Knitting in the park tends to evoke similar reactions: “My” bench will be one of the last to be filled (but perhaps that’s consideration for the sleeping child in the pram beside me). However, people are more open in their knitting chat and can often be heard – in deliberately loud voices – commenting on the knitting in progress. Very few people actually speak to me though, they’re brave enough to smile in my direction, but clearly I’m too intimidating for anything more. Or maybe – again - it’s the fear of the potential loopiness which must clearly be a prerequisite for knitting out of the home.
Cafes, coffee shops and the like seem to be the most acceptable place to knit in public, as people will actually initiate conversations with me and any other fellow knitters I’m privileged enough to be with. Frequently, these are older women who “used to knit” themselves or younger relations of knitters - people, like me, who are instinctively drawn to yarn. Some pause long enough to make a few observations along the lines of “how lovely it is to see young people knitting”. Others stay long enough to admire the range / style / colour / complexity of the knitting – no matter the skill level of people knitting, they always have something positive to say. Tis one of the things I love about knitters: They are always so lovely, so positive, so interesting, so inspiring. Other will share stores of their own knitting “careers”, knitting for family members, knitting for charity, now knitting for grandchildren, knitting as a business. Very few of these more experienced knitters seem to knit for themselves, telling isn’t it? Yesterday, an official “Knit in Public Day”, I had the honour of talking to a gentleman who knitted when he was younger and again, not for himself: Socks, hats, and scarves for the army. I wish he could have stayed longer so that I could have learnt more. Another lady shared how a relative of hers knitted lace shawls for sale as well as treating old shawls to a
brightening wash and re-block. Oh, the patience needed for that!
And that’s what I love about knitting in public. For all it may make some people uncomfortable (and for that, I’m truly sorry), I delight in hearing other people’s knitting-related stories, their histories, their lives. The yarns may change, designs and patterns evolve but, most wonderfully, knitters will always be knitters.