One of the things that makes me a prolific knitter is the fact that I take my knitting EVERYWHERE. I must have heard “I wish I had time to knit” over a hundred times in my life, and it’s a statement I’ve never understood. I’m sure there are people out there that actually have no time to knit, but I think for the most part muggles (non-knitters) don’t realize that knitting is not something that you have to take time to do. I completely understand that there are different levels of knitting prowess, but if you view knitting in public as a goal, or something that can be learned, it’s a possibility for almost all knitters.
A skill that can really help is learning to knit with out looking at your work. It’s not a magic trick, it’s not something that only the most experienced knitters can do, it’s a skill that can be learned. I learned by watching some of my favourite tv shows and movies. I quickly discovered that watching something with subtitles was a really bad idea (3 hrs of a movie and it wasn’t until the end that I realized the film was about Genghis Khan…). If you’re watching a show you’ve already seen, then when you have to look away, you won’t lose the thread of the show (get it? Thread… haha!).
Start with a very simple knitting pattern, like a dishcloth. Begin knitting and see if you can do it by feel. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and if you have to look it’s no big deal. Keep knitting and strive to look at your work less and less. Eventually you’ll find you won’t have to look at your knitting at all. You can graduate to things besides the knit stitch. I’ve learned that when I’m knitting ribbing, I don’t really have to count, I can feel the switch from a knit stitch to a purl stitch, and from a purl stitch to a knit stitch. Note: If you have your hands as close to the tips of the needles as possible, knitting without looking will be easier!
Project choice makes a huge difference in your traveling knitting. In most cases, the simpler the better! I often keep a project on the go specifically for its ease of travel. A pair of socks, a garter stitch shawl, the body of a stocking stitch sweater. Complicated charts that you need to refer to often are not ideal…unless you like reknitting your work.
I knit everywhere. I will knit in a car; I will knit near or far. I will knit on a plane; I will knit on a train. I will knit here or there; I will knit everywhere!