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August 14, 2007



The referring to non-knitters as muggles has always made me feel uncomfortable too. Maybe because I'm not a HP fan & so many knitters who are HP fans seem to assume that the 2 go hand in hand & consider knitters that aren't HP fans muggles. Or because I too have had the experience of being excluded by other knitters - in my case it was from a local SnB & I'm pretty sure it was because of my age (they were cold to another older woman also).

Cyprine Baltaen

So if I hear all your comments correctly..."Muggle" is originally a Harry Potter term? Well I knit but I really prefer not to knit with other people and I feel weird going to the LYS for that. I am definitely NOT in the know, yet. I've also never had any urge to read Harry Potter either so...Dangit, now I'm an outsider in 2 more groups in the world. I'm beginning to see a pattern here...


I get that same exclusionist feeling from my local knitting guild. I went to two meetings and absolutely hated them - it was all little groups and the only work being shown was the super-fancy stuff like complicated fair isle or self-designed sweaters with insane cabling. The girl who brought her very first washcloth didn't even get to show it off.


I'm totally with you on the "Muggles" thing. Totally.


I am with you too!


I've never posted before but I found this to be an interesting topic. I heard the yarn harlot speak on this topic as well, and as much as people associate the term muggle with harry potter, the reality is that the word is from the 1920s. JK Rowling just appropriated an already existing concept:

Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English - Cite This Source Main Entry: muggle2
Part of Speech: n
Definition: a common person, esp. one who is ignorant or has no skills
Example: There are muggles in every computer class.
Etymology: 1920s
Usage: slang

I'm not sure I agree that the spirit of the word is anything other than matter of fact. muggle - non knitters are people who don't possess the skill of knitting/ don't understand why anyone would want to knit.

I too have a much bigger issue with knitter vs Knitter. that feels so exclusionary. But that is just me.


I also vote No to "muggles." Whether or not it had an innocent beginning, it sounds to my ear like an ugly, separating term.

As much as I would like to go explore the LYS in my area, what keeps me out of there is the perception that I will be despised unless I make a healthy purchase upon exit.


I just love you Wendy. You say all the things I think and wish I said but didn't..........


I would say that any term that marginalizes or puts down anybody is inappropriate, especially when they haven't done anything like, oh, a crime, or offense to humanity. I'm just sayin', look at how some knitters look at crocheters! SHEESH! You'd think that they were members of the Manson Family!
It's just never wise to get a "we're so much better than the rest of you" attitude about anything.
Words to live by, hard learned by me!


I agree - the whole "Muggle" thing is bizarre, very strange indeed. Um, so we knit, while other people prefer to paint/sing/watch television/herd geese/do synchronised swimming/follow the stockmarkets.

So what?


I would like to think when we say muggles we are not being exclusionist but instead referring to the non-knitters that make fun of us, give us strange looks, and are generally disparaging about our choice of hobby (or lifestyle for some) when we are sitting minding our own business with our sticks and string.


You are not the minority. Absolutely not. I detest the term. I could give a crap whether someone knits or not. I'd rather hang out with the person, not their project.


I don't really take "Muggles" to be a pejorative term - I think it describes people who think of knitting as only a ball of yarn, pointy sticks and a pattern, not realizing that it's given life to a vibrant community as well.

And speaking of patterns, I am knitting up "Something Red" and I LOVE it. It is a really satisfying knit and the yarn (Blue Sky alpacas) is a dream. Thanks for a great pattern!


Never really seen Muggles used like that-- I would have figured it was for non-crafters who don't appreciate your time and effort on crafts they ask for. But with a definition in front of me, I can absolutely concur... I always get the cold shoulder at my lys-- not only that, I'm actively condescended to if I pick up a single skein. Funny thing, since I'm evidently good enough to get hired :) Good reminder, too, that I should treat newcomers much better than they do.


I actually was in Ravelry today posting in the non-Harry Potter group about this.

I like Harry, but I do have a problem with this term. It kind of carries that "separatist" feeling to it for me - Muggles and wizards are separated in Rowling's world through secrecy, and I don't particularly like the feeling that maybe my knitting should be on the down-low, or that non-knitters will never understand. After all, I didn't understand when my niece was born, and now I'm knitting her a blanket.

And yeah, I'm ashamed of making fun of her mom when she tried to knit before me, but I wouldn't turn around and ridicule "those that don't get it."

So yeah. Any more "you know" news?


Personally, I only use the "muggle" term for those folks who tell me that knitting (or making things yourself in general) is stupid and boring. Seems to give them more of the benefit of the doubt than they really deserve, but maybe I'm just mean.


I don't use that term. But I kind of like it. I have read it on the harlot's blog for the first time, so now for me it is a funny and a little-bit-teasing word lauched by a funny and a little-bit-teasing but very kind woman.
Any word can be rude in a way.
And any silence too.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I disagree with the politically-correct talk in fashion those days. I like to call a cat a cat, not a feline-being. :) And I wanted to balance a bit the comments.
Now I have the feeling that I should better shut-up. My english doesn't seem to explain my thoughts well today! ;-)

Mary Lynn

To be honest, I don't see a problem with muggles, unless the person using it is being very deragatory in its usage. I love the Harry Potter books. I have read them all, have seen the first four movies and am looking forward to the next three.

I am sure all of us have had experiences where we were knitting something "odd" and have gotten weird comments. I like felting stuff, so you can only imagine the responses that I get when someone asks what I am knitting and I respond "a bowl." Non-knitters believe that the only things that are knit are sweaters, hats, scarves and mittens. "You knit socks? why would you knit socks when you can go to WalMart and get six pairs for $6.99?"

And there are knitting snobs. We have all run across them. Those are the same people that smirk "oh, a non-knitter" in such a way that makes "muggle" sound really good.

I have had people insist I knit "wrong" because I knit Continental. In my opinion those are the "knitting muggles." Too dense to know that not only are there different ways to knit but there are different ways to cast-on, cast-off, etc.

By the way, I have had the same experience at two LYSs. One is now closed and the other probably will be although they have branched out into other areas but if the attitude in those areas is the same as the yarn/knitting/crocheting areas, they will not be around long.

Gina L.


I have not heard of them ;)

You know you are good friends when you can look back and say that you fried her hair and still call each other friends.

I hope we get to meet your long lost friend too! Does she still do hair?

What are those things in the photo? Fruit? I think I need to get my eyes checked!


I agree with you about labeling non or new knitters. I started knitting for real in january and now have progressed to being able to read & duplicate any pattern. The ladies at my LYS still won't talk to me and ignore me every time I go in there (which was about once a week). This is the reason why I order all my supplies exclusively online from now on. I will wait a week for new DPN's rather than go in that shop.

As a community I think we have to be careful about seperating ourselves from others, because new blood always brings new ideas and new patterns.

If we all love knitting so much, why not share it with others rather than exclude and alienate them?


One more question - are knitters a "community"? I don't feel that at all, and I've been knitting constantly since I was five, same as I've been reading.

Just because someone else is a knitter (or likes reading, for that matter) doesn't mean I feel any kinship whatsoever! I certainly don't consider it a community, I just knit and have my friends who accept I like to knit. Big deal! That's why I find this Muggles thing so odd.


Hey, it's not like we're planning on dominating the muggles "for the greater good." I actually think the name is quite appropriate. There's a similar level of animosity at times, but we can still get along. We knitting wizards are supposed to intergrate, right? If we cast a few spells and some guy walks by asking if the spells are for him, we are allowed to call him a muggle, or barring that, a jerk.

(I've had some annoying KIP experiences.)

I believe I can make fun of muggles sometimes, because most of my best friends are muggles. That's the way it works, right?


This is the very reason I prefer not to join a group of any kind. People in 'groups' tend to have a 'We're better than you" view of anyone not apart of 'their' group or belief.


Glad you mentioned it on your blog and took a stand. Ive never heard the word before, but its pretty obnoxious. Anyways, still enjoying your blog, and look forward to when your book comes out.


Hey, I'm delurking here for this discussion about Muggles. The whole concept of calling people not in the know Muggles isn't new. I'm a musician and we refer to non-musicians as Muggles occasionally.... although it does tend to make non-musicians upset. I think we all have things that we know a lot more about than the average person. Sometimes as a musician it does feel like we are living in a different world. We read a different language, for one thing.... but exclusionary practices should definitely not be encouraged.

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