Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Do It In Public

Go on, I dare you. Throw your inhibitions to the wind and whip it out.

Yes people, knit in the open!

Of course it turns out I've just missed the official World Wide Knit In Public Day which was on 14th June (there really is a holiday allocation for everything it seems) but there's no reason you can't do it any day you like. It might be a bit embarrassing and you’ll feel a bit self-conscious at first but it’s really ok. I often knit on public transport and I’m always fascinated by the reactions I get.

For some reason, it’s usually men who end up staring at my hands, following the needles, trying to work out exactly how the hell you knit a sweater anyway.

I once had a Danish lady move down the carriage to sit next to me and show me an ‘easier’ way to knit. Between my non-existent Danish and her broken English, trying to convey that I’m hopeless at knitting with the yarn in my left hand was tricky but I loved that a complete stranger felt compelled to share her knowledge.

Visiting a friend in hospital and setting to work on a scarf prompted an elderly gent in the opposite bed to strike up a conversation. He seemed very pleased that us young ‘uns were still knitting.

Passing time in a doctor’s waiting room with a half-finished sweater I found myself chatting to one of the nurses about yarn substitution and patterns for knitting a sweater all in one piece.

For some people these are conversations they would die to avoid – yarn substitution? Seriously? – but it’s not so much the content as the act itself. In most public places we all keep our heads down, keep our faces neutral and try to avoid the knitting weirdo in the corner. But a smile as a ball of yarn rolls down a carriage, a compliment on a fancy bit of lacework, the passing on of a knitting tip or two, these are all little connections that remind us we’re not really travelling solo. There are 8 million people in this town. Anything that prompts you to say hello to one of them can only be a Good Thing.

No comments: