How to knit in public
To celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day, we asked Elizabeth to give us her tips for knitting in public. This tongue-in-cheek report suggest she doesn’t think knitting in public is quite as simple as it looks…
Every home I’ve lived in since I started knitting has had a yarn nest. This is the most comfortable spot in the house, and it’s where I do most of my knitting. It’s usually the corner of the sofa with the best view of the telly. There will be spare needles within easy reach (and tucked down the sofa cushions), yarn shop bags tucked under the table (and in every other nook) and a secure spot to rest a coffee or a glass of wine (or both. And chocolate). Transporting this nest to the great outdoors can be somewhat perilous, but it is definitely possible.
First, catch your yarn
Before you can knit in public, you must have yarn to knit with. Look over the projects you have on the go already and dismiss them all. They are clearly unworthy or unsuitable – if they were that good, you would have finished them by now. (If you’re currently a monogamous knitter, with only one project on the go, this step should be very quick indeed. Ignore the pangs and cast on afresh.)
As you dive into the stash, remember that you’ll be knitting in public, which means that other people will see your yarn and judge your project. Have a momentary panic about that, and then reach for your best cashmere. Pet it, but put it back as it’s too risky to take outside. When you’ve got a good armful of yarn, you can match it up with a pattern or seven.
Add one good strong pattern
You need something impressive but easy to work on, something that will make other knitters nod with approval, but also lets you stop mid-row to rescue an escaping needle or order another coffee. This is impossible to capture in one project, so tuck two or three in a tote. You’ll be away from your stash, so make sure to add all the needles, notions, pattern pages and instructions you could possibly need for any of the patterns. You may need a second bag.
Stir in a handful of snacks
Not literally, you understand: sweets are sticky and chocolate can stain. But if you’re going to knit in public, you may be some time. It can take hours or even years for a group of knitters to all reach the end of their ‘just one more row’ at the same time, and you don’t want to get peckish while you wait for the group to move from the park to the coffee house.
Keep calm and carry yarn
As you try to leave the house, remind yourself that you’ll have to carry your bags around with you yourself. Stop at the door and try to put one or two of the less likely projects back. Once you can lift the bag of snacks, yarn, needles and ephemera, you’re good to go.
PS: if you’re in London, come and join our own Loveknitting Knit in Public event!
Last updated: June 17th, 2014.