I don’t know if this link will remain live for long, but it’s to an “Ask Amy” column appearing in the Washington Post on-line edition (free sign in may be required). The advice columnist printed a letter from a California knitter who was asking about the propriety of knitting at an informal gathering of friends.
The gist of the letter is that the writer’s friends gather for a lazy afternoon of chitchat, drinks and snacks on the porch of a friend’s cabin. At the last of these recurring afternoons overlooking the river, the knitter (gasp) brought her knitting. She brought something simple, was an active eye-contact participant in conversations (as opposed to sitting in a corner squirreled away with her yarn); and was a general all-around helpful house guest, assisting the host with whatever prep and clean-up was at hand. However, the knitter’s husband when asked about what he thought of the knitter’s activity voiced a negative opinion, saying it was rude of her to have taken out her needlework.
The Ask Amy columnist was very supportive of the knitter, saying that the activity within the bounds cited wasn’t rude, and “the world would be a more congenial place if more people laid aside their handheld devices and picked up some needles and yarn.” She suggested asking the husband why he found needlework in an informal gathering to be an inappropriate activity.
I for one don’t feel that the knitter was in the least rude, and I encourage her to raise the banner for public knitting.
Knitting at chitchat gatherings has a long history, and in the past genteel needlework was considered almost a required accessory for informal visits. I often bring needlework with me to social gatherings, judging when I get there as to whether or not the circumstance is comfortable for me to pull it out. But apparently some aren’t convinced about this type of behavior. (I also think the husband might have been annoyed because less attention was being paid in specific to him, but that’s another story.)
So – as an item for discussion – Would you feel comfortable knitting at a lazy afternoon gathering of convivial friends? Would your spouse or significant other object? Why?