Monday, March 31, 2014

What Are You DOING?
(also known as knitting in public)

"What are you doing/making/knitting/crocheting?"

I knit in public regularly, and if your experiences are anything like mine, you are asked some version of this question 9 out of ten times when you're out knitting. Why are people so fascinated  by us? 
(Button designed by Tara Suprenant,
and available on Cafe Press)
You could just flash this button (kidding, I know you'd never say that to a stranger who was bugging you while you're working on that lovely charted lace pattern......) Hilarious, but I do try to not be rude when promoting our craft. 

My age still seems to surprise people. Evidently since I am not a grandmother, it's weird that I knit. Yep, that stereotype still exists. It's getting better, but it's still there. My favorite is when teenage girls ask me what I'm doing. (Yes! Future victims knitters!) I can usually get them to agree that knitting is cool, especially when I show them the cowl/fingerless mitts/other trendy project I'm working on.

"Ă–ren Bayan" (Knitting Woman),
an old thread brand in Turkey.
(original logo)
But...where to knit?

My knitting in public place of choice is usually Starbucks. Mostly because:
(1) I'm a coffee addict,
(2) I have a gold card - yay for free stuff! and
(3) people hang out in Starbucks all bloody day and nobody thinks that's weird.

Local coffee shops are also great (support local when you can!) A member of the weekly group I started (that meets at, ahem, a Starbucks) is also in another group that meets at one of the trendy east-side Milwaukee locations of Colectivo, a local coffee roasting company (you might have heard of them, they were known formerly as Alterra). A few of my knitting group decided to check it out the other day, and this place is amazing. I'm looking forward to knitting there more often, especially as the weather starts to get nicer - they have a lovely patio.

My knitting in public projects tend to be simple things like socks, scarves, fingerless mitts - something I don't have to think about very much. Some of my friends are braver than I, tackling shawls, blankets, and some of them even spin! So, my lovely readers, where do you like to knit in public? What are your favorite knitting-in-public projects? Have any fun stories to share? I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments, and look for a future blog sharing the best ones!


  1. I get that question all the time! Or just the odd look from strangers, because apparently it is weird for someone under 30 to actually knit… People at my campus are slowly getting used to seeing me and my friends knitting when waiting for classes to begin. It is when I am knitting in the train that I get most of the comments and looks. I travel with train a lot and then it is always nice to have a couple of hours or five to just sit there and knit. Once, we almost had most of the people in the train knitting and chatting together. I took my knitting gear out of my bag and suddenly a woman a few rows in front of me almost yells “I knit too!”, swinging her knitting gear so I could see it. After that, others followed her example :) Once I also got chocolate from an old woman, because she was happy to see young people knit. She asked who forced me to do it and when I said I did it for fun, she gave me the chocolate :)

    1. Why is it that people still think knitting is just for grannies? LOL

      I love your story about knitting on the train - isn't it fun when you randomly find people who share your passions? Thanks for sharing!

  2. I knit mostly on the bus when going to class. People stare a bit :) Should try at Starbucks one day!
    I learned to knit this year, and I think it has been one of the best discoveries of my life :)

    1. I've had my share of funny looks too - you know they're dying to ask you but for whatever reason they don't!

      I can honestly say that knitting has changed my life. I have met so many wonderful people (both in real life and virtually) that have inspired me. Thanks for your comment! :)

  3. I would also like to start knitting (my goal is to make my own 4th Doctor's scarf) but I don't know how to begin... I am also curious how would my friends and family react when they find out I knit :D (I'm 21 year old boy so I expect many comments questioning my sexuality :D )

    1. How to start knitting - just jump in and do it! Get yourself a pair of needles and some yarn (your local craft store has a huge selection) and get started. Many people start with something easy (like a scarf) but whatever you want to do is just fine. Ravelry ( is a great - and free - resource for patterns, and there are some great people groups on there, always happy to help. Think social network for yarn people. ;)

      As to how your friends and family react, you might be surprised. Lots of men knit (I've met some!), and if anyone does give you a hard time, tell them that Ryan Gosling knits. (it's true, Google it! lol) But if you want to, go for it. And come back and let me know how you're doing!

  4. I needlepoint at all my daughters' school sporting events - volleyball, swimming, softball. I usually have small children watching me which is very cute. And moms' tell me they wish they had time for something like that. Which if they got off their smart phones they'd have the time.