Tuesday, October 6, 2009

People Say the Strangest Things When They See You Knitting in Public

Bells told a story about the various reactions to her knitting in public, so I thought I would share a recent and entertaining experience (at least I found it so).

Like most people we have some routine activities we perform at or around the same time in the same place most weekends. The family shop takes place (usually) at a local shopping centre, small, reasonably well formed except for the sharp left turn on entry to the ramp, and easily accessible.

The first thing we do on arrival is grab a coffee at the coffee shop and sit outside near the pet shop. This happens most weeks and of course I pull out my knitting. The waitress at the cafe and a number of the other locals often asked what I am knitting and check out the item.

I do not know the name of the staff at the coffee shop (where we have been going for around five years) shocking but we are there once a week. In my own defence I do know the name of the barista and server at the coffee shop I go to every work day. Anyway she is always lovely and remembers our coffee order and who has what. The other week she bought out her coffees asked me what I was knitting (Toe-Up Socks) and proceeded to say "When I get married and have a baby you are going to knit all their clothes". This was all one sentence pronounced incredibly quickly.

It evoked in me images in me of her walking down the ailse, having the baby and me knitting the train out of baby clothes like a little clothesline. I wish I had the time and creative tools to photoshop this image. Would be spectacular I am sure.

We laughed but it does highlight that a lot of people think that if you knit you automatically want to knit for other people, whether you know them or not, whether you like them or they you. There is little acknowledgement that this is something you invest time and effort in because you enjoy it. That the choice of what items you knit may be a big part of that enjoyment. If a friend builds you a cabinet or wires your house or paints you a picture is it seen with the same? Would you expect to pay for the materials and the labour, or in the case of the artist would you expect to pay market rate for their work?


Shortly said...

I'd certainly consider knitting my plumber or electrician a pair of handknit socks in exchange for their bill!

dr k said...

oh yes, because you are just waiting for people you hardly know to have babies you can knit for, as opposed to the people you do know, and already dont have time to knit for! still, its nice to know she liked your work.

Bells said...

Our routine is the same. We get to the markets, head straight for coffee and I knit. The manager there always admires whatever I'm knitting. She asked recently if I sell the socks I knit. I hated doing it but I said no because they take too long. She looked crestfallen. But it's just how it is.

That said, Sean said I should knit her a pair in exchange for free coffee for several months. Am still considering it!

Whether they ask to buy or just receive the stuff we make, I always try to remember it's a nice compliment of our work, even if there's an underlying assumption we have the time and/or desire.

missfee said...

What a great image the train of baby clothes down the aisle - how true just because you knit doesn't mean you want to knit for everyone else - one should be very prudent with gifts of knitting - and then the art of knitting will be elevated to where it belongs

Virginia said...

People are very very strange about knitting in public. Although the comment I hear the most is "Geez. I could never do that. It's so... repetitive."