What has been your experience when knitting in public?

I was just reading about Olha’s incident while knitting in public (What’cha Knittin’ thread), and it got me wondering what other knitters have experienced.

So what comments have you encountered while knitting in public? Have they been mostly positive? Negative? Neutral?

I’d love to hear about some of them!

From the general public, the reaction has pretty much been neutral. But the reaction from my doctors has pretty much been surprise, and I like it that way!

I knit at work a lot. Everyone is nice about it. They usually ask, “What are you making this time?” or “Did you finish [insert project]?” Sometimes I get annoyed if the same person asks me the same question several days in a row, but I can usually avoid that by knitting at my desk instead of in the breakroom.

Neutral and surprised are good! But why are they so surprised?

Glad to hear most of your encounters are positive. That’s encouraging. Yeah, I can see how someone asking you every day about a project would be annoying. Of course, they may just want to see your progress, but there’s no need for them to get daily updates!!

Thanks for sharing.

I sort of hijacked Artlady’s thread with my story but in short it was someone I know who said she coudn’t knit because it was ‘doing nothing’. Mostly my reaction was disbelief… because, really, you probably shoudn’t say it to people who have less productive hobbies or even just sit on the couch. Maybe they are coming up with a new groundbreaking idea or praying for world’s peace?

Anyway, recently I knit a lot in public cause I have tiny ‘on the go’ projects and keep the yarn in my pocket. I use dpns for those so some people stare. Mostly they don’t even comment… maybe because it’s hard to make eye contact or something. And usually I am surrounded by parents who are busy whatching their kids or playing with their phones while waiting. If someone asks if it’s hard, I show a few stitches slowly but that’s about it.

I probably use knitting in public not only to fill the time but also as a bate for other knitters since I have no knitting friends… It hasn’t worked yet but maybe if I sit outside in a high traffic area and smile to everyone, it will :slight_smile:

Oh, I don’t think you hijacked ArtLady’s thread. It appears to be somewhat on topic even now (at least it’s still discussing scrubbies), but you did get me to thinking about this and wondering! Always a good thing!

I hadn’t thought about using public knitting as a lure (I’m a fisherwoman, so I should have)! It’s a great idea–especially after my attempt to find fellow knitters at a craft competition didn’t pan out (of course, if I had spent more than 15 minutes there, it might have helped . . . .).

Anywhoo . . . maybe people will do more than just ask you questions and stare. Maybe they’ll want to learn to knit!

I never leave the house without some sort of project if I don’t already have one in my car. I find most people pretend they don’t even notice what I’m doing. The only direct comments I’ve ever gotten were from crochet-ers telling me how they wish they could knit. Which is funny because most knitters I know also crochet.

My worst experience happened when I forgot to lock my car when I was running errands. Someone stole my favorite knitting bag (had a picture of yarn balls on it and said “ball sack” on the side) and the project within. :waah: Dunno why anyone would want to steal an unfinished knitting project

Yeah, I have noticed that people pretend you’re not there when you’re knitting. They also kinda give you these sideways “what-the-heck-are-you-doing” looks, too! Like it’s impolite to be curious or something. Very funny!

So sorry to hear about your stolen knitting! That’s a bummer. Maybe the thief will finish your project and return it to you! Okay, maybe not!

It’s kinda like taking a book on an airplane with you so your seatmate will be less likely to strike up a conversation when you aren’t in the mood. When your eyes & attention are on something (book, knitting, crochet, iPod, …) people just generally believe it is polite not to interfere and distract your attention.

However, I guess there are always exceptions to the rule I guess. Last fall while knitting a hat on an airplane, the 70ish guy in the seat next to me started talking to me within minutes of the yarn coming out after take off about the hat, the pattern, how long I have been knitting, what was I knitting next, how long would it take to finish the hat, etc. and then this conversation attracted the flight attendant who joined in and talked about her craft hobbies.

At the time I guessed he might have been less likely to comment on the hat if it had not contained the logo of a university during football season (and we did talk about recent and upcoming games and previous seasons/players/coaches while I was knitting too), but perhaps that was just unjustified stereotyping on my part to think that a white haired male would be more likely to start a conversation to talk about football than knitting.

My experiences have always been positive. People tend to glance and either ignore me or smile. Some ask what I’m making. Granted I generally only knit in the yarn shop, but the few times it’s been out like at Starbucks or on a plane and it’s been fine.

HA, I’m using that strategy as well! No luck yet. I know there is a knitting group that meets a few miles from me (thanks Ravelry!) but I’m nervous about just walking in to an established group of people and being all, “Hey, strangers! Accept me!” Also, I think they are older ladies, which is fine because I’m an old soul, but I would also like to have friends closer to my age to relate to.

I really do need knitting friends though. When I say, “I don’t have the correct needle for this project, I need to go to the yarn store” I want someone that will say, “Oooh! Let’s go now!” instead of the “You do NOT need to go to the Yarn Store” that I get from my friends and family now. I can USUALLY convince the Boyfriend to take me if I go in with a purpose and it is a quick trip. But sometimes I just want to stand there for 25 minutes touching things!

Recently I played “carpool dummy” and went to Seattle with my DD for a dr.'s appt. With a passenger she can use the HOV lane and actually get there on time. I took knitting with me, knitted in the car and was surprised I could do it, I can’t read and crocheting has never worked well when I’m riding. Anyhow I digress. I took the knitting into the waiting room and was working on 2 @ a time leg warmers for my GD. Another mother-daughter duo was there and they were interested in what I was doing, amazed I could do 2 on the same needles as I was, asked a few questions, told me my work was beautiful. They were both crocheters. That’s my only real in-public knitting experience. I take knitting with me just about anywhere I go anymore. I’m sure there will be more times I knit in public. If I ride a bus I will definitely take knitting, those needles can look like “maybe I don’t want to bother [I]her[/I]!”

I can only share my experince with knitting groups and based on it, I would encourage you to try. There are some that are basically social groups of people who chat in a coffee shop while knitting. If you are not clicking with them, yeah, it is somewhat awkward cause they share their stories and lives… So I would recommend more structured groups that are actually about knitting. Then it really doesn’t matter how old you are. You basically only connect over your knitting stuff and the differences don’t really matter. The basis for acceptance is needles and yarn :slight_smile:

I like to KIP in places where I have to wait - dentist or doctor’s offices, and airports. When people comment, I’ve most often heard:

[li]I could never knit, I don’t have the patience.
[/li][li]Will you make me one too? I’ll pay you for it!
[/li][li]Do they really allow you to bring needles on the plane?

I think the patience one is the funniest. I am about the most impatient person there is. Knitting while I’m “trapped” waiting for something is the only way I keep calm!

Ohhh I LOVE my knitting group! It’s at my LYS and they are the nicest bunch of people! I always go on Friday and often on Tuesday to knit with the spinners. :wink:

My experience has been overall positive, but I’m terrible at remembering negative events. :blush:

I knit because I can’t stand to just do nothing and knitting is sociable and multi-tasking-friendly. When I’m by myself and I notice someone watching me, I’ll start talking to them about something random (not about my knitting – it’s usually about the weather).

I figure if they are so bored that they are watching me knit :knitting: then they are probably willing to chat with me too. (That assumption hasn’t failed me yet! :teehee:) If nothing else, it puts me on friendly terms with the people around me, even if we end up not talking about much after all.

They’re surprised because I have no fine motor control in the fingers of my right hand after a stroke. It works pretty much like a prosthesis, open/close. I knit English, and throw with the yarn threaded through my right fist for tension. Compared to you guys, I knit slower than old people walk, about half as fast on a good day. :stuck_out_tongue:

Doctors tend to forget that limitations are just that, limitations. They’re not necessarily impossibilities. They’re simply an opportunity to live the motto of improvise, adapt, overcome. I really missed crocheting, and while I can no longer crochet anything more substantial than an edging on existing fabric, I CAN knit. Stubborn is as stubborn does. Guess what my middle name is?? :teehee:

I’ve never been lucky enough to run across someone else knitting in public.

Is there an etiquette for that, and what do you do in that instance?

Charlotte, I had no idea. You amaze me. You are an even greater inspiration to me than you already were. Keep showing them just how stubborn you are!