Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Miss Manners Re: Needlework in Public

from today's Washington Post (for some of you, maybe last week's paper?:

Dear Miss Manners:

At a condo association meeting consisting of about 60 people, there was a head table with six people, facing about six rows of tables, about 5 feet away. In the front row were two ladies — not sitting next to each other — doing their needlework.

Is it proper to do needlework while at an event such as this? I noticed that the speakers were distracted (and so was I) by their movements.

Between reading the directions and rearranging their work, one couldn’t help but turn their way to see what was going on. I say it is rude.

Gentle Reader:

But what if they don’t have hand-held devices that enable them to check their e-mail, text message and play games while the committee is droning on?

Not that Miss Manners condones failing to pay attention at meetings, or rather, failing to look as if one is paying attention.

She merely wants to make the point that there are worse distractions available. Needlework at least has precedent behind it.

For centuries, ladies sat quietly doing needlework while gentlemen conversed around them and didn’t miss a thing of what was going on.


Stitching in Public! Good for those ladies who were multi-tasking. I'd like to bring my needlework to our HOA meeting next week, but as it's usually a short and sweet meeting and crowded 'cause we meet in someone's home, I'll leave it at home.

I honestly can't say I've ever stitched in public in such a way as to present a distraction. I don't rattle my pattern or wave my scissors while yelling about orts.

Though I did have a teacher in prep school who wouldn't let me stitch during class. For the record: it was English class. Twelve teenagers sitting around an oval table discussing books in the Socratic method. We all know that we can stitch and talk at the same time. I was doing crewel work. And he was a male chauvinist. The class stood up for me, but the teacher ruled. And I put my sewing away. But I made it a point to arrive early and stitch before class after that incident.


Anna van Schurman said...

I would have made you put it away too. Multitasking has its place, but it's not in the classroom as far as I am concerned. Socratic method or no. (And I stitch and knit in meetings, so it's not as though I'm against all of it.)
--Your friend the former English teacher

Restitches said...

If only I could stitch at work. Think of the progress I could make! And half the time, I really don't need to pay attention. LOL
Where in Fredburg is the antique market?

Donna said...

Jonni, The antique market was the Big Flea at the Expo Center. I'm not certain, but this may have been the first Big Flea in Fred. They do these shows in Chantilly and Richmond periodically. Wear comfortable shoes.

C in DC said...

That's great.

I don't do needlework in regular meetings at work, but I've crocheted during telecons. I don't cross-stitch during these, because I find it hard to get into a rhythm.

Anonymous said...

I used to work for a court reporting agency. About 10 years ago I was taken to one of the national conventions because my boss was presenting at a seminar and needed me to be her backup (read: run it for her cause she was bloody clueless). About 80% of the women in the room were doing some sort of something with their hands, and very few of them were actually using their steno machines to take notes. Most of them were crafting or playing with playdough from a prior seminar or doing little finger puzzles. Interestingly, about 90% of the twiddlers that I'd talked to later remembered most of our content the next day... compared to about 50% of the non-twiddlers.