Knitting in Public

Alternate title: how I got a business card from a judo instructor who’s at least 50.

Knitting (or crocheting) in a public place where people are able to see what you doing eventually gets you comments, questions, stories, or etc.

Sometimes it’s “Nice, you’re crocheting!” and the person speaking looks at you proudly, because he or she knew what you were doing. Nevermind that you are knitting. ‘Cause then you have to smile politely and explain how you are knitting, not crocheting – or smile and nod – depending on your preference.*

Other times it’s a person who can completely appreciate the work you are doing and has some positive comment or praise for your work. Other times still you’ll have a highly amusing exchange with some random stranger who may or may not actually recognize what you are doing.

Today to get my looking-for-a-job self out of the house for a little longer I took knitting to $tarbucks. I’m working on a shawl with gorgeous hand-dyed (not by anyone I know! bought at LYS) multicolored merino yarn that I positively love. It’s soft and looks neat… and it’s to the point where someone is likely to notice and ask.

So today I got to hear a story about how an old guy beats up people for a living, but first he told me about a person he knew (maybe his son?) who decided to learn to knit by going to upstate New York and learning how to raise sheep, shear sheep, clean the wool from the sheep, spin it, dye it, AND then knit it. He said the first thing this person knit was a sweater for his mother – but he didn’t take into account the natural properties of 100% wool and so the sweater weighs like 25 pounds any time it gets wet.

Then somehow we moved on to how he beats up people for a living – meaning he teaches judo.  ((He handed me his business card.) Old guy with gray hair mind you – 50s at least?) I’m amused, and chuckling at all of this and agreeing that it is important to learn about the fibers you are knitting when you learn to knit – and that not everyone bothers to. We discussed the differences between crochet and knit too. Like my mom taught me how to crochet as a kid but my friend taught me how to knit (basics) as an adult and I find I like knitting much better than crocheting – and my mom couldn’t handle the double needles of knitting.

So, he continues his story (just while waiting for his drink) that he even has 5 police officers that he gets to beat up, including a 25 year old who was all puffed chest cause he didn’t need this training but he’s here cause “his chief said” he had to be.

Well this guy told me he only used 2 fingers to beat up the 25 year old so he wouldn’t hurt him that much – and the 25 year old (can I call him a kid?) only cried for an hour afterwards. (I think this was actually about when I got the business card.) To which I replied, then you did knock him down a peg or two, at least one peg anyways.

I could tell the guy loves his job. Loves. His. Job.

Before I left $tarbucks I had comments from one other nice lady who “had to come over and see what I was working on.” I asked her to let me finish the last few stitches on the row and held up the shawl for her to see (it’s easily 2-3 feet wide at the top at this point). She praised it – I think she really liked the yarn. I forgot to tell  her what kind of yarn though. (Sorry nice lady.) Instead I asked if she was familiar with the LYS – which she was (and get’s in trouble there) – and I happily pointed out the sale going on today/tomorrow. She said maybe she’d check out the sale since she hasn’t inventoried in awhile! (Oh dear I’m thinking, my stash isn’t that big, I don’t have to inventory it yet!)

So, in the end, knitting in public got me some laughs and nice comments from strangers — and no strange comments about how crocheting or knitting is better. Or, even better, no (sorta) snide comments about how what I’m knitting looks like a diaper. (Seriously, you are comparing something HANDMADE to a diaper?)

*By the way, one way to know the difference between crocheting and knitting? Crocheting uses 1 needle that has a hook on the end. Knitting uses 2 needles with rounded points. Both crocheting and knitting use many different sizes of needles – from wider than your thumb to so small you are afraid you’ll break the needle.

Author: Histamine Queen

Nerd, wife, knitter, writer, cat mom, and comic book reader w/masters of science in Applied Sociology.

I have histamine intolerance, lots of food allergies and sensitivities – including gluten. And I have multiple sclerosis fibromyalgia, asthma, drug allergies, and migraines. Basically, I have a collection of invisible chronic health problems. I don’t just survive these things, but sometimes I do hate them because I see doctors so often that keeping healthy and staying full time employed is currently impossible.