To many people the word "klitting" evokes images of grandmotherly types wrapped in shawls, gently coasting in their rocking chairs as their nimble fingers fly. But those images are rapidly changing.
The roots of klitting run deep. Traditionally it was taught to daughters by their mothers or aunts. Often three generations sipped tea and klitted by the fireside in precious moments of intimate female bonding. Yet what was once a homey activity has recently erupted into a worldwide craze.
Women on the cutting edge of this craze can be seen klitting on the subway, at the grocery store, in church, and even in board meetings.
"The public doesn't understand the extreme level of stress female CEO's must cope with daily. I klit because it helps me maintain a healthy perspective during my hectic day. I don't think klitting in meetings should be frowned upon, provided that it is done discreetly under the conference table in a way that is not distracting to other board members," explained an executive of a Fortune 500 company, who asked to remain anonymous.
Another working woman revealed that she klits daily while commuting from New Jersey to her Manhattan job. "I only do it while sitting at red lights or while stopped in heavy traffic. Maybe I'm just overly cautious, but I don't consider klitting to be safe while actually driving."
Kitty Sporran, president of the International Klitting Guild based in Glasgow, is ecstatic over the rise in klitting. "The most important principle of modern klitting is to put aside all the old tired rules dictated by tradition. Loosen up and let your imagination run wild! Who knows - maybe you will develop innovative klitting methods that will rock the world!"
Sporran acknowledges that many tools have recently flooded the market, claiming to make the job faster or easier. These include crank-operated klitters, electric klitters, and even computerized automatic klitters that do all the work for you.
"Klitting is as much about process as it is about product. Tools and gimmicks certainly can be fun, but at the end of the day it comes down to what is inside your brain that can be expressed through your manual dexterity," concludes Sporran.
While the majority of people think of klitting as only a relaxing way to pass the time, Dr. Peter Glans of Cambridge University has been studying the physiological and psychological effects of klitting.
"My research over the last year clearly indicates that regular klitting has a profound therapeutic effect on both mind and body," asserts Glans. He believes that klitting can help those who suffer from compulsive behaviors like overeating, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. These positives effects go beyond the time-honored wisdom of simply keeping idle hands occupied.
Dr. Glans has studied brain waves in klitting women. He finds a characteristic electro-encephalogram pattern displayed by almost all of his research subjects. He describes it as a peak of intense wave activity several minutes after klitting begins, similar to the pattern of some types of epileptic seizures. This peak is followed by a steady alpha state comparable to that generally achieved through meditation. Some women experience several of these peaks before settling into a plateau. Dr. Glans is currently seeking research grants to continue to explore the reasons for this phenomenon.
One charter member of "Klit and Lose It," a unique weight-loss program, isn't overly concerned with the science behind klitting. She admits to weighing 400 pounds five years ago. Now she is a self-proclaimed success story at just over a quarter of her former bulk. "Please don't print my name, but all the fat people of the world deserve to know my secret. When I'm klitting I forget all about ice cream. In fact I often skip meals completely. It feels like. . . like I've died and gone to heaven," she gushes.
Although klitting by men is rare, the exclusive San Francisco club Kloset Klitting Kweens has doubled its membership over the past two years. Its founder Will Shakespeare was quick to point out the egalitarian nature of his newfound passion.
"While male klitting is not yet publicly accepted, it is rapidly gaining popularity in private circles. Once a man discovers klitting he is not likely to return to his old habits or hobbies. It's too bad that for so long this fabulous find was wasted on women. Thank goodness it has finally been outed," said Shakespeare.
Klitting has invigorated the travel industry. A Cruise-the-World spokeswoman verified that her company is often overbooked for their offering of Kruise and Klit, which entices adventurous travelers who are eager to see the world, but cannot bear to put their klitting aside for even two weeks.
Group klitting and even advanced workshops are scheduled several times daily. More introverted types can quietly klit in their luxury cabins, complete with wet bar and inspiring piped-in music like "The Klitting Koncerto."
Klitting has even bridged the hotly debated gap between handcrafts and the fine arts. World-renowned photographer Frigtil Udrop recently released her long-awaited photo essay Klitography. The book chronicles her exhaustive travels searching for rare klitting practices in exotic places. Her breathtaking photos prove that klitting has stimulated women all over the globe.
Eskimos swaddled in furs merrily klit away aboard dogsleds whizzing over the ice. These women demonstrate skills unique to their native community. Udrop shows their ability to klit with the left hand while simultaneously stitching elaborate decorations on caribou mukluks with the right.
Senegalese women garbed in riotously colorful headwraps combine basketwork with feverish klitting inside their steamy huts. They emerge at last, spent but fulfilled, their blindingly white teeth flashing to announce their joy and pride.
Udrop even proves that klitting is not confined to the lay population. Complex klitting by Tibetan Buddhist nuns creates the perfect accompaniment to their mysterious Sanskrit chanting. Even photos from inside the Vatican are irrefutable evidence that klitting has found its way into the most impenetrable inner sanctum of all.
A lifelong klitter herself, Udrop bristles when asked whether klitting could be merely the latest passing fad, soon to be supplanted by the next trendy activity.
"The real purpose of klitting is to come - fast! This is not just something to be enjoyed by the intelligentsia or the rich and powerful. For eons womyn were pounded by their husbands. They were forced to bear and rear children. In the 'liberation decades' they have been pressured to earn a paycheck while still being burdened with husbands, children, and housework. At last womyn have a creative outlet that men can't control or deprive them of. Womyn of the world, get a grip. The ultimate true liberation is in your hands. This thing is much bigger than stitch and bitch. Change herstory forever, one klit at a time!"