I took my new yarn to Yarn Coven Monday night. Now, I'm not a new knitter, by any means, but I am still sort of intrigued by something I noticed.
We all bring our new yarns to group. Just about every time we buy something new we bring it along to knit night, unless it's a ton of yarn, in which case we bring a representative sample. Some of us even go to knit night for the express purpose of sharing our yarns, even if we have a temporary knitting injury and cannot actually knit*. The wee baby yarn gets passed around to everyone there to be petted, squeezed and rubbed against either the neck (if you wear makeup) or face (if you don't.)
Who wouldn't want to squish and fondle such yarny goodness? You'd have to have a heart of stone...but I digress.
I know knitters are tactile people and I know we're into yarn, otherwise why knit? But why do we trot our yarn out for the whole group to see every time we buy new? Even if it's a yarn we've brought before (for instance, one of our group has a "thing" for Misti Alpaca--a thing I totally get--and we see it every time she buys a new color), or something the person being offered first grope owns. And yet we still all grab and smoosh and squeeze and ooh and aah.
I do it, myself, because hey, I like a good squeeze on the yarn myself. This Monday, though, I just...sort of got outside myself and saw the group from a non-knitter's perspective as we all cooed with delight over pure alpaca as if we'd never seen it before in our lives and realized, how odd. How delightfully odd! Knitters are a society and have a culture, along with the attendant norms, deviance and rituals! Some of those rituals must seem absolutely insane from the outside; I mean, seriously--yarn fondling?!! Sometimes even *hushed whisper* sniffing the yarn? What is in those dyes?
Suddenly, even though I was still standing from the observer's side of the fence in my head, I got a warm, cuddly feeling inside that I eventually recognized as Belonging. I've felt it infrequently with non-consanguinious people over the course of my life thus far, so it was bit unfamiliar, a bit scary and a lot nice. I am a Knitter, my mind thought. I'm one of Them. There might have been a momentary welling of tearage, I'm not ashamed to admit.
Then in the next instant, the very proper hoch Deutsch in me took over, started to slap me around for thinking about showing emotion in public. I snapped out of my dissociative episode (probably because someone else's alpaca laceweight had been shoved into my hands) and I just let myself enjoy it. Both the yarn and the warm, squishy Belonging feeling inside. It was really very nice yarn, you know.
My inner Goth adolescent would rather have eaten raw Brussel sprouts (have you done it? It can have painful consequences, trust me) than admit to wanting something so tawdry and plebeian as Belonging, but I find, as an adult, I can openly admit to it. I don't mind self-identifying as a pack animal. I like people. Do you hear me? I like people! I'm tired of hanging on the edges of the campfire's light, foraging scraps from the cooler cave people, silently wishing I could wear a bear skin like Urghina, but determined never to show weakness because then they would start throwing rocks at me.
I begin to think the people around the fire are not going to throw rocks. Maybe they're even wondering why I don't join them. Maybe, one day, without any hesitation at all, I will.
*Yeah, yeah, there's the whole "fellowship" aspect to knit night--we go to chat and stuff, and sometimes we do go and don't knit, just sit and chat. Doesn't change the fact that sometimes, we come, hand over the yarn for a baptism by fondling, then leave. It's almost as if we can't knit a yarn without having it blessed by our knit buddies first. Sort of a nice ritual, actually.