Monday, May 7, 2012

Why I shouldn't knit in public

I went to a concert on Saturday night... and I took some knitting with me.  I didn't even consider whether this might be a bad idea, though there was a fleeting sensation of, Do I really need to bring a sock?  Because since the Christmas KnitFrenzy of 2011 subsided, I haven't felt the urgency to be working stitches every waking moment.

(playing spider solitaire on the computer - yes, but that's another problem for another day.)

So: there I was, sitting in the concert hall with Bob's second sock on my lap, getting a good start on the ribbing while waiting for the lights to go down.  And when they did, I slipped the sock into my bag and prepared to be attentive only on the stage.

(great concert, btw.)

Very responsible me! I was pretty pleased about the whole thing because the last time I took knitting out with me for something other than commuting -

(if you don't count those two meetings where I was the teeniest bit distracting to others but frankly my exploding head would have been way more so, if I hadn't had the knitting, and anyway I wasn't an active participant or anything)

- I experienced Great Embarrassment.

The Story of the Great Embarrassment

In February I took a sock to a steakhouse where the service can be kinda slow and I thought I'd need something to stay entertained while chatting with my very entertaining companions.  Not really logical.  As I knit, I did ask myself, Do I really need these stitches right now? and answered, Not at all, but I kept knitting anyway.  Habit, I guess.  Then when the food came I had to shove the sock in my bag in a hurry, and later on the way out of the parking lot I picked it up again and


a needle.  missing.  lost in the dimly lit restaurant.  almost certainly under the table where we'd been sitting, a table almost certainly now occupied by others because there had been a lineup at the door as we left.

T H E   S H A M E

well, I had to go back of course.  I had to explain to the 20something non-knitters at the hostess desk what I needed to do, and then I had to explain to the young mother trying to prop her baby up in a high chair what I needed to do, and then I had to crawl around on the floor avoiding other diners so I could find my dpn.

(which was a superpointy square one, incidentally.  good thing this restaurant requires shoes because owie.)

And Now Back To The Concert

At intermission I joined the throng heading for the throng heading for the Ladies' Room, and got back to my seat with, oddly enough, time to spare.  I later discovered that the concert ran an hour late, which probably explains that

n a t urally, I got the knitting out again.   And as I knit, I got to chatting with the lady to my right.  Knitting does that to people, have you noticed?  Though actually it doesn't take knitting to get me chatting.  I don't know whether it's because I work from home in comparative isolation or whether I just have no filtering system but I often have to stop myself from saying things I am thinking with regard to people I don't know, like - love those shoes! or what a great jacket, where did you find it?

Another Digression

This one time, I was on the subway knitting and I saw quite a young girl across and down one section who was also knitting, which happens infrequently enough, regardless of age of knitter, that I noticed.  What I really noticed though was that she was knitting a familiar-looking round thing - some shawl that was super popular at the time - in an enticing looking shade of green. I successfully stopped myself from going over to ask her about it because there were so many non-knitters on the train whose attention she might not have wanted.

So: I never did identify the pattern but realized later I had a/ knit something myself in that shade of green and b/ recently bought more yarn in it.  also c/ I restrained myself and acted responsibly in public, go me!

Really Back To The Concert

Okay: chatting with neighbour, planning to stash the knitting again before the lights go down, being Very Good.

My neighbour turned out to be a knitter too, but, as she said, 'episodically'.  I found that so interesting and true. There are times when knitting is necessary, as when grandchildren are being born or stress is just too high to bear or weather is cold or time is empty, and there are times when it simply isn't and you do other things.

Unless, as I pointed out, you have stocked up to insane levels of yarn during Necessary and now have to work through it.

Anyway: super nice chat as the intermission dragged on.  and then as the lights dimmed...

Oh man,

just 16 more stitches of ribbing before I can go to plain stocking stitch.  That's not going to bother anybody, is it?  And it's not like I need light to do it.  I mean, a kid down the row was reading a book in the low light for heaven's sake.

I was so busy rationalizing ..

... and that's when it happened.

I knit a stitch, and I purled a stitch, and I got distracted probably by needing to applaud the conductor, and when I went back to the knitting I had two stitches sitting exposed, which was odd, and it took me quite a long time to realize that they must have been on a needle at some point, but which needle? so I counted and saw I only had four, the fifth having dropped somewhere.

n o o o o o o

not the s t e a k h o u s e

but yes, the steakhouse.  Time to look for another needle on the floor.  or possibly in the folds of the pinafore I was illogically wearing because everybody else had really dressed for this concert.  I must have checked the giant pockets of that thing a dozen times, not believing the needle hadn't fallen in there.  Six months before, I'd found a needle gauge in its pocket that I had been looking for for about two months before that, so I know the wily ways of those pockets. 

My neighbour looked inquisitively at me and I whispered to her what had happened, but she couldn't help either.  What else would you expect from an episodic knitter with obvious self-control?  I just had to sit there, quietly checking my seat and intermittently bending to study the floor, willing the needle to reveal itself.

Eventually it occurred to me that the missing needle had been taking on the role of

the right needle.

You know, with the left hand side of said needle pointed up, to get stitches, and the right hand side of the needle pointed down, in my hand?  

so logically, I was not going to find the missing needle on the left hand side of me, which was where I had been mostly looking.  I looked to the floor at my right, peered closer, and - yep.

"It's under your shoe," I whispered to my neighbour.

"Really?" she asked, as though this were perfectly normal.  And she moved her foot and I got the needle and put the sock away and didn't dare touch it again.

I really gotta stop knitting in public.


Krafty Girl said...

Funny! Good story! It probably not very funny at the time. Isn't that how life is.

Glad everything worked out. Hobbies! Hee hee

Renik said...

Knitting in public can be funny. I'm not so familiar with knitting yet, but I like crotcheting. Last year I took my crotchet and treads to the bus, and I heard that a lady from the seat next me whispered: "Look, she is doing... something!" :) Luckily, I didn't lost my favourite needle.

By the way, I fell in love with your blog! It's absolutely inspiring! I really like your hats and caps, I hope one day I'll manage to do something similar. :) Best wishes! Renia

UmmRania said...

I must not go out in public enough, I go out everyday to the local sandbox with my children and am sitting with usually 2 other knitters, so I fit in actually. However since I am usually all dressed in head to toe in a a black head scarf and long black dress, and speaking native english with my children while living in Germany.....I kind of stick out anyway, no one is noticing the knitting!

leta said...

Only circulars in public for me. I've been burned like that before too. :)