Oh, those irritating things non-knitters say when they see you knitting. Or see someone else knitting, crocheting, making lace, whatever.
The top of my list is this conversation:
Irritant: "What are you making?"
Me (holding up three rows of ribbing in a fine gauge yarn): "I've just started a new sweater."
Irritant (squinting at the three rows of tiny stitches): "Kind of small, isn't it?"
What do you say in response to that?
"Gee, you're right! I'll cast on a larger size and then it'll be done."
"No, really, I'm that skinny."
"It'll stretch when I wash it."
"So is your I.Q. and an unmentionable body part."
Okay, so I'd never actually say the last one aloud. But I've thought it a time or two.
Most crafters have had to field some pretty dumb comments from the time they first started crafting. Sometimes you have to wonder why people can't just say, "Oh, so you knit/crochet/sew/quilt/bead. That's cool." and just let it go at that. It's one thing when people speak out of total ignorance, when someone who just doesn't know looks at the intricate Fair Isle sweater you're working on and says, "So that's crochet, right?" Or sees you with hook in hand working on a lace stole and asks, "What are you knitting?" Those who barely know that craft stores exist can be forgiven for believing that everything involving a pointy metal thing and yarn is "knitting." Or "crocheting." Whichever they use as the generic.
It's the defensive comments that irritate me the most. Why must the prickles go up when a non-crafter encounters a crafter? Things like:
I don't have the patience: I was watching lacemakers at the state fair and admiring some work done in extremely fine threads when this chick in tight jeans and a scowl strutted by and hissed to her guy, "I don't have the patience for that kind of stuff!" Um... so? What's to be angry about? Needlecrafts teach patience, but perhaps that was a lesson the darlin' didn't want to learn.
How can you stand to do that? Wow, because I have a masochist complex? No, I think it's because I enjoy it. No, really.
I don't have the time: Okay, so you don't have the time for knitting. I don't have the time for television, rock climbing, hang gliding, stamp collecting, or playing the flugelhorn. Why? Because those aren't thing I'm interested in doing, so I don't make the time. Flugelhorn players are interested in playing the flugelhorn (obviously), so they make the time. I make the time for knitting. Fair enough?
I don't get how you do that: This I heard from an amateur magician. I don't think I can add anything funnier to that. Except that I told him this, "This is my magic trick. I wave these wands around for a very long time, and I transform this string into a sweater. Taa daaa!"
Oh, I could never do that: Unless the person suffers paralysis, Parkinson's, or is missing both arms, this doesn't wash. And even then, I've seen some armless people do some pretty incredible things with their feet that make me say, "I could never do that!" Except, of course, I do have feet and probably could do those things if I really worked at it. And there's the difference between those who do and those who don't: it's not about what you can or can't do, but what you're willing to put some effort into.
You're knitting? There's not much to say in response to this expression of disgusted incredullity, except, "You have a flair for the obvious." Or maybe, "Omigawsh, you're right! Aaaaaah!"
But the real answer to any of these, of course, is, "So you don't want to knit? Fine -- more yarn for me!"