When it comes to knitting, I get the feeling I’m unwittingly cocky. No matter what I’m working on, no matter how many times I’ve ripped it out or worked back or started over, when someone asks, I say it’s easy. I describe the usual sacred cows of “tricky” knitting — two-handed two-color stranded knitting, complicated lace knitting, my two-row decreases in brioche stitch, double knitting, bizarre and complicated cast-ons that had me tearing my hair out trying to understand, etc. — as “not too hard once you get the hang of it.” When someone at the stitch ‘n’ bitch asks about a technique, my assurances that it’s no problem, they’ll pick it up once they see it, are drowned out by knowing laughter and almost audible eye-rolling. “Easy for you,,” they say.

It’s bad, but the alternative is being painted as some kind of knitting genius, which is flatly untrue. I’m horrible at being humble, and even worse at accepting compliments, so even the gentlest compliment on my knitting skill makes me dissolve into a mess of blame. Oh, it’s the yarn, I say; it does all the work for me. Sure, the decreases look nice, but I spent a month wanting to bang my head on the desk trying to figure it out. Or, nah, it’s no big deal, you’d think it was easy too if you’d spent a month doing nothing but teaching yourself shaping and decreasing and watching Adult Swim. I hate, hate, hate the idea that people think they can’t do something, especially something as simple as wrapping string around sticks, and I hate the idea that knowing nine ways to cast on it something special.

So I guess the other day serves me right. As I was blazing through some stockinette on a fingerless glove, the woman next to me tapped my arm and mouthed something that I missed completely, thanks to my noise-canceling headphones. I ripped them out of my ears and said “Excuse me?”

She smiled indulgently and said “You’re just really good at that,” she said, “it’s amazing.”

“Aw, it’s not that hard,” I said. “Really, I swear.”

“Well, I couldn’t do it. You’re really very good at it!”

“It’s really not a big deal! I used to work at a yarn store, y’know? Really, it’s easy.”

She shrugged and smiled and said something else kind and self-deprecating, and I fumbled until she went back to her book. Two minutes later, after yapping about how easy my project was, I tried on the glove and it was sort of &hellip, floppy. I read back and realized I had kind of skipped some kind of important decreases and kind of had a good 20 percent more stitches on my needles than I actually needed.

So, less than five minutes after listening to me talk about how effortless knitting is, this perfectly kind woman watched me rip my glove all the way down to the fingers, destroying a good two hours of work.

Hell. Maybe I should just learn to accept a compliment.