To knit or not to knit, that is the question

After spending an entire weekend surrounded by knitters at Fling (more info here), I found that my interest in knitting constantly, all the time, was greatly increased.  Seeing how much I could get done when I actually knit for significant amounts of time was inspiring. I know, I know, novel idea, knit more minutes in the day and your projects get done faster!  Who knew?!?!  So now that I’m home and spending the majority of my time living that pesky thing called “real life” surrounded by non-knitting Muggles, I find myself questioning – when is it appropriate to pull out my project and knit a row or two?

Obviously, I have my go to knitting times – lunch hour at work, evening TV time, lazy weekend mornings or afternoons.  Those times are made for knitting.  Other appropriate knitting times, at least in my world, are while waiting for appointments (car maintenance, doctor, etc.), while hanging out and chatting with close family and friends at home (mine or theirs), and in the booth while I’m stage managing a show.

Let’s pause a moment to consider that last one.  In my spare time (ha!), I work as a stage manager for a number of local theatre companies.  Once rehearsals and tech are finished and a show is open, the stage manager is responsible for running the show and calling all the cues for the technical elements.  Many plays have plenty of downtime during the performance where the stage manager doesn’t have any cues to call.  However, she must still remain alert to what is happening onstage and backstage to deal with any unforeseen problems that may arise and to ensure that the actors are “behaving” and upholding the director’s vision.  During these times, I knit.  Some people may think this would distract me from the task at hand – the show – but other knitters like me will understand that it does the exact opposite and actually HELPS me focus and keeps my mind from wandering.  Usually I’m working on a simple garter or stockinette project where I don’t have to look at the knitting and it is easy to pick up and put down when I need to call a cue.  Socks are perfect for this! So I often get lots of prime knitting time in the booth, depending on the show of course.  There are some, namely musicals with 57,000 light cues, where I don’t have time to even sit down, much less knit a stitch!  But for the more laid back straight plays with just a handful of cues, I relish the uninterrupted time.

So those are the obvious appropriate knitting situations.  There are also obvious inappropriate knitting situations.  You should not knit, for example, while taking a shower, interviewing for a job, driving a car, riding a roller coaster, and any number of other situations where needles and yarn would interfere with the task you should be concentrating on or would be obviously rude to the other individuals around you.

What becomes difficult however, are those situations that fall into the grey area between completely appropriate and completely inappropriate.  As a perfect recent example from my own life, this past weekend I had a committee meeting for a local theatre board that I serve on.  It’s a small committee – 5 of us – and we were having our first meeting at the home of one of the members.  We had a lovely lunch at the start of the meeting and then began our discussion while still sitting around her dining room table.  I had brought my knitting with me thinking that perhaps it would be a good opportunity to get some work done on my Hitchhiker.  Again, similar to the knitting I choose for stage managing, Hitchhiker is all garter stitch that doesn’t require me to pay much attention so I would have been able to devote my full attention to our discussion.  But as the meeting went on, I did not pull out my knitting.  I thought about it, but then I wasn’t sure if it would be seen as rude.  Would the others think that I wasn’t as involved in our discussion?  Would they be distracted by my knitting?  Now, these ladies are all friends of mine, 3 of them very close friends who know that I knit and probably would not have minded in the slightest.  So, why then, did I not knit?  Honestly, I’m not really sure.  Embarrassment?  Fear of what they would think or say?  Fear of feeling uncomfortable?

I have a number of other meetings coming up over the next few months where I would love to be able to knit.  It is a large chunk of captive time where the only other thing I’m supposed to be doing is paying attention to what others are saying and contributing my own thoughts.  I can honestly do this much better with knitting because my mind won’t wander and daydream and I’ll be more relaxed due to the knitting.  But is it appropriate to knit in situations like this?

What do you all think?  I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on where it is ok and where it is not ok to knit.

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4 thoughts on “To knit or not to knit, that is the question

  1. I’ve actually thought about this a lot. I find when I’m at church I cannot focus unless I close my eyes. There’s too many distractions. I also tend to move my hands a lot…an itch here, a ragged nail, move my glasses. So I wondered …what if I brought my knitting. A mindless project that keeps.me focused. I’m not sure that people who don’t knit understand how tuned in you can become if you keep your hands and eyes occupied. However, I’ve been told it would be disrespectful. I would also like to knit when I have family gatherings. My in-laws are dull as can be…my own husband reads the newspaper when they come over. But I’m hesitant because I don’t want to be rude, but there’s nothing to do or talk about. But something make me leave the knitting in the basket. Even if everyone else is on their phone.

  2. I knit in church. I sit generally towards the back and take a project I don’t have to pay too much attention to, so it’s not like I’m up in the front making a scene with it. My priest knows, and she’s fine with it. If others have issues, pffffft, so what. My family knows the knitting comes with me wherever I go. If I’m sitting, I’m knitting. Except, oddly, if I’m home because if I’m home I’m on the computer — and I haven’t figured out how to computer and knit at the same time, or at least how to do it without lots of mistakes!

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