dangerous needles

This was the headline letter to the editor in the Chicago Tribune on Monday.  I got a chuckle out of the comments posted on-line afterwards.  One knitter said that “No self-respecting knitter would ruin a project by taking out the needles”.  And another:  “The people who have committed crimes can knit in jail, but not the jurors?”

Voice of the People (Letters)

Not all knitting needles are equal

March 3, 2008

As an Illinois citizen who was recently called for jury service, I would like to voice my hopes that knitting supplies will be removed from the list of items prohibited in Illinois courthouses.

I understand the security concerns; however, I am hoping to illustrate that not all knitting needles are potential weapons.

Not all knitting needles are made of metal. Many are made of bamboo, acrylic or resin.

Not all knitting needles are long, pointy objects. For instance, a large number of knitters use circular knitting needles, which consist of two short shafts connected by a flexible plastic cord.

Many knitters use interchangeable circular knitting needles, which consist of tips that are no longer than 4 inches, along with multiple sizes of attachable cords.

I cannot imagine this type of equipment, especially, being used as a weapon.

I understand that writing implements, namely pens and pencils, are allowed through security at courthouses. There is no difference between pens, pencils and knitting needles, when one considers the physical properties that give these items the potential to be used as weapons. In fact the circular and interchangeable needles I mentioned have far less potential to be used as weapons.

Knitters and crocheters are generally a peaceful bunch, and the hobby is rapidly growing. Knitting allows and improves one’s patience, which is needed while one is waiting for long periods of time, a requirement in a courthouse, especially a jury selection waiting room.

I hope that the State of Illinois considers a way to make the experience of those called for jury service a pleasant one. Citizens who are required to give up their time and, sometimes, daily pay are not the same individuals who are on trial.

I regret that the social condition is such that heavy security is required in almost all aspects of daily life in America, but I think we need to exercise prudence and avoid extreme measures whenever possible. I believe prohibiting knitting in a jury waiting room is one of those unnecessary extreme measures.

— Kelly Kubicz