Toodling along on my current sampler…
…working on another pattern shared in my blackwork fillings collection, just stitching along. Once the base repeat is established, I find I can copy off my own work, rather than referring to the printed pattern. Sure, this one is on the complex side, but it’s a regular repeat and not what I’d consider particularly difficut; and without having to refer to a printed sheet, the project is totally portable. So I brought it with me to my kid’s school chorus concert. There’s always a long wait between the participants’ early drop-off time and the public concert’s start. Lots of parents stay rather than going home and returning later. I was not alone.
I’m used to knitting and stitching in public. I’ve gotten all sorts of comments over the years, ranging from real interest to veiled hostility. The overwhelming majority of people are interesting to talk to, and my project is always a convenient conversational icebreaker.
There are the folks who ask after the item being worked, or volunteer stories of their own about knitting or stitching. They’re usually pleasant and I enjoy talking to them. There are invariably people who say things like “Oooh. I could NEVER do that.” (What runs through my head is the reply, “With that attitude, I bet you’re right” but I rarely voice it.) Depending on how dismissive they are I either smile sweetly and don’t reply out loud, or try to explain that it’s not anywhere near as difficult as it looks.
There are kids who are fascinated by what I’m doing. Knitting socks especially seems to boggle them. I have fun with them, explaining he project and chatting about the craft in general.
Unfortunately, not everyone is pleasant. Some people say that they hate wasting time. I usually point out that at this very moment (mid commute, in the doctor’s office – whatever) I appear to be far more productive than they are. A couple of decades ago there were more derisive and ideological comments. Mostly from women, who were eager to point out that domestic tasks like knitting and stitching were ineherently demeaning, and should be shunned, especially in public. I would usually engage with them, responding that “freedom from” also means “freedom to,” that I had a highly technical career thank you, and that I found relaxation in traditional crafts. We usually parted on less divisive philosophical grounds.
But this week, just sitting there stitching, I found a whole new public comment beast. The ones who decide that anyone doing something alien to the commenter is clearly nuts, deranged, crazy, a lunatic, or otherwise mentally abberant; and should be pointed out to everyone else. It also seems that these folk (aside from their insenstivity towards the differently abled) delight in being loud and obnoxious. Maybe it was the ambience of the high school in which the performance was taking place, but I felt like I’d fallen back among locker room bullies again.
What did I do? First of all, I didn’t move my seat. I’d come early and sat underneath one of the few lights bright enough for stitching. When it became clear that glaring and not responding wasn’t working, I asked the commenters to kindly be quiet, that they were disrupting the people around us – in my best Miss Manners icy-haute tone. “Bitchy, too” was the reply, and they went away. Like vultures everywhere they probably flew off to circle over someone else’s carcass.
I won’t stop stitching and knitting in public. Idiots are everywhere, and I refuse to let them win.
Have your own stitching/knitting in public story? Positive or negative, feel free to share.