It's the standard response to knitting in public or people hearing that you are a knitter. It happened to me only today. Someone heard that I had knit my sweater, and asked me how long it had taken me. Upon hearing that it had taken a couple of months they said "You must be soooo patient" and to that I say piffle!
The person was being lovely. She was lovely and simply making an observation and probably trying to pay me a compliment. She went on to say that most people aren't that patient. And maybe they aren't.
But the thing is I'm not patient. I need knitting because I'm not patient. I can't sit through a school concert, or hours of book reading to small people, or a two hour trip to the park, without knitting.
Can. Not. Do. It.
Without knitting all I can think is run away run away. Because I lack patience.
Now obviously this isn't always the case. Some days I love being at the park. But on days where this isn't the case then knitting keeps me where I need to be, and doing what I need to be doing.
Here is what I think is going on. I think that people say "patience" and see "patience" in knitting because they are looking at knitting as a product. You knit to create a thing, don't you? And looking at that thing - today it was my 5ply James sweater - then they think "Oh my, that would take sooo long".
But as we all know, the key part of knitting is the process. The product is simply one part of the process. Because even if we ourselves are product orientated as crafters, we can't get past the fact that we enjoy some part of the process. Otherwise we wouldn't be doing it. We would simply purchase that beanie/scarf/sweater, and go play a round of golf/game of bingo/read a magazine*!
That all said I need to point out that craft has helped me develop qualities that might confuse the issue, and sometimes may look like patience from the outside - stick-with-it-ness, and trust in the process, and a willingness to rip something out if I'm not happy with the result. But again, a lot of those qualities exist because I've learnt that craft is a process that sometimes results in a product. Craft as a practice has changed me - I just found this long forgotten blog post that describes this perfectly Practice and all is coming.
Knitting is not a product** and I am not patient**.
How about you? Do you get asked this?
P.S. To hear more about the process then go have a listen to me chat to Elizabeth in the Mornings on the Dock podcast. Elizabeth then talks some more about process in the following episode with Bristol Ivy.
P.P.S. Yay! The Winner of my Tessuti Alice in Nani Iro is Laura Darby - could you email me at email@example.com and I will get it out to you.
* What is it that those non-crafters get up to in their spare time? Anyone?
** There are obviously exceptions.