I Won’t Even Pretend To Understand.

26 September 2012

Last week, at about 3 hours’ notice, I was invited to be interviewed by ABC Radio.  They were doing a few spots about traditional crafts and ways in which they could appeal to the “funky”. (No, I wasn’t sure what that meant either!).

Prior to the interview they suggested I talked about an item that could be knitted for a younger person, like a phone cover, and as I had already written a very simple pattern for one (for a class of 20-somethings women), I thought I was well-prepared.  I emailed the pattern over to them.

It didn’t start well when I was introduced as a “Knitting Nanna”, as the Secretary of the Knitters’ Guild (I’m the Treasurer) and given the wrong first name.  I pointed out that I’m not a “Nanna” and tried to say that we have an awful lot of members under the age of 40, including children, and some of our members are MEN.  But the presenter was not to be swayed – she was adamant that grandmother or not, I should be proud to be called a Knitting Nanna.

We then talked about the pattern and she was a bit surprised that the sides had to be sewn up – as this was for beginner knitters I quite reasonably hadn’t thought it appropriate to specify knitting it in the round on dpn’s.

Anyway, I had my 10 minutes or so, the presenter then signed off (again with wrong name and title) and I breathed a sigh of relief.  Half an hour later my pattern appeared on their blog, with a photograph of a completely different phone cover – wholly knitted in garter stitch whereas mine was in stocking stitch with a ribbed edge.  I did write and explain that this would cause confusion when a knitter found that what they were knitting (if they followed my instructions) bore no resemblance to the photograph,.  I’ve had no reply.

Please, ABC, if you’re trying to promote knitting (or any other “traditional” craft), you’re going about it the wrong way.  If you’re not interested in promoting it, don’t pretend that you are. 



  1. Very sad. I have been introduced as “the knitting lady” at business meetings with freelance clients. I turned 28 a few months ago, so it doesn’t really seem to be an age thing, it’s just general lack of respect for knitters…! I hope someone sensible at ABC offer you an apology and sort out the correct picture for your pattern on the blog!

  2. How frustrating to get a chance to promote knitting and then have it totally turned around to fit their agenda. They could have had anyone sit in to be “knitting nanna” and posted any picture or pattern they wanted. But worst of all, is that they couldn’t even get your name right. How insulting. ABC does owe you an apology.

  3. Hey Sally, how about a link to the ABC presenter’s page? Its intereting how you’re the “face of the guild” these days.

  4. I was interviewed (along with Bells) by our local ABC radio around the time of the Ravellenic Games controversy. Our interviewer is a knitter herself (and on Ravelry), her producer is a textile artist, and they were both genuinely interested in what we were knitting, who knits these days, the strength and volume of the knitting community and the influence of people like Yarn Harlot in raising funds for MSF. And no nanna references anywhere. It was a really positive experience – sorry yours wasn’t.

  5. I’m glad to read a positive comment like Nettie’s; I’m sorry you had such a bad experience! A fellow member of BM group and I are going to Lara’s local library to teach knitting to 25 12-16 year olds (on behalf of the Guild) next week! It will be interesting to see how it goes! We are both grandmothers and we both knit (and quilt, and she spins) but the two are not necessarily synonymous!

  6. I am definitely a Knitting Nanna of some years experience. While I’ve always been a knitter, I haven’t always been a Nanna. I wish folk would remember that the older community were once young and that should they live long enough they will themselves be part of the older community.

    Every female in my immediate family, from 7 (youngest and newest) to 67 (oldest and wisest) can knit as could all the females who came before us.

    Every interviewer (and I’m not going to add ‘in my opinion’ because we all know it’s only my opinon I can give) should have a good knowledge of what they’re discussing. Anything else is an insult to the interviewee.

  7. I read this a couple of days ago and I keep thinking about it. {sigh} I find it sad that this person works in an industry that is supposed to be about presenting information – be it music, the news, interviews, etc. And, sadly, it would appear the point of the industry is not something at which they excel. I think it actually might be bothering me a bit more because the person who did this was female…as though her actions were counter-productive to our gender and the knitterly-world.
    Which is a rather naive/biased response from me so I guess I shouldn’t “throw stones”.
    Although, I have to wonder how much it would have boggled her if the Treasurer of the Knitting Guild had been a man. {wry grin}

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