Lion Brand Notebook

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Crafter Stories: Knitting and Crocheting in Public

July 29th, 2013

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Crafter Stories: Knitting and Crocheting in Public | Lion Brand Notebook

A little while ago, we asked you—our blog readers—to share your stories with us about knitting/crocheting in public. From making new friends to delighting strangers, you shared your experiences.

Here are just a few of the submissions we received:

I knit on the “L” in Chicago pretty regularly and it’s not unusual to get a comment or question from a stranger. But one time in particular I really broke the ice when my ball of yarn fell out of my bag and rolled all the way down to the other end of the car. Everyone burst into laughter because it was so unexpected and from then on the whole mood of the car changed. Everyone was talking to me, and to each other, and there were a lot more smiles the rest of the way home.
- Christine Renee, Chicago, IL

A few years ago my husband and I were on a plane coming back from England. I pulled out my knitting which was pink sock for my daughter. I had bought the special soft sock yarn from  Scotland via eBay. The flight attendant came by, looked down and said,”Oh, can I pet your yarn? It’s so soft and beautiful!”

“Of course,” I said. After everyone was settled for the flight,she came back to my seat and invited me to the galley to see what she was knitting. She was needing two socks at a time on two circular needles and wanted to show me the technique. We had a wonderful time talking about yarns and knitting for our loved ones.  Then she served me delicious tea and cookies. It made the long flight memorable to me.
- Vikki Day, Highmore, SD

I had an auto accident and was only slightly hurt when I took myself to the doctor.  I was knitting a complicated Fair Isle pattern  sweater in the waiting room when the nurse looked at my work and asked me, “Were you crazy before you hit your head?”
- Eloise Joppa, Brush, CO

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, and you could be included in our next round-up!

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  • Mandy

    I am 28 years old, but have been crocheting since I was about 10 or so. I get numerous comments when I pull out my crocheting, normally based on my age. There was one time when I was waiting for my mother on a family vacation in Cape Cod when I was in college. I had pulled out my crocheting, which was a a cable crochet afghan for a friends wedding that you did in strips and an older lady was just so happy that someone who was my age was crocheting and keeping up with that tradition.

  • Ruthie

    I also knit every chance I can get and I always bring my knitting along when I know I’m going to be in an uncomfortable situation. When my step-son was being deployed to Iraq for the second time I knew it would be difficult. But to make things more challenging, we needed to attend the deployment ceremony along with my husband’s ex-wife and her entire family. She is a very difficult person to be around and she really dislikes me. So I found a place to sit out of the way and worked on my knitting during the entire ceremony. When everything was over a young man came up to me and asked if I’d been to a lot of these ceremonies – I wondered why he would think that. He said I sat there listening and watching and knitting the entire time – it appeared I had done this many times before. Turned out he was with the local paper and interviewed me. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was knitting to keep myself out of trouble!

  • hc1951

    When my 24-year-old son died 3 years ago all I could do was knit for months. It saved my soul :-)

    • nancie

      When my 33 yr old daughter died in a car wreck, knitting and crocheting was all I could do for several years. That was the one thing we didn’t do together, so I could do that. I couldn’t look at cooking magazines for a long time.

      • demelzabunnyd

        I’m so sorry for you both, but I’m glad you had and have something to help you through a difficult time. I love to knit and crochet, but I’m often sad that I will never be able to teach my daughter how to do it, because she is developmentally delayed, basically what used to be referred to as “retarded.” But I do love knitting and crocheting, and it helps me, too.

  • Ana

    Hi. Enjoyed this post. I’m curious about the insert pic. What is that neat-looking yarn? and the chevron pattern? Like!

  • JBDestiny

    A few years ago, I was taking the Metro-North train home and crocheting something (I don’t remember what), when the conductor stopped by me and said “I wear a medium, thanks!” I chuckled the whole way home.

  • Janet Chutro

    I knit just about every day on the Chicago area Metra train. A couple of years ago I boggled my knitting bag on the train, and of course, tipped it upside down. Five waiting-to-be-used DPNs went rolling everywhere. Three young men were doing contortions to collect them from under the seats. For a few minutes I definitely was the live entertainment on that car!

  • Mary C

    Once, while riding the New York city subway commuting from work, I was crocheting a top that had a few parts to it. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on around me since I was getting off at the last stop, but I finished the front of the top and then looked in my bag and realized that I had nothing to cut the thread with. I tried just pulling on it hard and it didn’t break and then all of a sudden I had one fellow pulling out his keys and trying to cut it with the sawing motion of a key and a woman was digging through her bag looking for something else to cut with and then someone else finally took out a lighter and burned my thread apart and they all smiled and clapped for him as I thanked him. I was slightly embarrassed because I had no idea that so many people were watching what I was doing enough to notice my “plight”.

    • Susie M

      I recently learned a tip from a teenager – keep a nail clipper on your key ring, or attached to your yarn bag, then you can always ‘clip’ your yarn. It’s so easy, yet I’m 50, and have been knitting, sewing and crocheting since I was about 6 or 7, and never thought of it. I think it’s much safer than scissors for young crafters.

      • lk

        I’ve also heard that the cutting device on dental floss will work and it won’t upset security if you are flying!

  • swampyshores

    My stepson was just beginning to notice girls, but not old enough for them to notice him, when we took a flight to Kansas one summer. He had been watching me do a project with French knots and (out of boredom) asked to try. He wasn’t more than 10 minutes into the project when stewardesses began to stop and visit with him. He had a steady stream of beautiful young women begin conversations both in the air and on the ground for the whole rest of the trip. He confided that, “Never again” would he go on a trip without some type of needlework!

  • Ellen

    Once I was knitting on the Long Island Rail Road when the conductor took my ticket without saying much. He came back a little while later, however, during a long stretch between stations. This burly guy wanted to show me his crocheting! I kept a straight face and admired his work, which was the kind of lacy doily that used to go on furniture. He must have learned this art at his grandmother’s knee.

  • Hazel in NY

    I almost always crocheted when commuting to work on the Long Island Railroad. One day, the man sitting next to me said, “Wow, I haven’t seen anyone knitting in years!”. I replied, “You still haven’t-I’m crocheting.

    • Sue B. Helm

      I too am a crocheter and had a similar experience. I was on a tour of a new hospital in our area. I had pulled out my crochet and was working on it as we walked from area to area. Finally the leader of the tour said, “I’ve never seen anyone walk and knit at the same time!” Wish I had been as quick thinking as you. Your reply would have been perfect.

    • demelzabunny

      Oh, yeah, that makes me so nuts, that people don’t know the difference. It esp. bothers me when I see a garment in a catalog identified as crochet because it’s lacy, but upon closer investigation, it is often knitted.

  • Ginger

    I often crochet in public, in spots anywhere from the doctor’s office to meetings, to gun shows ;) A couple of times at meetings the chair of a committee has declared a halt until I stop my handwork. When I repeat back every thing that has happened, the comments stop. Gotta love it!

    • Pat

      I also do it in meetings–it helps me listen better and it is easy to stop and take notes if I need to. I will often go to a speaker before s/he starts and explain it to them. That way they do think I am rude. Of course I am usually doing something simple that does not require constant referral to a pattern.

  • Dey

    I just turned 30 back in April and have been crocheting since I was nine. One morning, on the bus to work (I live in Chicago), I decided to work on a lacy top that I’ve been working on for weeks. Then after the next stop, a nice lady sat next to me (I’m guessing she was in her 60’s) and she was looking at what I was working on. She was very intrigued at the lace pattern that I was working on (I went ahead and let her examine my project closely). She also mentioned that she crochets herself and commented me for taking on the craft. Then, she got off only three stops after. It actually felt pretty nice to be complemented while working on a project, especially a from a seasoned crocheter.

  • Brenda

    I ALWAYS have my crocheting at hand—–whether waiting for an appt., riding in a vehicle, or just sitting and visiting with friends………. Especially in this age with everyone being glued to their “devices”!!! I live in a tourist destination, and people are often mesmerized, watching my hands producing something I can actually USE, rather than tapping on a keypad. I try and be an “alternative example” to teenagers by sitting and working up a trendy wrap, scarf or hat!!!

    There’s more to life than a device!!!

    • Brenda

      I forgot to add how many really nice people I’ve met (of all ages) using my work as a conversation starter!!! It’s a great ice-breaker!

    • demelzabunny

      Good for you! Keep up the good work.

  • Karen Myers

    Many thanks to my late mother-in-law, I crochet and knit both and have for 40+ years. I’ve had R.A. for 32 of those years and find working with my hands help with the pain in hands as well as shoulders. I’ve always said it keeps me out of the bars. No longer——My daughter owns a wine bar and I’ve been known to pick up whatever I’m working on while waiting on her. Oh and having a glass of wine myself. Such a life.

    • linda

      thanks for sharing…i too have ra and knitting, quilting and crocheting keep my hands moving…i’m not a smooth as I used to be but they still work…a blessing.

  • Amy Jo Turney

    I have quit my knitting and crocheting… It seems every time I really got into a project I would spend a lot of time on it. That made my family get upset with me and complain about it. I guess they thought I wasn’t paying attention but I was. I even did it plenty of times in public or on a car ride and my family thought I was being rude. Now I spend all my time on the computer and no one says anything. I learned to both knit and crochet when I was 33 while recovering from a bad car wreck. Maybe now that I am divorced and live alone I will be interested in starting up again. At least I will have something to show for all the time I am spending doing it.

    • Carol

      Don’t quit knitting and crocheting! It is an expression of YOU, your Soul, dont’t let ANYONE take that away!

      • Amy Jo Turney

        Thank you for your support Carol! The good news is that I have all my hooks and needles. The bad news is my ex husband is holding all my stuff hostage and that includes all my yarn and even my sewing machine! More good news: I get to start all over and buy more yarn! More not so good news: I work m-f and next saturday nursing school starts back up. I may take some small dishcloth type projects with me to do in between if I ever have time. If I have it with me I am more likely to do it. Also, I never sold a single thing I made. I kept a dishcloth or two but everything else was gifts! I like making baby stuff because it is faster to complete a project. BUT I KNITTED a wrap sweater and hat and booties for my grandson and my daughter did not even put it on him. I had to sic her husband on her to put it on him (at 5 months) just to take a picture of him wearing it so all my many hours of work wouldn’t be in vain. Maybe I will start making wheelchair lap blankets for old people. THEY appreciate items that are made of yarn!

    • demelzabunny

      Wow, what a selfish bunch your family sound! It’s a good thing you are now your own person and can knit and crochet to your heart’s content. If your family REALLY cared about you, they’d be happy to see you doing a hobby that makes you happy.

      • Amy Jo Turney

        I know right? You’d think someone recovering from serious injuries who is struggling with depression and found some enjoyment would be a good thing! Yes I have a selfish family. I think they thought of me as lazy or just not paying attention to them. But the only thing I ever crafted for myself was dishcloths. Everything else was a gift for somebody.

        • Ledy

          Amy, your words saddened me. Please come back and enjoy making ‘stuff’. My husband asked me why I don’t sell my items, instead preferring to give them away or give them to a charity to sell. My reply is that the enjoyment I receive in plotting, planning, designing and making is sufficient for me. Please, families can be very trying but the benefits you received and will receive from crafting are wonderful. If I was closer I would give you a hug and hand you some yarn.

  • kayla

    i am 15 years old i have been knitting for a year i taught myself i sorta became addicted and i knit in public with friends even my friends dont seem to like me doing so one friend she did knit but she stopped her words were its not cool it is boring not fun i get called old lady and all that but for some reson i still knit i knit gifts only for the friends who i know will wear them with pride or my famely otherwise i dont bother with the other people :) as a kid knitting cheers me up when im sad or haveing a bad day im proud to be a knitter .

  • Shrubpig23

    I alway have a crocket project going. I take a scarf to work on to all the USU Women’s Basketball game. I’m known as the woman who knits. haha. One time the ref walked by and thanked me for making him a scarf. My mother will have me clean out the finished scarfs to give to the cute girls who do her hair and nails every Saturday. My 30 year old daughter has now learned to knit and crochet, So we can set for hours talking and working. Such a better use of time. I have been using the knook needle and kniting some scarfs. That is fun. Right now I’m making little covers for my daughters pet 3 toed desert tortise. I love to just make something up and have it turn out. Just rests my soul.

  • Ellen

    I keep a project bag with several colors of cotton yarn for making washcloths/dishcloths as my grab-and-go for trips out of the house (when I’m not driving!). Every few rows counts! A washcloth is a great out-of-the-house project because it is small and doesn’t require thinking or consulting a pattern. My goal in 2013 is to make 50 washcloths for Operation Christmas Child, and even with gifting my Bible Study women with washcloths back in May, I think I have at least 40 right now! This is of course in addition to my regular evening crocheting, which is usually baby blankets or scarves to give as gifts or to charities. In January my sister (who knits) gifted me with some gorgeous Lion Brand yarn from New York City, on the condition that I use it to make something for myself!! (I did–a cowl and then a scarf!)

  • Judy

    I live about 3 hours from my hometown where my mother was in a nursing home. When I was home, I was at the nursing home most of the day. Crocheting helped the time pass. I crocheted several lap blankets for her during that time.
    Bon-Bon yarn came out shortly before I went to a conference several years ago and the Lions yarn newsletter had instructions for crochet scrunchies. I found them a great project for such a trip because I only took the base scrunchies and 1 or 2 skeins of Bon-Bon to the general meetings where I would average 2-3 scrunchies per session. They didn’t take up as much room as a larger project would have and made wonderful cushioning for the boxes I FedExed back home of houndouts and other materials I picked up. Now I keep a bag with stuff for scrunchies in my car so I have a project for any meetings I go to if I don’t have another carriable project with me. I teach travel skills at my state’s school for the blind and have been making some in school colors for our cheerleaders. Last Christmas I made a bunch in the 2 rival universities from my home state colors as well as making chocolate candy. I put them at the nurses’ station at my mother’s nursing home for staff. The scrunchies disappeared before the candy!!!

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