I’ve been knitting my whole life,and I have knit every place I’ve been. It’s just a part of me. I knit at lunch break in school, lunch and coffee break at work, waiting in doctors’ offices. I always have a pair of socks on the go, because they are a small project that’s easy to pack around, and easy to stop and start.
Until the advent of the internet, I never thought about this. And then one day, I discovered that I “Knit in Public”! I discovered many people questioned if they should do it, and wondered how to reply to comments. I found lists people had made of the pros and cons of it.
Strangely, I have never found mention of one the chief joys I derive from my public display of knitting! It’s the amazing people I get to meet. I’d like to introduce you to couple of them.
I was sitting waiting for my husband in an auto parts store, knitting on a sock. An elderly gentleman stopped and said “That brings back so many lovely memories of my Mom! Do you mind if I watch?” Of course I invited him to sit down. He stayed for half an hour, and I heard of his life on the prairies before 1920. Driving to town once a month in the wagon, the time his brother fell out, how lonely it could be so far from any other family. And all the memories of his Mom and why he missed her. It was amazing to hear, and his memories were so clear. He got up to leave and told me “That’s the first time in years I’ve thought of Mom and remembered all that”.
A little girl about 8 or so came over while I was waiting for the doctor and asked what I was doing. I looked at her Mom, who nodded “okay”. The girl and I talked about knitting and crafts, and she got up the nerve to try a few stitches. The Mom came over and asked if I knew where her daughter could learn to knit, and I gave her some information. That kid was so excited!
I was waiting for the ferry, sitting in the bench in the sun, knitting away at a stranded pattern sock. A lady stopped and said “I’ve always wanted to learn 2 colour knitting. But it’s so hard!” We ended up chatting, and by the time the ferry was coming in, she’d done 2 rounds on the sock in 2 colours and was loving it! She left with a list of some of my favourite designers and some good yarn brands to try for a start.
While I was knitting on my Omar’s Carpet socks, a lady came up and said “That looks like socks from my childhood!” It turned out she had immigrated from Turkey as a child and had recognized the two traditional Turkish patterns I incorporated into this pattern. I heard all about how she came to Canada, what she loved about our country, how she wasn’t so fond of winter, how many kids she had. When I had to leave, I was sad we would likely never meet again!
Almost every sock I’ve knit has memories of the people I’ve met while knitting on them out in public. Of course, not everyone has been pleasant! But I just forget about those ones as soon as they’ve walked away. Thinking of the stories I’ve heard, the faces of kids, the hands of people trying a few stitches…I think that all helps the socks seem even more warm and cozy!