knittinglife knitting in public

How I maximise my knitting time


It’s no secret that I am a dedicated (some would say, obsessive) knitter and there really are very few social situations outside of a church where I don’t feel comfortable in whipping out my needles.

In order to be able to sustain this dedication it is necessary to have a range of suitable knitting projects on hand at any given moment - at least that’s my excuse for having so many projects on the go at once. But it really does make sense if you stop to think about it.

This is for me why I could never be a monogamous knitter. As much as I admire the patience and tenacity of these dedicated knitters, what on earth would you do when faced with a 3hr train journey at short notice and all you have to hand is the final border on a king-sized blanket. Just the thought of undertaking a journey on public transport with No Knitting is enough to bring me out in a cold sense of dread and fear. Anyone who has ever travelled by train in the UK and has experienced the horrors of the unscheduled “rail replacement bus service” will know exactly what I mean.

No, as far as I’m concerned, amassing multiple WIPs is nothing at all to do with a willful disregard for the “one project at a time” brigade. It’s not about gleeful, profligate casting on either. More, it’s about making sure that you have a project ready for the time slot you have available to you.

Have 20 minutes to wait in the doctors surgery for an appointment? Fine - grab that baby cardigan and work a few rounds on the sleeve.

Have a blissful hour to yourself on the sofa with Netflix and coffee? Perfect time to pick up stitches on that sweater neckband or add a square or two to your sock yarn blanket.

Leaving for an impromptu cinema visit with 10 minutes notice? Not a problem - just grab that plain vanilla sock toe that you cast on weeks ago.

Do you see what I mean? Yes, you might not be churning out the finished objects as fast as our monogamous knitterly friends but you will always have an appropriate knitting project on hand. Which to my mind is far more important and infinitely more pleasing.

And for the truly dedicated knitter you might want to employ my time honoured tactic of putting together the “Emergency Knitting Bag”. No laughing at the back there - the Fear is real.

I have a couple of projects bags squirreled away each holding a skein of sock yarn - either pre-wound or a commercial ball and a set of DPNs. I know I don’t normally use DPNs but in an emergency I’m prepared to compromise and I have loads of sets lying around that I rarely use.

I keep one in my craft area - ready to grab and another in the boot of my car. Truly - you never know when you might need it. My car boot holds bottled water, dried fruit, emergency first aid kit - and sock yarn!

And after a recent escapade in the Lake District involving a large piece of sharp metal and the front tyre of my husbands car, I’ve also taken the opportunity to stash a bag in his boot too! Never mind the Scouts - it truly is the knitters who are always well prepared.