Top tips for knitting in public and on the move

This Saturday is Worldwide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP) and as part of Commit to Knit month we’ve been encouraging to take your charity projects and join in events.

But for some knitters and crocheters taking our projects out and about isn’t just for WWKIP day. For some of us our knitting goes pretty much everywhere. These are the people who take the attitude that if “I’ve somewhere park my behind and my hands are free, I’ll get my knitting out” to quote one public knitter.

And I must admit, I‘m one of this type of knitter. I’ve crocheted as a passenger in a car and knitted everywhere from ski lifts to backstage at an Olympic event to on the set of a Marvel movie. It’s great to fill those odd moments with nothing much else happening with a couple of rows – public transport is particularly good for this.

But if you are not a public knitter, you might feel a little nervous about taking your needles out in a café or on a train for the first time, so here are a few tips for enjoyable KIPing.

The Project

There are some projects that don’t lend themselves easily to KIPing (or CIPing) – the 500 stitches of an almost finished lace shawl, the body of an aran sweater or the edging of a granny square blanket for example.

You want a project that will fit easily into your bag. You don’t want to be carrying an extra bag or rucksack simply for your knitting. So socks, hats, a scarf you can roll up or baby clothes are good options.

Simpler projects are also good if you are a new KIPer. Choose something that you can easily pick up and put down in the middle of a row – you will be interrupted, run out of lunch hour or suddenly notice you are arriving at your station and have to stop and shove your project in your back. In fact public knitting is good for training you to keep track of your project and to “read your knitting” so  that you can tell exactly where you stopped (we’ll have a post on reading your knitting very soon).

You also should think about your needles. A lot of KIPers are fans of circular needles even when working in rows for two reasons. Firstly, a project on a circular needles is easier pack in your bag. Also manoeuvring straight needles on a commuter train isn’t that easy. Here public crocheters definitely have the advantage.

As for yarn, the main trick here is to predict how much knitting you are likely to do and pack extra yarn if necessary. Unless we are talking about a very long train or plane journey, having one more skein is generally sufficient. There’s no need to carry you stash about.

KIP kit: Centre pull balls in yarn cosies reduce the chance of your yarn staying on the train when you reach the platform. DPNs and circular needles take up less space and make up bags and similar are great for small projects

KIP kit: Centre pull balls in yarn cosies reduce the chance of your yarn staying on the train when you reach the platform. DPNs and circular needles take up less space and make up bags and similar are great for small projects

The people

Apart from your project choice the other major factor in public crafting is other people.

Be prepared for:

  • People staring or becoming mesmerised by your stitches. Don’t be alarmed, just think that you are making their day more entertaining as well as enjoying yourself
  • People chatting. Other people who knit or who want to knit will often want to talk about their experiences and what you are making. Again think of this positively – these people have overcome that traditional British reserve to start a conversation with a complete stranger.
  • Odd questions. Any KIPer worth their salt will have a collection of unusual and funny questions they’ve been asked about what they’re doing, these are great for sharing with other knitters. Plus you can play KIP bingo ticking off the man who says “is that for me” or “do me one in blue”, the person who says “is it for a baby” extra points if you are making the back of man’s jumper at the time or the one who tells you “you could sell that”.

There is a lot of enjoyment to be had knitting and crocheting in public so why not give it a go this Saturday. You can find our map of Commit to Knit events here.

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2 thoughts on “Top tips for knitting in public and on the move

  1. One lady came up to me and asked what i doing was so I told her…..I’m knitting a sweater.
    Then she asked in a shocked tone says “you can make knitting into clothes” gave me a good laugh.
    Knitting at the bus stop the one day an elderly ex service man commented on me knitting socks saying that he remembered knitting socks in the army and telling me how scatchy the worsened weight yarn was and how much time he spend darning them. I couldn’t resist telling him about modern sock yarns with nylon and how soft and hard wearing they were….a few months later at the same bus stop he was knitting colourful socks on dpns….I’ve made a great knitting friend.

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  2. I have never really thought about taking my knitting outside the house with me, I have only ever taken it to someone elses house I am staying at to keep me busy. I may have to take a trip to the park one Sunday when the weather decides to be nice 🙂

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