Am I overreacting?!

Hey everyone, I just want to ask a sort-of-knitting question. Just had a fight with the husband over knitting and I don’t know if I’m overreacting or what.

Thing is, my husband likes to pick up my needles and play with them. He also uses them as a back scratcher and even a head scratcher. While I was in here blogging he was playing with my crochet hook.

I asked him to stop playing with my tools as I feel it is disrespectful. He himself is a craftsperson (bricklayer) and I do not touch his tools ever!

I just feel like he should leave my knitting stuff alone, as I want my needles to be clean and him using them to scratch his back is just wrong! He feels I’m being stupid and that him playing with my needles etc is funny.

What do you guys think? Am I being ‘anal’ here or am I in the right?

The thing is, it doesn’t matter if you’re being anal or not. The point is, they belong to you and you don’t like it. Period. He should respect your desires as far as how your own tools are treated. It’s a simple matter of respect.

Maybe you need to put them some place where it will be inconvenient for him to mess with them.

I agree, I don’t like when my needles and yarn, etc are played with.

I don’t think that you are overreacting, but maybe you could buy him a set of his own needles and then he would have some to play with if he feels that he really needs to. Just a thought.



I completely agree here. He should respect your wishes. Maybe he just can’t relate to loving knitting and taking it seriously. (I can’t relate to loving brick-laying, but I could imagine someone taking it seriously as an artform, and I would definitely respect their wishes if they said to lay off the tools!) In any case, it’s something that’s important to your heart, and there are natural limits to what feels right when someone’s joking about something important to you. Trust your heart.

When Sheldon crosses that line, which I think is natural if someone can’t relate to your passion, I stay firm. I always try to communicate clearly, with understanding where he’s coming from; like, I just tell him what I want, without anger in my voice, but clearly. Of course sometimes, if it’s really crossing a boundry, I can’t help getting mad. That’s healthy, I think, and can effectively communicate how important something is to you! Definitely hold your ground, and communicate with as much understanding as you can, and do forgive him for not knowing; but don’t second guess your feelings, it’s clearly important to you and he should respect it, “period,” as anise said!

I used to have no idea that I was crossing a border with Sheldon when I’d constantly offer “helpful” comments when he was doing something. He’d feel disrespected, like I didn’t trust him to do things on his own. Now I totally get it, but it took me a little while. Now I can offer comments here and there, and he doesn’t take it that way, because we’ve established that I trust and respect him. But first we had to communicate, and it was a little uptight, and that was just part of the process. Now we can totally joke about it.

Definitely you’re on the right track I’d say, and not over-reacting. :slight_smile:


Thanks for replying, I’m so glad for that! I really was second guessing myself. I will have to be firm with him I guess, although he’s very mean when arguing. Like he told me that he didn’t mind if I messed with his bricklaying tools (implying that I’m mean to ask him not to play with my knitting stuff).

In any case, I think I will buy him a pair of his own needles, thanks for that idea Trish!

Thing is Amy, I believe in communication and trust and respect, but communicating with him is extremely hard to do. Essentially, we can have a serious conversation once in a while, but after about two sentences he’s cracking jokes and giving stupid answers. I’ve learned to deal with it, but at times like these it really gets on my nerves!!

Anise, I keep my needles etc in a box in the spare room with all my yarn. It’s when I’m sitting watching tv or something that it happens. If I get up to get a drink or whatever, I set my knitting down and leave the room, bingo, he picks up my spare needle and plays with it. I come back and see it, ask him nicely but firmly not to play with my needles and he kicks off! (At this moment I have my current project sitting beside me and well away from him!)

Anyway, I thought I’d ask other knitters their views, so thanks!!

This brought back a memory. My Husband insisted on using my garden tools for anything but gardening. Husband is not a gardener. Everytime i used my tools i cleaned them and if neccesary oiled them. To many times i would go to use one of my garden tools finding them dirty or misplaced.

Asking him Not to use them was like talking to a wall. One day after he washed his “precious car” i swear he spit shines the darn thing, i thought i know what i can do.

I told him i was going to the store. It had rained the day before. Hurray! Off i went in HIS car up and down a muddy road, back and forth. I drove a muddy car back home.

Well, let me tell you he was Not HAPPY. I told him you can wash it again, thats what i have to do with my garden tools everytime you use them.

He looked at me like i had lost my mind. He did wash the car again plus polished it too… When he was finished he said " I get your point".

So far he has left my garden tools alone.

If he continued using my knitting needles when i ask him not to this is what i would do. Take him to a store walking him to where the needles are. Here are the needles you so love to use. BUY YOUR OWN!!!

Anne thanks for that story! It’s great to know I’m not alone in dealing with a stubborn man! Ironically, talking to my husband is quite like talking to a brick wall! Think he spends too much time building them. You handled that situation beautifully, kudos!

Next time I drag him to the wool store I’m going to have him pick out his own needles. I’ll even tag them so he knows they are his and I won’t even look at them. Think it’ll work?

Oh a sadder note, last Christmas I bought him a back scratcher. I think he’s used it once.

Some men are big babies. They like the attention. I have made several scarfs this Winter to give as gifts. My Husband ask me why i gave them all away? Duhhhh!! Gifts… Then i thought to myself i bet he would like me to knit one for him. One day he ask me why i didnt make one for him?

Never in my wildest dreams did i think he would wear it. He ask for a black scarf so that is what i am doing now. In fact he told me how long it should it be. lol… Would you like fringe also? NO!!!


Ironically, talking to my husband is quite like talking to a brick wall! Think he spends too much time building them.
That is hilarious. ROFLMAO!!!

I don’t know if “fighting” back with a prankster with another prank is a good idea, but…he has tools right…He must also have something equivalent to a carpenter’s belt to hold his tools while working. I would be tempted to replace his tool belt with a frilly, lacey, pink KNITTED one. Make sure you leave a spot to put in some of his own knitting needles too. Wrap it up, make him open it infront of his workmates (if his ego can handle it, otherwise alone is fine). Say, “Haha, now you have your own knitting tools, so mine can go back to knitting and not scratching your back.” Or…“How thoughtless of me. All this time you’ve been playing with my knitting stuff, I never thought that you might actually want me to knit something for you.” 8)


Your stories are great. It was fortunate that you could prove your point to your husband with something that had the same level of value to you. If he only cared about watching football on tv, then I just can’t imagine how you would pull off the same effect. Maybe put mud on the tv right before the Superbowl :?:

I got a good giggle out of the brick wall/ brick-layer comparison too. :lol:

Your boyfriend sounds like an Irishman–constantly cracking jokes.


BTW, I don’t know if this fits your boyfriend at all, but it reminds me of what used to happen when I’d try to have “deep talks” with my husband. Like, whenever I’d try to talk about my feelings, basically, he’d run or change the subject. We figured it out–it’s talked about in the book, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus…

Sheldon didn’t know that talking and listening was an important part of dealing with stress for me, and an important part of my process of accessing my feelings so I can communicate them. I guess the way he deals with emotions, as a lot of guys do, is much more direct. He doesn’t talk about them, but rather takes time to himself until he knows what he’s feeling, and what he wants, and then he’s ready to talk. He doesn’t explore feelings, but rather gets to the point, and communicates what he wants, very clearly and concisely. I, on the other hand (like a lot of women) am in the habit of talking and sharing, in order to get to the core of my feelings and what I want. Since Sheldon couldn’t relate to this process, he assumed that when I was upset, and talking about feelings, that I was talking because I was blaming him for my feelings, or that I was asking him for advice on how to fix my problems. He really just didn’t understand that talking was a helpful part of the process; to him it just seemed like I was complaining. (No wonder he wanted to run!)

It took practice, and lots of reminders and encouragement, before he understood. What he needed to learn was: that it helped me to be able to talk; that most of the time the talking would seem to make me feel worse before it made me feel better; that I didn’t want him to try to solve my problems–in fact the less talking he did the better (it sounds selfish, but he was actually very relieved to hear this–it made his job much easier); and that him just sitting and listening (and holding me and being close, not being stolid), was all he needed to do. Oh, and make little listening noises, like “mmhmm,” or whatever. At first he could only listen for 5 minutes at a time, and he’d tend to sit far away, and look uncomfortable. He didn’t get the process at all. Now he totally gets it, and he’s a better listener than any of my girlfriends! (Lucky me!)


Now he totally gets it, and he’s a better listener than any of my girlfriends! (Lucky me!)

Amy, Lucky you is right. Count your blessings.

Maybe I shouldn’t say “lucky.” It definitely took work! LOL. I thank John Gray, the author of that book, for helping us figure that biggie out. It’s made us much closer.

I was reading and was just going to say…this sounds like “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”…LOL

Here’s an idea too…pranksters are always hard to deal with because once they get your reaction…they know they got you! How about non-reaction as a way of dealing with it? I find people who “joke” like that are looking for reaction and when you give it, you fuel them to continue.

If he picks up your needle and uses it, let him have it…instead…go to your supply and get the same size needle and continue knitting…and create a box of needles for him…in full view…somewhere for him to find…and always by your knitting stuff…and in fact, put on it…“MY HUSBAND’S KNITTING NEEDLES”. And make sure when you go and pick up your replacement needle that you say nothing…and when he asks if you need your needle back, say “no, that’s yours now, you can put it in your box”.

That gives you the excuse to buy lots of needles…because for every one he uses you don’t use again…just keep piling them up. And if he says you have lots of needles, tell him, no, those are yours now…you used them…LOL

I always love the reverse psychology approach when dealing with pranksters…LOL

Good luck!


Wow! I didn’t think one fight with my husband would generate such a great discussion!

My husband is an Irishman, in case you are wondering, and yes, it seems to be ‘the Irish way’ for men to be arrogant, stubborn and emotionally stunted! But I do love him as he has some great qualities.

In reply:

Anne, I’m knitting him a scarf at the moment, hoping that he will be happy that I am finally knitting him something. He doesn’t have a tool belt, he has a tool box/bag. It is so heavy I cannot even lift it! I could knit him a handy carrying bag though for the smaller stuff…I’ll have to think about that! On Saturday we will be going to Bray to check out a wool shop, I’ll drag him along and have him pick out some needles for himself. Hope it works!

Amy, I read Mars/Venus a long time ago! It was a really great book and I should try and find it again and leave it lying around where he can see it. I think it’s great that you and Sheldon were able to sort through your differences. It seems as though you are both able AND WILLING to understand each other! Maybe he could give my husband a few pointers?!

Thing about men is (and my hubby has confirmed this) they usually want to fix a problem, not hear about it. If I’m upset and need to talk or whatever, he always assumes I’m asking him to fix the problem. He can’t always do that and gets upset because he can’t. Whereas, like you Amy, I just need him to listen!

Roxanne, that’s a great idea! He is always questioning my need to buy knitting supplies so this is a great excuse to buy more more more!! I was going to tag his needles with a little label as well so that I don’t use them by accident.

Gosh, all this trouble over little ole needles :slight_smile:

soapbox warning

I guess I have a different view than most people. I’m almost finished with classes for my masters in education, and one of the very first lessons we learned was “accept reality.” Once I applied this to everyday stressful/frustrating/annoying situations in my life (not just the classroom), I became a much happier, easy going person. So Mr. Jones thinks that my class is a waste of time, and his son shouldn’t haveto do the work (I teach music)… okay, I accept that and I can’t change it, so I’m not going to argue, plead, or get angry when the kid refuses to do his homework. My mother-in-law is habitually 45 minutes late to EVERYTHING… I accept that, I can’t change it, so now I just tell her to meet me 45 minutes earlier than I really want to (or bide my time with knitting for an extra 45 minutes).
SO, regarding this situation, IMHO it’s not worth an argument, reverse psychology, or get-back-at-him tactics. Let him play with your needles; what’s the worse than can happen? Yes back scratching with needles is gross… you could try buying him a back scratcher, scratching his back for him, or a million other things, but the easiest thing might just be to accept the reality that he is going to do it, and keep a rag in with your needles and wipe them off before you use them.

end of soapbox

I have adopted that “accept people as they are” mentality too and for the most part, I’m pretty easy-going. There is a fine line to being “accepting” and to be “walked on” too so even though it’s fine to just “accept” who he is, that doesn’t mean you can’t work to improve the dynamic between the two of you. That doesn’t mean changing WHO he is but rather, working with WHO he is and making the situation more tolerable for the both of you. I spent 14 years trying to and hoping to change my first partner and it got me nowhere…now I’m with a loving man who I wholeheartedly accept as a person but we are constantly working on our relationship dynamics.

Anyways, my 2 cents worth…it’s easier to just “let go” of how people react when they are not close to you but when you are in a household with someone and with them all the time, dynamics need to be worked on so both people are happy and an environment of mutual respect is fostered.

Hiya Hildegard, thanks for your reply! I would agree with you on the ‘accept reality’ idea but in my case, I generally accept certain situations that I cannot change. If my bus is late for example, rather than rant and rave like other passengers, I sit and read or knit and be thankful for the extra time! When it comes to things that happen during my day I am a little more accepting of it, especially when I cannot and know I cannot change things.

However, like Roxanne said, with people the dynamic is different. Living together means my husband and I have to make allowances for each other (like I don’t rail at him for drinking out of the carton and he doesn’t get upset when I squeeze the toothpaste from the middle) and that’s fine with me.

But when I specifically ask him to respect my space and my hobby I feel I should be able to expect him to show that respect. And accepting that he does not respect me is, in my opinion, unacceptable! I don’t want to roll over and think my husband can’t (or simply won’t) show me respect!!

Does that make any sense?! Or am I splitting hairs here?

you’re right! marriage is about mutual respect, and he should respect your space. maybe you’ll have to get a safe for your stuff!