The great majority of my crafting life has been a solitary experience.
As a child, I spent many, mostly happy, hours alone with needles, hooks, books, and yarn pouring over patterns, learning and creating. I didn’t know anyone else who knitted or crocheted, but in a house with many siblings, it was nice to have some space.
In those days, I rarely hauled out my handiwork in public, preferring to keep it a home or maybe overnights at a relative’s. I wasn’t shy about it, just didn’t do it much.
Finding other knitters and crocheters on line spurred a knitting and crocheting renaissance nearly a decade ago, and I haven’t stopped since. It also introduced me to local crafters and got my needlework out of the house.
Today, I pretty much knit and crochet in public on a regular basis and pretty much anywhere it’s allowed. There’s something about needles and yarn that drops barriers and makes people feel that they can come up to me and ask questions, and the diva in me loves the attention.
The question I’m most asked is what is the difference between knitting and crocheting and which do I like better (a future post). It makes me smile when men come up to me and confess that their mother, grandmother, aunt, or even father, taught them and they even passed it on their children.
One of the nicest experiences I had was at a classic music concert during Spoleto. I was very quietly knitting a sock and I noticed one of the musicians staring at me. At first I thought she was annoyed but then she smiled and kept playing. Afterwards, she told me that her grandmother in the Ukraine knitted socks and my knitting brought back pleasant memories for her.
To top it off, her grandmother was also named Vera. How cool is that?
Although some of my friends have had their share of negative experiences knitting in public (one was told she was being rude), I only have one.
I brought my crocheting to the post office, it was during the Christmas season, I expected to be in line for a while, and wanted to pass the time finishing last minute gifts. I had a nice time in line chatting up others and showing off my work. When I got up to the clerk, she frowned and huffed, “Well, we aren’t so slow that you have to bring your knitting.”
Since it wouldn’t go over well to tell her that I actually was crocheting, and I wanted my packages to arrive on time, I refrained pointing out her error.
I don’t knit at work except at lunch. The church I attend is very open to knitting during the service, but I don’t bring my knitting to other churches. I will knit at a causal concert, not at an opera, and I take care to choose quiet needles and a pattern I know very well so I’m not thrashing about with instructions. I also take time to engage make eye contact with the speaker if at a lecture and clap and generally be otherwise present.
When in doubt, just ask.
Outdoors or with other knitters, it’s all about sharing and having fun. Still it’s probably not the best time to graft that intricate lace shawl. Been there, messed it up.
Do you knit or crochet in public? Have any stories to share?
What rules/etiquette do you follow when doing needlework in public?
Gather up your yarn and hooks because a crocheting tutorial is on the way!
*KIP: Knit In Public–crochet too.
Vera Hannaford lives and crafts in Charleston, South Carolina. She took part in a World Wide Knit in Public Week event at the Charleston Museum and is excited about starting a Sunflower Field Shawl for a Tour de France Knit A Long, but is still stressing about the yarn.