I’ll knit where I like

05/01/2019 · 9 comments

in Craft,Crochet,Knitting

I have never been ashamed to craft. Back in my University days I would happily sit with a needlepoint tapestry on the long (and I mean long) train journey between home and my college town. Very rock and roll. In the last decade I have become a braver ‘alfresco’ knitter. A train journey is perhaps my favourite ‘out’ experience. I sense people staring at me. Gone are the days when I look ‘too young to knit’ but I think the speed of the hands is quite mesmeric for the onlooker. For fun I will quickly look up and stare my observer in the face. Embarrassed they will often look away, but mostly they smile and ask me what I’m making.

cornwallis-rowan-emma-varnam

When knitting and crochet becomes a vocation or a job, then crafting in public is not so much a performance or luxury, it is a deadline necessity. When I need to finish a project the urgency compels me to take my yarn wherever I go. I might arrive at a friends house and make my excuses while we sit and chat. Most of my close friends have enough experience of this oddity. They know I am fully engaged in the conversation. I might be quiet, but I am thinking. Quite often my knitting figure is compared to the guillotine spectator ‘Madame Defarge’. One could take offense, I choose not to. A historical and literary reference merely denotes how knitters have been multi-tasking for centuries: ‘Say something witty and entertaining and I’ll look up!’

stylecraft-breidagen

If you are in a group of ‘tricoteuse’ then you can feel very brave. In the Autumn I was very lucky to join some of my Stylecraft Blogstars on a trip to Breidagen yarn festival in the Netherlands. We had a wonderful time, talking and teaching with yarn enthusiasts from across Europe. Hilariously at dinner, either in the hotel or a restaurant our bottoms barely hit the seat before the project bags were open and our hands worked the yarn. There is definitely security in numbers, but in these circumstances it would almost seem rude not to. In these moments, chatting away we shared our love of the craft. We quickly passed on our hints and tips like a supers-speedy masterclass. (The photo below is some of the Stylecaft Blogstars at Spa Mill – the gorgeous Phil Saul of Twisted Yarn took the image).

stylecraft-blogstars

Anyone who attends a regular knit and knatter group will tell you how much they love to craft in community. The activity is as old as the hills and is so important for the future of our craft.

There are still places and instances where I don’t knit or crochet. A special birthday, a posh restaurant, a wedding or funeral. In these very busy days I very rarely knit at work. I don’t have time to take the needles out at lunchtime.

However, in the last year I have expanded my extreme knitting venues. Learning to knit socks has enabled me to knit in the cinema. This is particularly useful if the film is not quite my taste – a film my son would like me to enjoy with him, but wouldn’t normally be my first choice…basically Star Wars. Knitting in the cinemas is also helpful for really tense films. Over Christmas we went to see the climbing movie, Free Solo. Oh my word. As the action got more tense my stitching got faster and faster.

Beach-Basket-emma-varnam

You might wonder in the dark, how is this possible? With a small circular needle and a basic stitch my fingers know exactly where to go. I can feel where the next stitch is and instinctively I even know if I have gone wrong. How bizarre. But this is just knitting. Even though I am ambi-tectrous (can knit and crochet) I still need to be able to see where I put the hook in for crochet. When I crochet, I am a much faster and proficient, but a little less instinctive.

I love the fact that I see more and more people sewing, knitting and crocheting in public spaces. Perhaps it is due to the growing numbers of people taking up a craft. In fact as I try to stay off my phone, knitting or crochet seem more appealing. I just must remember to look up more. – Then tell Wind and Fire where to stop, but don’t tell me.

Where will you knit or crochet – where will you not?

 

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