Casting around today for something, anything to write about (totally not panicking yet, totally), I spotted a forum thread about knitting in public. ‘What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever knitted?’ asked the OP. Other posters dutifully replied. In the park. While fishing. During a medical procedure. Barely scraping the side of weird, if you ask me, but whatever.
Knitting in public is a big thing. Stitch and Bitch. Stitch ‘n Pitch. There’s even a day for it – World Wide Knit In Public Day, June 8th-16th. That’s stretching the definition of ‘day’ but I’m sure they’re just saving up for the ‘wwkipweek’ domain.
But despite this ‘totally not weird’ thing, I have been reminded recently that knitting in public is kind of odd, at least for non-knitters. Knitting on my lunch break, on two separate occasions I’ve had colleagues laugh out loud and incredulously ask ‘are you knitting‘?
In Birmingham, nobody batted an eyelid. Is it because Brighton is full of hipsters who sew – when everyone’s self-drafting, sewing from vintage patterns, and upcycling the living shit out of every charity shop in a twenty mile radius, I suppose knitting might seem a bit unfashionable. I don’t know.
But, nothing can stop me now. I knit where I want. I knit in the garden, with the aid of HelperKitty:
I knit in the pub, particularly if I can coordinate my drinks to the item in question:
I knit on the beach. I suppose that is a bit odd, particularly in the middle of a heatwave. But far easier with pebbles than sand.
And at my desk, and on the train, and walking around my living room while I attend to the laundry, and while playing computer games, and and and…
Top tips for successful knitting in public:
- Consider the environment. Smoke? Sand? Low lighting? You may want to leave the knitting in your bag. However, a bright day outside is the best opportunity you’ll get to really see what your black laceweight is doing. Just don’t let the sun bleach your yarn.
- Consider the materials. Don’t take dark yarn to a dingy pub unless you want to spend most of the time unraveling your work. Equally, don’t take light yarn if you’re likely to drop it on a sticky floor. Take a yarn that knits up nicely, and doesn’t throw a hissy fit if you have to do any tinking.
- Consider the pattern. It’s fun to puzzle through a difficult pattern, but if you’re ignoring everyone and shouting loudly and incoherently at your hands, you’re not going to make any friends. Save the tricolour stranded work until you can really concentrate on it.
- Finally, consider your audience. Many people will not care if you knit in front of them. But some just don’t understand that it’s possible to make something and listen to them at the same time. They will think you’re being rude, and if you continue to knit in front of them after they’ve told you they don’t like it? You are being rude.
That last sentence is contentious and I know it. I’d love to know what you make of it.
What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever knit? Any other tips for adventurous knitting?