The Tale of the Lonely Knitter


The tale of the lonely knitter… is a happy one, at least if that knitter is me. I enjoy my alone time. I seek out alone time and I get quite grumpy if circumstances cheat me out of my precious no-one-but-Jenn time. I don’t want to be unexpectedly forced into the company of those annoying humans, you know? Lonely time is my contented time. And of course I spend most of it playing around with yarn.

Yesterday I got to spend an entire day alone. It was bliss. I had stuff I was supposed to do and places I was supposed to go and annoying humans I was supposed to see but I blew it all off and stayed home in my pajamas. And knitted. And I felt really good about it.

But while I was hiding from the all the bipedal primates with cellphones wandering around, my thoughts kept going back to the three people who recently confessed to me their fear of being alone. For no apparent reason, three separate people in three separate circumstances all came to me to talk about how they just can’t stand to be all by themselves. And I don’t get that.

I’ve been obsessing about this actually. The idea of craving human contact ALL THE TIME is so foreign to me its like trying to imagine something in the 4th dimension, or trying to speak martian, or what its like to get kicked in the nuts. I just can’t wrap my head it. And I think maybe I’m missing something crucial to the human experience.

One friend told me that he is afraid to be alone in his apartment. For him the hours after work are terrifying and he looks for any excuse to go out in the evenings. (One consequence of this is that he is always broke.) If he does get stuck at home, he avoids having a panic attack by opening all his windows. He needs to hear other people and cars and such. Why? I don’t know. Maybe he wants to be reassured that all us didn’t get rapture-d up/abducted by aliens/turned into field mice while he wasn’t looking.

A second friend told me that she dreads it when she and her live-in boyfriend have different days off from work. When she is home alone, she is afraid that “something will break and there will be no one else around to fix it”. So she spends those days off at malls and movie theaters and sometimes she just sits in her car in the driveway and plays on her phone. I …don’t even know what to say.

The third friend who opened up a conversation with “when I’m at home and my kids are at school there is no one to talk to” almost got a “Oh my God, please not this again” from me. But I managed to hold it in (barely). She is thinking about getting a second job just so she will have people to talk to during the day. She already works a night shift for 40 hours a week but that’s not enough coworker chit-chat I guess.

So are these people nuts or are they getting something from human companionship that I’m not? Because if you gave me a choice between a bowl of Blue Bell ice cream or a people-free day I’d take the people-free day in a heartbeat (and I love Blue Bell).

As I said, I’ve been obsessing over this just a wee bit. I haven’t decided if I’m hopelessly antisocial or if they are hopelessly histrionic or if (the mostly likely option) me and everyone I know is a little nuts. But while I was shamelessly enjoying my no-one-but-Jenn time yesterday… and knitting… I was struck by at least this one flash of insight: those three friends of mine will never, ever be knitters. Or crocheters. Or handspinners. They will probably never be gardeners or fishermen fisherwomen fisherpeople (I really, really hate this PC world we live in). They will never have any single-person hobby of any kind because they can’t be alone. Sure you can knit/crochet/fish with your buddies but most of the time you won’t. You’ll be knitting and crocheting and fishing alone.

And if you can’t be alone… you can’t knit. Even if I was able to download all the required the knitting skills directly from my brain into yours, you’d never be able to knit anything, not really.

If you are reading a yarn blog then its safe to assume none of you have this problem. I’ll go 2.73 inches out a limb and say all of the people who end up on this site are probably quite happy to spend time alone and may even wish everyone else would just go away already so they can do it some more. Right? Right.

But what about all the people who can’t? They will never turn into people who play with yarn. Not ever. I don’t know why but I’ve been carrying that thought around with me and its a sad thought. It makes my heart a bit heavy. Its always been my not-so-secret goal to turn everyone I know into a knitter and/or crocheter. Then I will turn every knitter/crocheter into a handspinner. Then there will be an endless supply of handspun yarn for me to play with.

Seriously… I do feel sorry for them. I’ve been told more than once that in living a solitary life I’m missing out of many things. But I never did believe it. Now? Now I thinking about all the joyful, peaceful, and contented moments I have, by myself, with my knitting, that other people will never have.

Header image is “Strickendes Mädchen vor Fensternische” by Albert Anker (ie. the National Painter of Switzerland)

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65 Comments on "The Tale of the Lonely Knitter"

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I LOVE being alone. I like when my boyfriend and I don’t have perfectly matched work schedules. One of my favorite recent memes says “Some days I stay inside because it feels too peopley out there.” Except I would amend that to say “Most days” 🙂


I’m with you, Jenn. But from way over here, happily home alone 🙂


I do understand Jenn. I don’t mind people, but I like to join them on my terms and not on theirs – like when my fingers have become too stiff and/or sore to work with wool any longer.


… and I do love the picture that you chose for this rant.

Oh my! Jenn, You and I have so much in common. I use to hate being alone now I crave it! I remember the first time I was ever alone in the house I was 21. Yup, I had never been alone, slept in a house or without some sort of human around for the first 21 years of my life! I need my alone time in the morning and in the evenings. Perhaps it is because I have 15 little people demanding attention from me all day long. Perhaps I am just socially awkward or *gasp* anti-social. All I… Read more »