Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Watching through the window

Beach knitting - simple afterthought heel socks

Do you knit when you’re out and about? I almost always have my knitting on me - in the car, at the beach, in doctors waiting rooms, at the park, at soft play, at my kids swimming lessons, at the cinema, on public transport. I like having something to do that isn’t scrolling through my phone, so I feel productive; I can have a conversation while I knit, so I feel more sociable; knitting round and round is almost meditative and calms me down, which is sometimes needed while waiting anxiously for an appointment. 

Cafe knitting - stripey socks using leftover yarn

There have been many times when my knitting has started conversations. People in waiting rooms tell me fondly about relatives who once knitted, or about their own knitting or other crafting interests. I’m always happy to answer polite questions (especially from small children, who are always fascinated, and often want to know what I’m doing). Sometimes a few questions turn into a long conversation, a conversation that moves from knitting to other subjects, and before we know it, time has passed and we have to move on, but my knitting has grown a little bit more as I continue to knit while we chat.

Soft play knitting - a new pattern I'm working on

More soft play knitting - pattern coming later this year

People rarely have anything bad to say about my knitting. They admire my productivity, that I am not just scrolling mindlessly. But a couple of weeks ago, I had an encounter while knitting that unnerved me a little: I was sat by the window at a little soft play in a shopping centre, knitting away quite happily, when a lady stood by the window and started staring at my knitting. She didn’t interact, just stared. And it felt weird. As the staring was through a window, and the lady didn’t say anything to me, I couldn’t tell whether she was a knitter who wanted to ask questions, or someone who found it fascinating, or maybe they just liked the colour, or maybe they were judging me for knitting and not actively playing with my child (who was happily playing with their friends). The staring lasted a lot longer than I was comfortable with, but the lady did eventually move on.

Knitting with coffee

Has something like this ever happened to you? How would you have dealt with such an encounter? A friendly wave through the window? Holding the knitting up to show it off? I feel like I need something in my arsenal in case it happens again. Let me know in the comments.



  1. Hi Vicky, I take my knitting out and about too and like you it sparks conversations about what I’m making or how it reminds them of their mum or grandma who used to knit. As far as your strange encounter goes I would have felt awkward too with someone just staring. Maybe I would I held up the sock to show her - I’m not sure. I love your colours.

    1. Hi Lynne, it's lovely when it starts a conversation, isn't it! I probably should have held the sock up to show it off. Maybe I will next time!

  2. Maybe the woman thought you were doing an art performance?
    The only time something like this happened to me, I was on a train and the young man in the opposite isle was staring at my knitting. It made me a bit nervous. After staring intently for a few minutes, he asked me: is this knitting or crochet? I suspect, by his behaviour and the way he spoke, that he was mentally challenged and was not hindered by social rules about not staring or how to start a conversation. I was glad he finally spoke to me and we had a little conversation about crafts in general. It was fun.

    1. Hi Ine, maybe! I've had a lot of conversations about knitting on trains. Knitting definitely makes the journey go faster - I find I get very easily distracted if I try reading a book on a train these days, but I can almost always knit.

  3. Looking forward to seeing the new patterns!!! Yeah I would have felt uncomfortable too, I would like to think I’d have shown it to her but I probably wouldn’t! 😂
    I always knitting and crochet with me, but I only crochet granny stitch projects in the cinema! I was crocheting at a hosp appt for my daughter last week, I could see this lady start to sit elsewhere, saw what I was doing, came to sit near me and was about to start a conversation when my daughter got called in! I missed out on a natter! 😂

    1. Hi Ally, he new patterns are making progress... I probably should have shown it to her, maybe next time!

      I can't crochet without looking, so crochet at the cinema is a no-go. With knitting, I'm quite adept at grabbing dropped stitches in the dark now, as no matter how hard I try, the odd one always gets dropped.

      Always annoying to miss out on a natter, but I don't think anyone really likes hospital waiting rooms, so being seen is probably more important!