The etiquette of crocheting in public


I turned up at work on Monday morning and one of my colleagues started talking to me about a photo I posted over the weekend. This colleague and I are always comparing notes on our latest knit or crochet project – and she was actually the one who made me brave enough to start bringing my crochet along to teacher-only days and staff meetings! She commented that the thing she loved about the photo I posted was that it brought knitting into the real world and showed it in a really normal environment. She then said, “Isn’t it funny that it’s totally normal for me to be on my phone right now but if I had my crochet out, people would start commenting or questioning?”.

Casting on

Let me go back and explain the original context of the above photo. It was Saturday morning and my husband, brother and I were deciding what we wanted to do for the day. Heavy rain was forecast but it hadn’t quite hit yet so we decided to drive out to the Boulder Bank in Nelson. My brother and husband love their waves and are always keen to see what the ocean is up to! On the drive there, I got them to make a pit-stop at Spotlight as I needed (seriously!) a new size of knitting needles (there also happened to be 50% off all Moda Vera yarn which was a very happy coincidence…).
Ten twenty minutes later, we carried on out to the Boulder Bank and sat watching the waves and throwing rocks for the next hour or so.

My fingers are always itching to play with yarn, especially when I have a new bag (or two) full to the brim, so out came the knitting needles.  My husband is pretty used to it now! However, I did find myself glancing around every now and then, just in case someone walked by with their dog and gave me a funny look.

So where IS it socially acceptable to knit or crochet? Hopefully the rocky beach (and then inside the truck when it gets too cold!) is ok.Throwing rocks

But what about at work or in meetings?
I am a high school teacher IRL and with that territory comes a lot of meetings! I am one of those people who needs to be doing something to help me concentrate. It’s very rare that I sit on the couch and watch TV or a movie without working on a project. Likewise, in meetings where you are required to be passive (i.e. listening to a presentation) I desperately need to be working on something in order to help me concentrate and stay focused. Because we all know teachers sure do love to talk…

On the other hand, I would never ever dream of bringing my crochet into the classroom – for obvious reasons! My students require all of my attention and if I have time to crochet in class then I’m obviously not doing my job properly. Similarly, I wouldn’t knit during my precious few free periods – simply because there is always so much work to be done (and obviously I get paid to work, not crochet – as nice as that would be)! Lunch breaks? Slightly different situation. A couple of people I work with will occasionally pull out their knitting at lunch and I always find myself feeling rather jealous that I didn’t think to bring any of mine!

Social situations?
I’ve come across a bit of debate in this area and I think it’s one of those situations that requires a bit of personal judgement. Obviously weddings and funerals are a big no-no (go figure)! And surely you wouldn’t ever knit a few rows of stitches while out at a restaurant for dinner. But what about an evening at a friend’s house? This is a case where it is totally dependent on the situation. There are probably only a handful of people at whose house I would feel comfortable enough to take around whichever project I’m working on. One way I often measure it up is whether I feel comfortable curling up on their couch with my feet tucked under me! If so, I’m definitely making myself at home with my crochet. If not, it’s probably best left at home. In regards to having guests around at your house, it once again depends on how formal the situation is! If I was having a big dinner party, I would absolutely leave the crochet hooks and knitting needles in my basket behind the couch. If it’s just our close friends coming over for a movie night or BBQ? Let’s just say they quickly get used to sharing the couch with a few balls of yarn!

Waiting rooms and public transport?
I have heard that a lot of people always carry a small project in their handbag for these types of situations – I wish I was one of them! Granted, I haven’t used public transport since my uni days but there have been a few times recently where I would have loved the distraction of crocheting while sitting in a waiting room! But I think I often go out of my way to avoid drawing attention to myself and as soon as you pull out a crochet hook, people immediately start looking. So the crochet bag gets to stay in the car instead.

Other places?
Watching TV/movies at home: HECK YES!
Long drives/roadtrips: absolutely!
Cafes: depends who you’re with and where.
Movie theatre: this only just occurred to me…hmm…has anyone tried it?
Aeroplanes: yes and no – it probably pays to check the on-board regulations first.

Are there any places I have missed? Do you disagree with any of it? I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

(I have purposefully talked about both crochet and knitting in this post as I often switch between the two mediums.) 

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3 thoughts on “The etiquette of crocheting in public

  1. This totally made me laugh! My friends are more than used to snuggling up under the WIP blanket when they come over for a movie night, or having to lift the yarn up to sit down. I’ve knitted in the cinema (people think it’s weird, I was asked to stop by a staffmember once…) and on flights (less staring, but do check airline safety regulations, as not all of them allow knitting needles.) Cafes don’t attract so much attention where I live, but there are a lot of book readers and a few chess-players so I’m in good company.

    Public transport is the kicker for me, I catch the train with my bike, I’m a ponytail, sneakers and sport-gear wearing girl. You picturing it? I’m surrounded by commuters on their phones, or plugged into their Kindles, I get yarn & hook/needles out and *everyone* wants to chat to me about it.
    In a way it’s flattering, everyone is kind and smiles, (and sometimes frustrating, when I’m trying to use all my spare time for a deadline for example!) but I think it’s mostly because it’s not commonplace anymore. Everyone’s got a story about their mom, or grandma. It garners a surprising amount of male attention too, which sometimes makes me a bit uncomfortable, but they’re often kind and genuinely interested why I like to knit. The most common thing they say is that its nice to see a young woman doing something that they remember fondly from their childhood with their mothers.

    1. Wow that’s so crazy that you were asked to stop at the cinema! I wonder what the issue with it was? Sounds like you live in a very craft/hobby friendly town!
      I am definitely picturing you on the train – I love it! Crochet and knitting went away for a few years but I love that more and more people are getting into it again. And I’m sure working on projects in public will only make it more common when people see others doing the same!

      1. It was a rom-com movie, so I think my clicking away might have been disturbing the couple behind me haha…

        It wasn’t crafty to begin with, its a big town so it can be a bit faceless sometimes. But you’re right, recently more people are getting into it, it’s great to see more and more new faces in local classes and groups! 😊

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