Knitting in this wrong?

I am on the board at our local Horticultural Society and when I go to the meetings I take my knitting(usually just the mindless stuff).
Our president called me the other day to say that we would be having prospective new board members attending and asked me not to bring my knitting…he’s commented to me before about it and I say I can knit and listen at the same time.
I was not planning on going to this meeting but I told him if I had been I’d be bringing my knitting.Was I wrong?
I should say our meetings are very boring and we talk about the same problems all the time and knitting allows me to keep attending the meetings.

He might be thinking it’s more of a distraction to new members…Maybe he thinks people are/would be more focused on you knitting than what’s going on at the meeting. Honestly, I don’t think he’s out of line, from what you wrote…

I’ve never understood why anyone would consider knitting to be more distracting or take more attention then say…taking notes. But they wouldn’t object to that, would they?

If you go and take the knitting, sit in the back. That way you are less visible and would not attract as much attention as you would if you were sitting with people all around you.

I understand your reasons for knitting at such functions. I probably would become bored too, especially if the same stuff is rehashed at every meeting.


For people that don’t knit, your doing so would pull their attention away from the speaker. I know that if I had spent time to prepare to get up and speak to a group (no matter what the function), I would be bothered by someone doing something that pulled attention away from the business at hand and feel why did I bother to start with. Now if it were a talk about knitting are other similar crafts that would be different. Just my humble opinion though.

I don’t think you were wrong! Unless they’re paying you to sit at the meetings, I think it’s fine to knit during them. However, looking at it from a non-knitter’s point of view, they may be seeing it as rude because they don’t believe you can listen and knit at the same time.

I think that it should be fine for you to do that, if say you have a bit of anxiety when you are just listening and you are a multi-tasker. Some people just cannot sit still and listen, but need to be doing other things. because, if you are not doing something else while listening, your mind is only on not being there at that time doing that. Where as, if you have some mindless thing to do while you are listening it makes it easier to sit through boring stuff. I know someone who has this happen to them and even rolling silly puty around in their hands helps them to pay attentio,n or typing a list of to dos on their laptop while listening takes away the tension of it.

Actually, I’m thinking that perhaps asking if there’s a right or a wrong in the situation is maybe the wrong question.

I’ve found that it bothers some people if I knit when we’re talking. Other people don’t mind it at all.

Some people really don’t like hearing swear words when we talk. Other people don’t mind it at all.

Some people find it really offensive when people ask questions about their lives. Other people don’t mind it at all.

Just like I don’t use swear words when I know it will offend, and just like there are some people I don’t ask questions about their private lives because I know it will offend, I don’t knit around some people, or I knit but make it plain in as many ways I can think of that our conversation is just as important or more important.

I’ve found that with a lot of people, if I’m knitting while I talk to them, if the conversation turns to very serious matters, if I stop knitting and start making eye contact, and then when the conversation turns to less serious matters, and I start knitting again, they seem to mind the knitting less. Other people, while they don’t say anything, seem to mind the fact that I’m knitting, whether it’s distracting to them, or whether they feel I’m not paying full attention to them.

For the last two days, I’ve been trying to finish a pair of knitted mitts that are a present to be given to the recipient tonight before we leave town. My friends have been very happy to have me knitting during our farewell get togethers over coffee and scones, knowing that I was still taking full part in the conversations, and knowing why I was knitting even while I was getting ready to leave town for who knows how long. I really hope that I didn’t offend anyone by knitting during our farewell get togethers, and was doubly careful to make sure they knew that my conversations with them were more important than the knitting.

I don’t really know if any of that helps you. :slight_smile:

I’m with Craw.
I’ve also known plenty of volunteer and hobby group heads that get an inflated head and think they are the boss. I doubt if your knitting is a distraction to anyone and this guy just wants to be your boss. New people are just another excuse for him to push his weight around. I think you handled it perfectly.

You should go without your knitting, fall asleep and snore. See how he likes that.

Thank you everyone for your input
…I had never thought of it as a distraction for other members especially potential new members,nor do I want to appear rude…goodness knows we desperately need new members.
We are a small group usually around 8 people attend and we sit around a table,very informal and when I am bringing up a subject or speaking with someone I always stop knitting and make eye contact,but I do find I can pay more attention to the discussion when I knit as opposed to taking notes or doodling(as I’ve seen others do).
I’ve never had anyone else object except the as Mike says it could be a power trip for him…he is a bit bossy
I think I will ask for opinions from the other board members

I find that not all non-knitters understand WHY we knit. This could be true for this man. He probably has a certain image he wants to portray to the new members and a member knitting at a board meeting may not fit his picture. I guess I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Asking other members could prove valuable.
I would bring the knitting but if the new members seem to be focusing on your hands, then I would put it away. Otherwise…happy knitting!

I am a knitter and have also had to speak to crowds of people before. As a knitter, I would be offended just because it really is not fun to speak to a group and look out at them and have people not make eye contact. It is hard enough to have to speak in front of people, and it makes me uncomfortable when I look out and can’t read people; no eye contact, whispering to others, playing on their phone, texting. It can be very nerveracking. Plus, it might be already sending the message that you are bored. Someone who texts could make the same argument, “I can text and still listen.”

In our society, people listen with their entire body, not just their ears. As I teach my students, listening is eyes on the person speaking, facing the person speaking, and something you show the speaker physically and not just with your ears.
I just make it a rule not to knit in meetings, professional developments, or class (unless it is knitting class).

There are 2 perspectives to this. Yours and his. Yours is that you can knit and listen at the same time, not to mention, you’re not getting paid for being there, but are volunteering out of your own generosity. His-- even if he doesn’t say it-- is that you’re not making eye contact when he or others are speaking. I don’t know that I could stand to sit through those meetings without knitting. However, I also abide by the rule that when it comes to manners, the other guy always wins. If he perceives it as rude or inattentive, then by definition, it is rude or inattentive. I do also think that sitting around a table makes it more conspicuous that you are knitting and not making eye contact. Having said that, I also think it’s appropriate to say something to him about it. That the meetings are the same problems over and over again, that and that if it’s really a problem for him, then they will find themselves minus 1 board member. But that’s me.

It sounds as if the real problem is not the knitting, but the lack of leadership at the meetings. There should be an agenda listing the discussion topics. Items with no clear resolution should not be discussed indefinitely; someone should be assigned/volunteer to bring a draft resolution to the next meeting. Maybe your knitting is really a clear indication of the lack of leadership that he doesn’t want the prospective members to notice at their first meeting?

I, too, am not sure it’s a matter of right or wrong, but more a matter of consideration and appropriateness. If others are made uncomfortable by something I’m doing I generally will refrain from doing it. I consider it just common courtesy not to cause offense.

Now, there are certain limits to that–in this case, this man is in charge of a meeting and he doesn’t want his attendees to be knitting or (apparently) not paying attention. I think the person running a meeting should have a certain amount of “say so” in how the meetings run. Since knitting isn’t related to the purpose of the meeting, I would refrain. Again, it’s not necesarily wrong, but I wouldn’t do it.

Of course, if I’m on a bus or the subway or somewhere with no agenda or “authority figure” then I have no problem knitting, and if it bothered the person next to me, well, so sorry.

I only find myself knitting in public when it’s a waiting/boring time. For example, before a show, waiting for an appointment, when a class is over, that’s when I knit in public. However, when someone is talking (even, as I’ve told tons of people, when it is possible to listen while knitting (something simple/repetitive, at least)).
Knitting gives the impression that you’re not paying your whole attention to the speaker.
If the person insists on you to stop knitting, even if you’ve shown him/her that you are actually listening thouroughly to everything, then just put your needles down, for the sake of respect.

Well I must be very distracting because I take my knitting EVERYWHERE! The movies, church, doctors visits, even standing in line at stores. No one has every made a negative comment but I have had a lot of questions and interest. However I would never dream of talking in a meeting, movie etc which happens constantly in my experience!

I can understand that people are not always aware that you can LISTEN and KNIT at the same time. That’s why I don’t bring my knitting to classes, because I would probably be under fire for knitting.

And I noticed that, when you knit, and you have non-knitters around, they fall silent. Because they don’t want to distract you. Yet I always tell them, you can speak to me, I do answer, and I knit.

I don’t think you made the wrong choice. The only wrong thing is the mentality of people not understanding that you can knit and listen and speak all at the same time.