I read the Yarn Harlot's early use of the term "Muggles" (i think) - here's a link: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2007/01/11/freakin_muggles.html), and I thought it was a funny reference for an odd situation.

It's amazing how things spin from a single story out on the Internets, to a broadly used label, that I read on blogs, and actually hear out of knitters' mouths on occasion.

As a person who loves sharing my passion for knitting, I dislike the idea that "you're in or you're out." I started knitting as a thing to do one January, and am glad that I didn't know about the potential competition, cliquishness, and disputes that I could encounter.

Of course, I went to art school, so I probably should have been prepared.


Oops, the link came out wrong:

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