As someone who regularly knits in public I decided to set myself a bit more of a challenge during World Wide Knit in Public Week this year. Just doing it for a couple of hours on one of the days didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary so I thought I’d see if I could manage to fit some public knitting in every day between 8th and 16th June. This was a bit of a double challenge as I hadn’t managed to do any knitting since the birth of my child in March. She has no problem with me crocheting or spinning but trying to follow a knitting pattern had proved to be too difficult. Here is how I got on;
Saturday June 8th:
Casting on up at the allotment.
I opted for circular needles and knitting in the round. I hoped that would make life easier as it wouldn’t really matter if I had to stop mid row to put it down and deal with a child related emergency (mostly in the form of dirty nappies). I had a random ball of lace weight yarn that I had no other plans for so used that. I cast on for a light weight jumper with a vague idea what I wanted it to look like as a finished product but making up the pattern as I went along. It mostly consists of stocking stitch with eyelets/ YOs worked at regular intervals.
Sunday 9th June:
Walking along the donkey trail.
For a while I had fancied having a go at knitting whilst out walking (I blame seeing pictures of Stephen West doing it and the book I was reading a the time about a woman who spun yarn whilst walking). I worried that it might affect my tension but it seemed a lot easier than I imagined, and no tension issues either. It did raise more than a few eyebrows though. My OH who was with me on the walk greeted the sight of me knitting whilst walking with “Can’t you just walk, you do realise those are the actions of a mad woman” a tad harsh I felt but when telling my mother about it came up against a very similar action. It seems that even for avid knitters like my mum, walking round the streets knitting was just a step too far. It did however give me a bit of local notoriety, it seems I was spotted by a stranger who posted about a “young woman knitting outside the co-op” on her Facebook. A friend of a friend had seen it and asked if this could have been me, as I was the only person he could think of who might do such a thing.
Monday 10th June:
Waiting for a dirty fry-up in Tesco
In my defence it wasn’t a full English but I think we should probably skip over this one quite quickly.
Tuesday 11th June:
In the waiting room at the Doctor’s surgery.
This became one of my regular knitting venues when I was pregnant as both the midwife and the doctor could be running up to 45 minutes late for appointments so having something to keep you occupied was always a bonus. Slightly awkward getting my phone out to take a photo though. I had to pretend to be taking one of the baby and try not to get any of the other patients in shot.
Wednesday 12th June:
In the waiting room at the drop-in clinic.
A slight change to the plan, I was hoping to go to the local park for my knitting on the Wednesday but ended up at the walk in clinic instead. It probably worked out for the best though as it was blowing a gale outside and chucking it down with rain so a nice inside spot was a much better option. This was also my first encounter of the week with the phrase “You don’t see many young uns knitting these days” which incidentally is something I hear a lot of. I tend to just smile and nod rather than correct them and point them in the direction of Ravelry and the countless other examples on the internet of “young uns” very much getting into the world of knitting. It did however remind me that almost as much as having a baby, knitting does encourage strangers to talk to you. And you can bet if they do they will always want to know what you are making.
Thursday 13th June:
In the café at the local library/ art gallery.
Coffee and cake is a bit of a Thursday ritual for me and crafty baby so this week I thought I’d take my knitting along. Unfortunately I forgot that this ritual also includes feeding the baby whilst eating cake. I think I got about 2 rows in at most before crafty baby’s demands for food put an end to my public knitting.
Friday 14th June:
In the waiting room at the Doctor’s surgery (again).
I should perhaps point out that I am not normally a sickly person and in fact I am hardly ever ill, it just happened that the one week I decide to document my life on the internet I ended up going to the doctors 3 times. The first was a scheduled check up, the second was an emergency and the third was because I’d had an allergic reaction to the anti-biotics given to me on the second visit. Oh the drama!
Saturday 15th June:
Part 1 – In the car on the way to Yorkshire.
I’m not sure if this actually counts as public but I am including it anyway. Car knitting is also a regular thing for me, it helps to pas the time on the 1.5 hour journey to my parents.
Part 2 – On a windy riverbank towards the homestead.
After a nice afternoon spent at the local village festival (where my mum was crowned overall winner in the baking competition for about the 25th year running – go Mum!) we all trouped back home to pig out on the baked goodies. I come from a large family so it was quite a big group of us walking back along the riverbank, the wind however did make the whole knitting and walking thing a bit difficult. My yarn was surprisingly under control it was my hair constantly in my eyes that messed things up. Luckily no ripping back needed, I think it helped I was on a stocking stitch section.
Sunday 16th June:
By the brook.
The final day and I thought I’d finish off with another spot of outdoor knitting. We took the scenic route up to our allotment and I convinced my OH he wanted to push the pram so I could indulge in some knitting. I surprised myself by being able to keep pace with him and not tripping over anything in the process.
Now that the week is over I am actually quite sad, having the excuse to make the effort to knit in public was fun and I know that once normal everyday routines kick back in knitting in public will go back to being something I do every now and then when I know I have a long wait for an appointment or when I attend my local knitting group. I hope to make time for some knitting whilst walking in the future, I think it is my new favourite way to knit. I just have to win my OH round to the idea for when we go out hiking. The week also reminded me that knitting is a good way of engaging with other members of the local community. When out and about knitting in public even those who don’t knit seem to want to know what you are doing or what you are making and for those others you meet that do knit it usually establishes an instant bond over a shared passion.