Knitting in public

I'm a copy editor and page designer for a daily newspaper. On the days I work nights (yeah, I'm aware that sounds odd), I bring my knitting bag to work with me so I can knit on my lunch and then again after deadline, when I'm waiting for the presses to start. The other day, I was alone in the lunch room, trying to remember how many stitches I'd just purled, when one of the press guys came in to use the vending machines.

"Hey," he said, "you knitting?"

"Yeah ..." I said.

"My son does that," he said, and gave a little chuckle. "He's just like you -- always working on something. He loves to knit."

At that, he wiped his ink-stained hands on his coveralls and grabbed his can of soda from the machine, then gave me one of those knowing little smiles and headed back over to the press building. I've seen him around the building a few times since then, and he's always got a smile for me. Makes me feel kind of warm inside, like he's a part of the brotherhood by extension. Call him an ersatz father-in-law, if you will.

In any event, anyone else have a knitting at work story to share?


I don't usually have enough free time at work to make knitting there worthwhile.  On the few occasions that I have knitted in my office, I've ended up having to close the door in order to get anything done.  Everyone who sees me wants to come in and ask "how long," "how did you learn," "what are you making," "what else do you do," "can you repair my favorite sweater," etc.  While I appreciate their interest, it makes it difficult to keep track of what I'm doing.

Kerry's picture

Nice story. You may be interested to see the photos of World Knit in Public day of the group I knit with. We normally meet in a cafe, but for this occasion we chose cafe at the Sydney Opera House

VillageKnittiot's picture

Time? I have tons of time! You'd think I'd have more finished projects!  I travel approx. 95% of the year.  I spend countless hours in airports and on flights.  It's a bit amusing to me to see the looks I get from fellow travelers as well as flight attendants, (especially when they see me with naked needles at the beginning of the flight and a scarf at the end of it).  Although a little 2 hr flight isn't really worth me hauling out my sticks and balls, I do a lot of knitting on trans-atlantic and pan-pacific flights.  It is amazing how much knitting you can get done between LAX and Hong Kong.  To all you public or 'out' knitters.. keep on keepin' on, maybe you'll see me at an airport in your city (or country).  Come up and say hello.

RainCityRick's picture

So, that brings up another good point/question.  Oh World Traveller - given the current state of security at airports, do you have any suggestions for safely boarding a plane without getting your knitting gear (and 3/4 of a unfinished clog) confiscated?

Partner and I are heading to Palm Springs in 2 weeks and I'd love to bring some stuff to work on on the plane.  (not planning on doing a lot of knitting while in PS - too hot to work with wool, too much to drink, etc.)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


technocowboy's picture

The best suggestion is to read the TSA website, and specifically the page on knitting and crocheting items.  Knitting stuff, aside from scissors, is able to be in in your carry-on AND checked luggage.  There is no problem AT ALL with bringing your knitting on a plane.  To be on the safe side, if you're going to take it in your carry-on stuff, make sure you've got something ON the needles (i.e., start a swatch if you haven't started the project).

I work in a deli, so I can't knit on the job, but I did wear my handknit socks yesterday (makes 10 hours on my feet SO much nicer), and got nothing but excellent compliments from co-workers and customers. For the record, my socks were lime green and speckled, and apparently, the deli counters afford an excellent view of one's ankles.



timgets2's picture

knitting in public is the best thing ever. i love knitting in public and i love when people ask me about it. new knitters are great! or when people stare at me in really odd places. it makes me laugh and knit faster:) so here at work sometimes i find a minute to stop and knit a row here and there. my mother works with me here in accounting, my boss, and she doesn't really mind me knitting:) mostly i cant wait to finish punching numbers so i can get those needles in my hands!!!

technocowboy's picture

I don't knit at work, even on my lunch break, but sometimes I get a wild hair and I knit on BART to and from work.  It's a solid 30 minutes each way and that's time for anywhere from 3 to 6 rows, depending on what I'm working on.  I love the looks I get on a crowded train. 

One day, while I was knitting on the way home, this woman who was probably 5 years older than me sits down in the seat across from me, looks at me, breaks into this HUGE smile and pulls her knitting out.  We chatted about projects, yarn, and patterns for about 20 minutes until she got off the train.  Everyone around us was dead silent listening to the conversation.  It was awesome.  One guy said, 'I didn't realize that it was such a complicated thing.'  Hee. 

JPaul's picture

I love knitting on the bus and the BART train (Bay Area Rapid Transit for those who were wondering).  I nearly always have a sock in my backpack to pull out.  It's small enough that I can see I'm making progress in short spans of knitting time, I can stuff it quickly in my bag or pocket when I realize I'm about to miss a stop and pull it back out to knit standing on the platform waiting for the next train or bus.

I don't knit on the job, but I do knit during my breaks and over my lunch hour.  Sometimes I hang out in the front lobby and chat while knitting or hide in a cubicle in the back if I want some solitude.  I don't think I'm one of those people who would concentrate better at meetings with my knitting.  I think I'd be completely focused on knitting and would totally miss the meeting, so I save it for breaks.

Most of my time is spent working with other people in one-on-ones or committee meetings - I really wish I could knit during meetings but I have been in a few situations where people brought knitting or crochet projects to work and it always seemed to me as if people were sending the subtle message that the other group members were too boring to hold their attention. So I just sublimate by  planning out new projects in my head :) 

My partner takes Amtrak to work everyday and he often knits on the train - he says he gets a lot of looks and some giggles - when people see a 6'2" guy knitting in public I guess it just makes them smile.

Bill's picture

I knit backstage at the opera house... people are very accepting of a man knitting... and I even have light up needles for when its dark... the stage hands freak out at that~ LOL Bill

Warren's picture

Since I'm the owner and sole "employee", it's pretty easy for me to knit at work, but I usually need to be doing other things if I'm not working on a therapeutic massage client.  But, a few weeks ago, I knit in public for the first time at a coffee shop.  A friend and I often meet there on Friday mornings, but just as often one or the other of us don't make it.  So, I took the plunge and brought my sock I was working on in case he wasn't there.  After being nervous at first, I realized no one was paying attention at all.  Then, this one lady came up and said it was awesome and told me about a knitting group that I could join!  It was a great experience!

charmingbilly's picture

i knit at work during incubation/soaks or while waiting on a reaction to reach saturation/endpoint.  no one's expressed any negative sentiments but it was pointed out to me by a co-worker that no one's going to walk up on a 6'2" 230 lb. mean man with 15" metal needles in his hand to start somethin' ;)  mostly i get pestered for scarves and hats.  i'm not good enough to be a good conversationalist while knitting....i have to stop to speak.  but i can listen fairly well and have knitted in church and everyone understands it helps since i'm kind of highstrung and jittery.

I don't often post here, though I check in several times a week to get my "fix" of exposure to my fellow knitters.  Thanks to everyone for sharing.  That said, I didn't know there were so many knit-dudes in the Bay Area... There is one fellow that knits on the bus in the mornings, but as of yet, I've not had the nerve to approach him.  He's been working on what appears to be an afghan in moss or seed stitch.  Anyhow... maybe someday.  As for knitting publicly, I do most frequently.  It's the best way to account for all those hours I spend waiting for the Metro/MUNI.  Everytime I put on a pair of my handmade socks, I'm thankful Muni is so unreliable.  I've had a couple of people make encouraging remarks - one woman raced passed me, then doubled back just to say, "That's beautiful - a man knitting."  Then she smiled this HUGE smile and took off up the street.  Another young lady stopped and chatted with me at length about her mother who knits and showed me her favorite scarf.  Kntting makes perfect strangers want to share.  I like that.  Otherwise, a guy standing on a corner knitting a sock is far from the strangest thing one sees here in SF.  The guy knitting the sock - that's normal.  The guy with the 6-foot latex dinosaur tail attached to the seat of his pants - that's not so normal.  Or is it?

grandcarriage's picture

I used to knit on the bus all the time when I lived in Minneapolis:  If I got grief (rarely)I'd just adopt a faux Nordski accent and say, "Een de awld cuntry, awl de men do da knit, ya hey yubetcha."  One time this very scary woman came up and almost shouted on the bus..."I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE DOING THAT!"  "Yes," I quietly replied, "Double seed stitch."   Cheers....BBB-K  (big burly Bob-knitter)

MMario's picture

Most of my knitting this week can't count as "knitting in public" but I did knit in NY, PA, OH, KY, TN, and MS as we drove through them. Managed to knit most of a ball and a half of douceur et soie on the way to MS - finishing my unvention shawl with an edging of oak leaf lace in time for my niece's rehearsal dinner.

(barely! I was wrapping it as we got into the car!)

I did knit on it some at the poolside at the hotel where we were staying and in the lobby - Cast on Friday night in the hotel lobby for a circular shawl and have it about 1/4 done - it's up to just about half the diameter I want - but you know how those later rows grow and grow....

MMario - I don't live in the 21st Century - but I play a character who does.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation