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Personal tests

April 29, 2013

I love how we, as humans, catergorize things. We group, we classify, we sort. Things are put into their place by colors, sizes, shapes, smells, tastes, sounds and textures. It is logical. It takes what could be a chaotic world and neatly breaks it down into manageable pieces. Everything is classified one way or another, including us. Gender, race, age, size, shape, personality . . . We can split ourselves up into so many different ways.

I am often amazed at how people have managed to take something as subjective as our personalities and sort us into groups. Personalities! The ways we think, feel, talk, act, communicate, things that vary widely from day to day, but can also be predicted and analyzed. Of the many ways of classifying personalities, probably one of the best known ways is with the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI uses a series of questions to measure psychological preferences in people’s perceptions of the world and how they make decisions based on these perceptions, using the principles originally put forth by Carl Gustav Jung in his 1921 book Phychological Types. Without getting into a lot of detail, of which I will freely admit know very little about and remember even less from my college psych course, after answering the questions you are placed in different groups, based on the dichotomies of your personality. The dichotomies are as follows:


Extraversion (E) –

(I) Introversion

Sensing (S) –

(N) Intuition

Thinking (T) –

(F) Feeling

Judging (J) –

(P) Perception

Last year, at a conference my husband was attending, the BMTI was referenced in one of the sessions. My husband took the quiz and figured out his personality and then took the quiz again to figure out mine, nice fellow that he was. How well does he know me? I took it again myself and got the very same result. He is I (Introversion) N (Intuition) T (Thinking) J (Judging). Me? E (Extraversion) S (Sensing) F(Feeling) P(Perception). We are the exact opposite of each other. EXACT OPPOSITE. Crazy. I am not going to mess with it though. We have been going strong for over a decade and a half show no signs of slowing down yet.

I am sure you are wondering why am I bringing up all this mumbo jumbo about personalities. Knitting, what else?

According to the BMTI, my attitude is one of Extraversion. This means that I am “outward-turning” and socially orientated. While this is true in a lot of my daily activity, it is not true in my knitting. I am primarily a solitary knitter. I don’t have a knitting group, I don’t go to knit night, I am not a member of any local Stitch n Bitch group or knitting circles. Even though I am a Knitting Guild member, I have never been to a meeting. When I knit, I am usually by myself, listening to podcasts or audio books or watching a hockey game with my husband on the couch. I will knit at the cabin with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law when they are there, and sometimes a good friend of the family or another family member will come over and we will knit together. Aside from that, I don’t actively seek out a group to join. I have been content to knit by myself and not worry about it.

This past weekend was Yarnover, put on by the Minnesota Knitting Guild, and FiberFest, hosted by Steven Be. For the first time, Mom and I signed up for classes. On Saturday, we took the class European Finishing techniques, taught by Julie Weisenberger of Cocoknits. It was wonderful! I could rave on and on about the things I learned in her class. Simple things, techniques that I thought I knew, things I thought were commonplace in my knitting. I would tell you more but I think you should just go and take her class. NOW. There is something so magical when that giant lightbulb goes off above your head and you learn an entirely new way of picking up stitches for a button band that simplifies your knitting life so profoundly. Truly, deeply, amazingly magical I tell you. I also got to get know a local dyer that I had done a test knit for, help her husband buy her a Gleener (AMAZING TOOL!), learned that stainless steel yarn was pretty cool stuff and not as crazy as I assumed it would be, bought a kit to knit myself a beaded wire necklace and won a door prize of some silk sari art yarn.

On Sunday, Mom and I took Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s class “Knitting for Speed and Efficiency” through Fiberfest. I have been reading the Yarn Harlot blog for years and have always wanted to take a class from her. Finally here was my chance. She more than lived up to my hopes for how she was in person and how the class would go. I am going to need several days to process all that I learned and start taking a critical look the hows and whys of the way I knit and see if there are things I can do to make my knitting more efficient and productive. After the class, we had lunch in the lobby and chatted with Stephanie about snow and ice and personality types.

While the things I learned in these classes were wonderful, they weren’t what really stuck with me about the weekend. I spent a great part of my weekend in the company of other knitters. Other people who feel the same way about yarn and needles as I do. People who know what an SSK is and what is so wonderful about alpaca. People who don’t look at you askance when you pull out a half knit sock and start knitting away on it, even if you are in the middle of a lobby. Women of all shapes and sizes were represented. Women with tattoos of yarn and needles, wearing knitted jewelry, old women, young women, women from all social economic backgrounds. There were men too. Vendors and husbands and knitters and designers. Men who loved the craft as much as the women or men who loved their women so much that they were more than willing to go to a fiber fair and carry bags or hold babies.

On Sunday night, Mom and I bought last minute tickets and went to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s closing night talk at Fiberfest. It was such a fun atmosphere. I was in an auditorium filled with people who loved knitting as much, or probably more, than I did. They were so enthusiastic about their craft. The Yarn Harlot was amazing. It was so much fun to listen to her talk about knitting. How it wasn’t just something that you did, but a part of who you were. I sat next to Stephen West of the West Knits and watched him knit on a shawl. I saw women laugh and smile and enjoy the night and be proud of the things they wore that they had created with their own hands. These were beautiful, crazy, elegant, simple, large and small things, from shawls to sweaters to cowls to socks. Things that were made the same way I make them. Two needles, a string and one stitch at a time.

Knitters are fun. Knitters are wild. Knitters are crazy. Knitters are creative and enthusiastic and kind and generous and supportive. Knitters are like me and so unlike me at the same time. I think it might be time to put that E (Extraversion) part of my personality to work and go and meet some of these knitters a little better. Even though I know I get a lot more done staying at home and knitting alone, perhaps it’s time to venture beyond that safe little world. Perhaps it is time to see what others can teach me. I think one of the reasons I haven’t become active in any of the groups is because I have doubt in my skills as a knitter. Which is silly I know, but it is there. It’s time for me to own it, knit it and wear it.

There is a Knitter’s Guild meeting on Tuesday . . . or maybe I could check Ravelry for a local knitting group . . . or I could go to the Spin/Knit night at my LYS . . . or I could sit in the park with my knitting and see who stops and talks to me. Baby steps, right?


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