I had an interesting time on my business trip. As is my habit, I brought my knitting with me (the Petit-Four sock, chiefly) and knit whenever there was a break and through much of my presenting.
The group I was working with consisted of four of my company’s employees who are from Manila but are working in Portland for a few months plus two Americans and a few others who came in and out. The group from Manila and one of the Americans were very interested in my knitting. I started with about an inch of sock and they were curious as to what it was – pretty standard. They admired the yarn and found the sock interesting, examining the hand-knit socks I was wearing with interest, too.
They also asked some questions I don’t usually get. “What is the biggest thing you’ve ever made?” That took me a while to answer, though I did get round to the couple of blankets I’ve made eventually. Then one of them wanted to know what the hardest kind of thing to knit was. I took refuge in the standard, and actually correct, answer – “It depends.” Have you ever noticed how often that’s the right answer? How long does it take to … What do you most enjoy making … There are many knitting questions that require that answer. What is the biggest thing you’ve made? My immediate response was to think in terms of square inches, but it would perhaps make more sense to think about how many stitches there are – though that’s not something I track! Still it was interesting to have my mind sent in some knitting directions it doesn’t generally go in.
One of the other things that struck me as I worked with this group for three long days was that all the people who scream about the evils of outsourcing should spend some time working with some of the folk who end up with the work. I absolutely understand the source of resentment – several people I worked with have been laid off in the past couple of years, so that their jobs could be taken by workers from countries who don’t get as high a wage. You can’t help being sorry about that. But it’s easy to lose track of the fact that the people who get the work are just that – people. And most of them are very nice people, too. They need the work, they have the skills, most of them work very hard. And once you’ve met some of them, it’s a lot harder to feel any resentment towards them.
As is so often the case, you can’t demonize people you know. In fact, it’s a real privilege to get to know people from backgrounds that differ a lot from yours. I really enjoyed getting to know this group!
Photo of the Day
I have an awful lot to learn about photography. I’m going to get my husband to work with me to take some pictures of the Petit-Four sock that will properly show the texture. In the meantime, here is a photo I took while experimenting with an iPhone app that seems to do a better job than the photos I’ve managed with the camera so far.
The colors are nowhere near reality, but the texture is much more visible. I will try to work on iPhone photography, too. It is really useful to be able to get halfway decent photos of things without having to plan ahead.