I love those moments when you discover that someone you just met - or have known forever - or admired for something else entirely - is a knitter. It's a eureka! feeling, an instant connection, and a quantum shift in your perception of that person. Discovering someone is a knitter validates that sense of connection you were already feeling.
My neighbor across the street is a knitter. After ten years of waves and random greetings, we're neighborly, nothing more, because she and her husband have a busy medical practice and I have . . . well, the juggling-act-that-never-ends. At a neighborhood potluck, she admired my Pyramid Cardigan and asked about the miters. Aha! Only a knitter would ask for that information! She's been knitting for decades and I didn't know.
At Dunwoody Nature Center, knitting is a connection among two of the staff, one of our most dedicated volunteers, and a past volunteer who has since moved to California. I "met" TangleGirl through Ravelry and the nature center's executive director.
The amazing Eleanor Roosevelt was a knitter. She led a wave of knitters during World War II that spanned all generations. (There's a great article at HistoryLink.) I've always admired ER - her knitting is simply an extra lump of sugar in the cup of tea.
Audrey Hepburn knitted. She remains, for me, the personification of grace and poised stoicism. Of course, she knitted!
Celebrities are adding glamour to knitting, though I'm not sure how much Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt really knit (I can just hear their publicists saying, "here's something that'll get you in the press and broaden your demographic reach!"). If I walked into a LYS and discovered Tracey Ullman or Felicity Huffman sitting there, knitting merrily away, I'd happily join them and indulge in a nice chat about our WIPs. Knitting takes icons off their pedestals and places them firmly in the real world.
What's really intriguing to me is how many high energy, Type A personalities are or were knitters. Katherine Hepburn, Madeline Albright, Martha Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, Dumbledore (yes, Harry Potter's fearless leader), and Papa Berenstain Bear (that's right - check out He Bear, She Bear) . . . all knit, and all likely have benefitted from the meditative, relaxing qualities of knitting.
So while I'm sitting there in the airport, waiting room, bleachers, train station, or amusement park, knitting contentedly and listening to unsolicited discussions about grandma's experiments with ugly acrylics and how the speaker wishes he/she had "time" to knit, I think about the company I'm REALLY keeping.
The more there is to do, the more I get done. Just like knitters who happen to have very public careers.