Franklin Habit Asks, “Why shouldn’t folks who knit and crochet get medals?”

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Franklin Habit Asks, “Why shouldn’t folks who knit and crochet get medals?”

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Franklin HabitWriter, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

December already? You have got to be kidding me.

I’ve been cleaning out. This apartment, as city apartments go, is not a cracker box. I am fortunate. But neither is it a many-wingèd mansion, and that keeps me from turning packrat. There’s no room for excess. Every year around this time I get the urge to pick up the household by one end and shake it like a rug to snap out the debris.

Much of my personal debris is knitted. This was a busy year. I made lots of stuff, most of it for books or articles rather than personal use. I can’t keep it all, nor do I have reason to. Without a baby in the family, what do I want with a series of tiny bonnets? Out they go, and may they comfort heads that need them.

Still, laid end to end across the dining room table, they and the dozens of other finished objects from 2015 make an impressively bulky display. They’re even more impressive piled atop one another to make a sort of finished project mountain.

“Check it out,” I said to a visiting friend. “It’s tall as I am. All I need is a little amigurumi Edmund Hillary planting a flag on top.”

“What’s amigurumi?” she said. (She doesn’t crochet, yet.)

“Never mind,” I said. “Look how much I made!”

“What do you want? A medal?”

And I thought to myself, “Why, yes. Yes, I do. I would like a medal, please.”

Why shouldn’t folks who knit and crochet get medals? This is the season for it. Journalists of every stripe are tripping over each other to be first across the line with end-of-the-year lists of who did what best, or most, or loudest.

Maybe that’s the reason we who play with yarn usually aren’t given medals. We are not, on the whole, a loud bunch. This is not to say we don’t sometimes raise a ruckus when we get congregate. We do. But as individuals, we think nothing of binding off a hundred-hour project of ten thousand or more stitches without fanfare, then quietly beginning another.

I know jigsaw puzzle fanciers who celebrate their achievements with more enthusiasm. And they don’t have to deal with necklines or buttonholes.

I propose that here, now, we have our own awards ceremony.

The event staff have been working on a red carpet of 2,648 granny squares made of Lion Brand Wool Ease, and should be here within the hour.  I am, you will have noticed, in full evening dress; but you may come as you are. Tiaras welcomed.

When you’re quite ready, please make your way to the stage and lay claim to the trophy for any and all of your remarkable achievements. Feel free to add others in the comments section.

And don’t worry about keeping your acceptance speech short. I brought my knitting.

Presenting the Franklin Habit Awards! And the winners are…

Swatched Trophy Gauge Trophy Finished Gifts Trophy
Worked on Project for Five Years Trophy Completed Project More Than Five Years Old Trophy Knitter Who Learned to Crochet Trophy
Crocheter Who Learned to Knit Trophy Stash Acquisition Equal to or Exceeding Own Body Weight Trophy Net Annual Stash Reduction of at Least 20 Skeins Trophy

Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008–now in its third printing) and proprietor of The Panopticon (, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep. Franklin’s other publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and a regular column on historic knitting patterns for

These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with a Schacht spinning wheel and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned.

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  • As a sub-category of the above, I’d like to award myself ‘The Knitter who remembered how to crochet’ – 5 x 4-colour granny squares so far. (Pause for tearing-up and flapping hands in front of face.) I couldn’t have done this without Franklin’s Craftsy class – A Practical Approach to Color for Knitters. Too stressed out to knit properly a week ago (and mistakes too difficult to fix), I watched the class and was INSPIRED to play with stash (and learn at the same time – and find out super-swatching method) and suddenly these colourful granny-squares flowered under my hands. Not what I’d intended to make but this is what grew! *Smiles and waves to the audience* “Mwah, Franklin, Mwah!’

  • Receiving this award is a lifetime achievement! Knitting my stash, well, that my be something for my next lifetime…can I take it with me? First of all, I’d like to thank my grandmother for teaching me to crochet, and my husband’s grandmother for teaching me to knit. Thank you to my darling, wonderful husband who has never questioned my stash acquisition beyond the words, “Do you want it? Then get it.” Thank you to the wonderful crafters in my local group for enabling me to buy not only yarn, but spindles, fiber, fabric, beads, wire and (of course) more yarn! Last but not least, thank you Franklin, for giving out medals! It’s time somebody did, and I can’t think of anyone from whom I would more appreciate this honor! Mwah, Franklin! Mwah indeed!
    …and I said I wasn’t going to cry…sniff!!

  • Whoa! I finally won one — I finished (Including blocking) a gift more than two days early. Sorry, I didn’t write a speech since up until now I’ve never won a medal other than participation. I do have this fetching Eowyn tiara, though.

  • Love all these awards! Will add: Knit/crochet something out of your comfort zone (color or pattern). Steeking.

  • I’m happy to accept the Enablement award for Encouraging above and beyond reason, in the subcategory of teaching a friend to knit. When I was in middle school –

    *music starts to play*

    Aww man, I just got started!

  • What about a knitter who inspires others to knit award?

  • God! I wish you had taken a photo or two of your dining room table before you disposed of your year’s work! It would make the rest of us feel less guilty about the odds and ends we have waiting to be finished and the yarn stash we have accumulated. My sofa has a decent spot in the middle for me to sit and on either side I have ‘works in progress’ and collections of needles and other helpers needed during my knitting expeditions. I’m not including my containers of yarn waiting to be used one day kept in another room.

    • That so sounds like me.. my spot has room for me ,and my dog. And several ufo’s.. Lol

  • One of my knitting groups started a tradition three years ago. We gather at one member’s home to share all of the projects we completed that year. After many ohs and ahs, we have a nice lunch. We call it our annual frolic.

  • how about a “knitted first pair of wearable socks on dpn’s” lol.

  • I need knitter/crocheter with most WIPs 🙁 lol Loved this, Thanks Franklin, I love your work.

    • You may have to wait for next year, Ms. Larson, ’cause I am pretty sure that medal is going home with me. : }

  • I’d like to add the following awards:
    “Learned a new knitting or crochet skill.”
    “Remembered how to Kitchener without looking it up”
    “Managed to untangle that tangled “ball” of yarn without resorting to scissors.”
    “Spent more time knitting/Crocheting than time spent on Ravelry”
    “Assisted another human in finding the joy of knitting/crocheting”
    “Organized WIPs and UFOs”
    “Made the decision to frog UFO that you were previously unable to admit that you’d never finish so that the yarn can become something else”

    And, perhaps
    The Franklin Habit Lifetime Acheivement Award for Outstanding Knitters.

  • I think I qualify for the award for the “Net Annual Stash Reduction of at lest 20 skeins” in various sizes. I did a lot of charity knitting this year and made a couple of sweaters, many hats, socks and mittens using up stash. I’m retired so spend most of my day knitting, reducing stash. Then I go to my knitting group and find some irresistible yarn someone donated or go to my local yarn shop to buy yarn for a gift or charity project and end up with more leftover stash. I already have my office and shelf in my closet filled with bins of stash I need to diminish. I’ll try to do better next year.
    Carol McMahon

  • I’d like to propose an award for “adapted a pattern for a different yarn (and still got the right size item)”.

    Somehow, I’ve managed to “win” the award in BOTH stash categories. I’ve definitely reduced by at least 20 balls. And increased by my body weight immediately thereafter.

    Thanks as always to Franklin, for representing us all so well!

  • I want an award for having made a mistake in gauge, but instead of frogging the whole thing, I incorporated it into the pattern to make it more what I wanted in the first place. (It’s a poncho. I didn’t have the right size hook in my stash, so I got lazy and just grabbed the next size up, thought the gauge swatch was “close enough” and started the pattern. I measured the other day and found the poncho was ten inches wider than it was supposed to be. But I wanted a bigger poncho than the pattern was supposed to make anyway, so I’m just gonna modify the other measurements to make things proportional and roll with it. Take THAT gauge! Now I just have to buy more yarn…)

  • Did the math, I only have 11kg of yarn. Only a knitter would say “only” 11kilos!

    • I think “Did the Math” should be an award in itself.

      • Ravelry’s downloadable stash function makes it much easier!

  • I want to claim a lifetime achievement award for vision. Over thirty-five years ago I was taken by a dear (now gone) friend to a small sheep farm where the homesteader raised sheep, sheered them herself, cleaned, spun and dyed the wool and sold these lovely hand-painted hanks. Though I knew how to crochet at the time, I saw this lovely yarn and knew that it would be wasted on a crocheted project and should rather be knitted, to let all the color and roving texture shine. I had this yarn treasured up until this year when I finally had enough confidence in my knitting skill, and found a shawl pattern that shared the stitches with a fine Lion Brand 1878 yarn to COMPLETE it. (Except for fringe – the pattern calls for fringe and I haven’t won that argument yet.) Photos will be featured in the lobby for your admiration and edification. There is such peace afforded the one who knows somehow what they do not know, and chooses not to overstep their boundaries, until the victory is possible. Film at 11.

  • Oooh, stash acquisition >= own body weight, that’s a new one—it’s good to have goals! I definitely should win a Participation medal, though—I broke my finger 2 weeks ago and I’m already back to knitting.

  • How about an award for starting the most gifts on day #1 of Chanukah and finishing them by day #8?

  • How about an English-style knitter who switched to Continental? I just did it and I definitely would like a medal for it!

  • Purled Two Together Through The Back Loop!

  • I’d like to pre award myself the “I might really finish this project before Christmas” award. Only based on how fast it’s going…I still have finishing and blocking, but that’s this weekend.

  • Thank you! As I suspect that my stash is double my present body weight, may I have two?

    I want to thank my husband, who didn’t know what he was unleashing when he coaxed me to learn to knit, because “a knitted scarf would be so romantic”. Also, I would like to thank The (Other) Knitworthy, as their appreciation keeps me from knitting solely for myself.

    [To the cabana boy motioning from offstage that my time is up: “Yes, I’ll be off in a moment!”].

    May I recommend a new category for next year? Knitted/Crocheted Formal wear for awards season–if anyone would like to hear suggestions for patterns, may I recommend looking at 30s booklet publications?

    Thank you. *kisses* Franklin, would you tell Dolores that I won’t take her to the after party unless she leaves the flask at home?

  • I want to thank the sheep.
    And the llamas, and beavers, and silk worms, and sea silk, and bunnies, and goats, and bamboo, and cotton plants, dogs, and yes, even the acrylics.
    Without you, I would not be the knitter I am today.
    Separately, we are just organic masses hurtling through space (and acrylic, too) on a round rock with water.
    We. Make.

    Warm stuff, happy stuff, fitted stuff, barely fits stuff, pretty stuff, unidentifiable stuff.
    Each finished item is a melding of nature and math (and sometimes acrylic) to bring into being something more than existed before. Some things were questionable (I’m not look at you acrylic, stop being so sensitive) but they still count as accomplishments.
    However, reducing much less having a stash would not be possible if it weren’t for my little fiber creators! Go you! Yay Yarn!

  • Knit a sock (singular) and have waited 5 years for Almighty God to take a row of its ribbing and make it a mate.

  • I can’t believe you like me!

  • I’d like to see milestone awards for every 25th, 50th, etc. completed service project: hats,
    mittens, sweaters, blankets, toys, etc. for people and/or animals in need.

    Conversely, awards could be offered to those who create something for themselves after a certain number of projects for others. Many people create truckloads of things for other people, but do not take care of themselves in a similar fashion.

  • Is there an award for “decides to stash down next year, signs up for all the yarn clubs now”? Asking for a friend.

  • The ‘I Can’t believe I didn’t share Award’ for not only finishing a week early, but NOT posting on social media because the GiftING has not yet occurred! I wanna show folks the cool thing! ((And Franklin…. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for taking time to expound and understand the yarn loving people. I LOVE your column and can’t wait for each and every one!!!))

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