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In stitches December 27, 2010

Posted by mareserinitatis in crochet.
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I need to do something with my hands. Almost all the time.

When Mike and I shared our home office, I had a little piece of jewelry from India that had about a hundred little tiny bells on the bottom. Even though I find noise, music, etc. extremely distracting, and Mike generally does not, I would sometimes grab the piece of jewelry and start shaking it while I was working on program. One day, after doing this for nearly a half hour straight, Mike said, “Would you PLEASE STOP!” I hadn’t even realized I was doing it.

A much quieter way to deal with this has been to pick up a crochet hook and some yarn. However, this seems to be nearly as distracting for other people as the jewelry with bells was for Mike.

There is a host of evidence about the benefits of needle arts on ones health and concentration. (I found this article about teaching knitting in a classroom to be extremely interesting from an educational perspective.) However, if one shows up at a talk or in a class with yarn and needle in hand, it is assumed that they aren’t paying attention, aren’t being professional, and in some cases, are doing namby-pamby women’s stuff. Somehow it’s deemed better to fall asleep or be staring vacantly out the window than being alert and attentive if doing so requires some yarn.

I know that this is changing in some places. From what I understand, there are some departments that are just fine with people showing up with knitting projects during seminar. However, this seems to be predominantly in departments where women have a significant representation. Despite the fact that nearly every woman I know with a background in physics does some sort of fiber art, they generally hide the fact in a professional setting…until you show up with that new scarf you crocheted and they ask if you made it. And everyone else just rolls their eyes.

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