Lion Brand Notebook

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Crafter Stories: Crocheting at the Cafe

August 5th, 2013

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Crafter Stories: Crocheting at the Cafe | Lion Brand NotebookLast week, we brought you a few stories from our readers about their experiences knitting and crocheting in public. Today, we want to share a longer story from Jessica Leete of Orchard Park, NY.

I often spend my weekend mornings at the local Starbucks for a few hours, enjoying my specialty coffee while working on my most recent crochet project.  Although I love the coffee shop atmosphere, it can often get quite noisy as well, so I usually also bring my laptop and earbuds so I can listen to music or play a TV episode in the background to help drown out the noise.  As a result, I am often zoned into my project, completely oblivious to the sounds and activity around me.    

On a number of occasions, I have looked up from my project to find someone sheepishly standing right in front of me, who has undoubtedly been clearing their throat a few times to get my attention,  while I unaware, had been crocheting away.  

I quickly pull my earbuds out and apologize that I hadn’t heard them.  On most occasions, it is a a woman who simply wants to pass on a compliment regarding what I am ‘knitting’.  I always give a big smile and a ‘thank you’, while politely clarifying that I am actually crocheting, but reassuring them that they are quite similar and easily confused.  I love these small chances to spread a little knowledge on these two crafts and their differences.      

In one instance, I was actually addressed by two guys from the adjacent table.  The one looked at my project and said, “You are crocheting, right?”  Impressed, I replied with “yes” and a smile.  He continued that his grandmother used to crochet all the time when he was young and that he didn’t know crocheting was done any more.  

I definitely had to stifle a laugh.  I told him that crochet is still around and actually becoming quite popular recently.  I loved the opportunity to increase the awareness of my craft.    

My favorite instances though are when kids are around.  They don’t just stare, but they come right up to my chair and stand next to me watching my every yarn over and draw through.  They cannot help themselves—they are just so curious to see something they never have before.  The parents are always embarrassed and try to call the kids away, but I quickly intervene and assure them it isn’t a problem.  I happily answer any questions they have and show them step by step how I complete each stitch.    

My most kid encounter involved two young sisters, maybe 7 and 5, sitting in the big comfy chairs nearby.  I noticed them watching and sent them a quick smile.  They took this as a signal that it was OK to approach and they quickly bounded over to my table, the mom following behind to ensure they weren’t too intrusive.  At that time I was just finishing the toe section of a toe-up crocheted sock.  The older girl pointed to the project and asked if it was a mitten.  

I put the toe section over my fingers and said, “Yes, it does look like a mitten top—that is a very good guess!  This is actually the beginning of a sock, however, and would go over your toes.”  She then asked who I was making them for.  

As I glanced towards her younger sister, I said, “I am actually making this pair for my younger sister.”  

Their mom, who had been standing right behind them observing, stepped in and said, “How nice!  See it is important to make things to share with your sister.”  The older girl put her arm around her sister and gave her a quick hug.      

An opportunity to teach how your craft can be used to spread a little love?  Best part of all!

Do you have a story you want to share about crocheting or knitting in public? Share it with us in the comments and you could be featured on our blog!

  • Sockmouth

    You may have just motivated me to take a small knitting project with me the next time I go to the coffee shop. Not sure how my husband will react but he’ll get over it!

  • Queue Q

    I always give a big smile and a ‘thank you’, while politely clarifying that I am actually crocheting

    YES. This.

  • Mary Kathryn Vaughn

    I feel you with the people calling my crochet knitting! My favorite crochet in public story is….Last year I was a rehearsal mom for my son’s elementary school musical, 4 days a week for a few months for 1-4 hours I sat in the auditorium while they sang their cute little hearts out! It was my job to SHHH them and help some of the remember their cues! after the first week I started bring my crochet to work on during some of the down time. I finish many wips, mainly blankets and scarves which intrigued other parents. However when I brought some AMI with me I had a huge crowd.. over 10 boys at once asking if I was really sewing halo ( a popular video game character) and WOW is that the super star from Mario? I loved showing then what I was doing and explaining to them how I had to use math to make shapes ( a good reason to pay attention to your teachers) . Even having them quietly help me while they had down time with the math.. If I have to add 4 stitches evenly and I have 8 stitches now.. How often do I add stitches? I love how when presented in the right way this art form can transend, age, gender, background anything.

  • Tonda Stewart

    I tried with my childrens beckoning (I have 3 living + 1 adopted son)each asked in turn to learn to knit then crochet it only stuck with my youngest daughter who is now 24 married and in love with knitting blankets (not if you paid me double their worth)all of them have driven my nuts with crochet garland or I want to be making what you are making long before they are ready…my youngest never finishes a project BUT he does keep trying I think hand arts are dying out because no one wants to be the one to pass it off to the next generation, they figure someone else will do it. I wish my grandmothers were both around to see me designing hats and sweaters…You never know when teaching someone a craft will save their life quite literally either from suicide or so that they are able to sell what they make to survive……… a smile never hurts in any situation and don’t forget to donate things to your church, a homeless shelter, nursing homes or homes for unwed mothers it goes a long way in letting them know that someone cared………….

  • Judy

    When I started volunteering last year at an assisted living facility, the activities director said she wanted to start a knitting group. I shared with her that I loved to crochet and had knitted in the past. She was excited and grateful that I would be able to help her start this group. Another expert knitter moved into the facility and helped tremendously. With all of us working together, we have a group that meets at least once a week to share the time together while working on our projects. Our last group project was making scarves and hats for children in Russia. One of the ladies asked us to make them for a mission trip that her church was participating in. The small group of ladies made over 50 items. Now, we are starting to work on hats for chemo patients in our area. Having a specific project helps keep the group interested. We have also had friends who are not residents at the facility join our group.
    This has been a wonderful experience for all of us. We have all made new friends while keeping the ladies active.

  • Carla Rae Andrusiak

    Between the bus and train it takes me an hour to get to work so I always have a small project like a scarf/mittens/hat in my work bag. I get smiles from the older ladies and inquizative looks from others. It helps me to pass the time.