knitting in public

How to start a knitting group at work


I have to be up front here and say straight away that I haven’t managed to do this yet. But I am declaring today to be my Take Your Knitting to Work Day.

In the interests of positive thinking and the importance of having a Cunning Plan I am putting my intentions out there into the universe and trying to start a knit club at work.

Step 1 - Positive mental attitude - see above

Step 2 - Best knitting bag (colourful to attract attention). This is from Hide and Hammer

Step 3 - Most attractive work in progress (also the largest - see Step 2). This is no time for a tiny, discrete sock toe. The WIP in question is the Humulus Sweater

Step 4 - Use the power of research. There was a very timely article in the Wall Street Journal about this very thing - talking about the health benefits of knitting at work - so I’ll email it to the facilities manager.

Step 4 - Position yourself in the staff area at lunchtime with colorful knitting bag and gadgets on display

Step 5 - Have a large coffee to bolster self-confidence and resist the urge to shove my ear buds in and listen to podcasts

Step 6 - Smile and make eye contact with people. This is the big step - as any of my fellow introverts will attest to.

With any luck I might attract the attention of a few passing knitters, or even some interested non knitters who could be persuaded. I have spare needles and yarn in my bag on the off chance.

Wish me luck - I’ll report back,

The items my knitting bag can't live without


If you are anything like me, the bottom of your knitting bag is a sort of graveyard of previous projects with discarded ball bands and snack wrappers. But there are a few constants that I always have about my knitterly person and I firmly believe that you should too.

HIYA HIYA SNIPS - known affectionately as "Puppy Snips" in our household. These are a firm favourite of mine and I have acquired several pairs now. I love that fact that you can attach them to your bag zipper using the handy little chain and the fact that the tiny blade makes them perfectly airline friendly.

WASTE YARN - you never know when you might need to pop in a lifeline or slide your stitches on to waste yarn. I once had a needle break on me in mid-train journey and being able to safely catch the stitches on a length of waste yarn saved much swearing and cursing later on. I really like to carry a small package of dental floss for this - not only is the thread suitably thin and smooth for most yarn types but the integral cutting blade can also be persuaded to cut yarn and can replace your scissors in a travel emergency.

STITCH MARKERS - Although I can make do with loops of waste yarns I always have a few spare stitch markers knocking about. I like to have a few of the lockable markers too - the ones you can clip and unclip. These are really handy for catching up an errant dropped stitch or for marking the right side of your work.

PENCIL and PAPER - As a designer I'm supposed to say at this point that I always have a pretty notepad and pen to hand to jot down design notes or to keep track of a pattern. Sometimes I do, but more often I seem to end up with a random till receipt and a biro. Not exactly as pretty from an Instagram point of view but definitely an essential.

TIN OF HAND CREAM - I always have dry hands and have amassed quite a collection of solid lotion bars, or ones in tins. I tend to avoid anything in tubes after a rather unpleasant leakage episode.

So, those are my must have items - do let me know what your essentials are. I'd love to know.



Please knit appropriately

Places I have knit include (but are not limited to): school halls, church halls, churches, cathedrals, cinemas, sporting events, Olympic events, rugby fields, carparks, traffic jams, airports, trains, cafes, restaurants, museums. Hell, I've even knitted over tea at the Ritz.

In none of these places has anyone ever suggested that knitting is not an appropriate thing to do, nor has it generated the remotest amount of interest - except maybe when a lady took my sock off me in a cafe and told me that it wasn't possible to knit a sock on small circular needles (clearly overlooking the evidence she was holding).

The fact that a woman knitting at Wimbledon is enough to cause comment is something guaranteed to get my goat.

It would be bad enough if the comments were on the mainstream media but this discussion took place in a Facebook group for knitters. I am firmly of the 'live and let live' camp and I was pretty miffed to see so many comments along the lines of 'There's a time and place for knitting, and this isn't it'. Seriously, who is anyone to judge what someone else does with their time? I can't link to the thread as it ended up being deleted but to be honest it made for pretty unedifying reading.

And yes, if this sounds familiar you are quite right. The same thing happened back in 2012 and the BBC even ran a news story on it, And here we are in 2017 with similar comments and even comments that she is somehow wasting a seat because for the micosecond in which this photo was taken her eyes weren't on the match. If you did a quick headcount of all the people on Centre Court who were yawning, dozing, scrolling their mobile phone or daydreaming I'm sure you would find a good number who weren't fully focussed on events on the court. 

Imagine the headlines if a man were to be seen looking at his mobile phone during the 3:30 at Newmarket? Or someone gently dozing in the sun at Lord's. Would anyone even raise an eyebrow? But a woman, in public, knitting - hold the presses.

Wouldn't it be just fantastic though if it were a man knitting. How many social stereotypes could be broken in one sitting. The BBC would be mobilising the Newsnight team surely?