Thursday, 28 July 2011

KIP it real

I read one of my favourite blogs with heavy heart today. The lovely Fourth Edition blogged about her reluctance to Knit In Public after thoughtless muggles ruined her day.

I understood her need for privacy and the horror at finding her face on the internet without her permission. I am a stickler for 'oversharing' on the internet and must say on a weekly basis, 'Really? You felt a need to share THAT with the world?' as I scroll through my Facebook activity in my usual weekly flyby. In my line of work a certain amount of anonymity does wonders for helping you develop a caring yet professional manner and I can't be alone in that. Once you've put it out there, it's out; you can't take it back.

Still, I sighed as I read her words. I love knitting in public and my first ever entry was about just that experience. Sure, people can be thoughtless but I find thoughtlessness isn't limited to reactions to my knitting. Just try reading a book by yourself in your lunch hour, I'll give it ten minutes before someone interrupts your indulgent moment and asks 'Watcha readin'?'

To convince our blog friend to come back I thought I would share some of my favourite KIPing stories that I know have made me glad I've braved the stares, pointing and just downright weird responses from others.

1.  Knitting a sock on the night bus and looking up to see a young guy, maybe 16, swivelled right round and staring at my hands in wonder. I braced myself. He slurred 'How do you knit with ten needles?' I counted out my 4 and explained I only ever use 2. He shook his head, stared harder and said 'I knew I shouldn't have had that last shot. I still see 10'. 
2. Victoria line. Woman of about 60 sits next to me and smiles gently as I work stitches. She taps me and I remove my head phones. She instantly apologises in a thick Russian accent and says 'I hated to be interrupted too but I used to make lace and it makes me so happy to see you knit'. We talk about the wedding veils she made for her sisters and all too soon it's my stop and I wave goodbye sadly that I missed more time with a Knit Sib.
3. Knitting at Silverstone Grand Prix and my friend telling Lewis Hamilton 'My friend says she's going to start cables if you don't make this donkey go any faster' (my friend works for Maclaren and it was a BAD season). 
4. Knitting on way home from work on the 277. A little girl sat next to me points and asks her mum 'Is she from Harry Potter?' Yes little girl, yes, I am.
5. Not exactly KIPing but being crushed on the Jubilee Line and I catch a woman eyeballing my shawl 4 people down. 'Ishbel?' She mouths. I nod and smile. She shuffles up her trouser leg to reveal Monkeys. We beam and the train empties.

Chin up chicken, they are just in awe (mostly)

24 comments:

Renee Anne said...

I love the Harry Potter comment. I was reminded of when Herminone learned to knit the "real" way, as opposed to the way Mrs. Weasley knits...

Ness said...

Knitting on the bus has always been fun for me. I made friends with the bus driver, who teased me about being an old lady and refused to tell me what his hobby was (trains, I figured out), and I always get questions or start conversations just like the ones you've documented. I've distracted colleagues from visiting lecturers in my attempt to stay alert and attentive and mesmorized my students during movies or show and tell (which I love to do, even with college students :)). I hope your friend comes back!

fridica said...

Best. Post. Ever. Made me giggle and tear up at the same time. You've totally made my day. :)

Rhian Drinkwater said...

I love love love the Ishbel/Monkeys one.

Kasia said...

How come I never had a chance to meet you on the tube when I lived in London? I am a shy knitter and have never pulled my work out of my bag in public yet but your fabulous post gives me plenty of encouragement :) Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Annie said...

Brilliant post :D
I love to knit in public, and to meet folk who are interested in what I'm doing. Meeting someone who recognised the pattern I was knitting would be even better, though it hasn't happened, yet! But it would bother me if my knitting in a public place were treated as if it were some kind of freak show, which is kinda' what happened to Karie I think. I'd mind that more than I do being asked if I'm knitting Shreddies!

CelticCastOn said...

hahah Love number 5!! and 2 and 4... heck I love them all!

Tecrin said...

I've only crocheted in public once, on the train to uni, and I managed a total of 26 stitches during the 30 minute commute. Kept being interrupted by nosy people wondering what the hell I was doing.. One woman even wondered if I was allowed to bring such dangerous tools on the train with me. Because dear me, a pair of blunt-nosed scissors! And a needle! And a crochet hook! All packed up in a pouch! Heavens, someone call the police, I might be a terrorist!

So yeah, I'm not as brave as you. Yet. I love your examples, though, all of them!

moleymakes said...

Oh how that made me laugh. I've knitted on buses before and have had a few strange looks and a few approving glances.

With my iPod stuffed in my ears though I'm usually oblivious to any strange stares. I'm just happy in my own little make believe world till my stop comes up.

pinkundine said...

I particularly love that last one :)

8millionshades said...

I took to knitting on toothpicks when I was traveling through Italy as they are basically super company dpns. I have people chat to me everywhere I went and even if it was in broken english/broken Italian. I realized people from all walks of life have an association with knitting, it often brings back memories of a family member who once knitted for them.

I too have had boys on busses stare at me while using 4 dpns and 2 balls of wool (fairisle armwarmers) in complete disbelief.

8millionshades said...

company=compact

knittedandstashed said...

I read her post and was sad too.

But reading your post made me very happy! I've forwarded a linky to my hubby and told him to read no. 3, and I loved the Ishbel/Monkey comment! And all the others of course :-)

Happymousefairy
x

mutantsupermodel.com said...

Best Post EVER. Love, love, love. :) Drunk guy is awesome.

juicyknits said...

Love your stories.

knittinginatree said...

Oh, what fun KIPing stories. Can I share one? One summer I took a train from Minnesota to Oregon on vacation. Of course there was plenty of time for KIPing. At one point in the ride a young boy about six or seven crept up to me and asked if it would be okay if he helped me knit. I hesitated and then let him knit one stitch. Apparently his mom, who was a few seats away, had taught him how to knit and he wanted to show off his new skill. We were knitting friends for the rest of the journey.

Robin said...

I love those random connections with other knitters when KIP'ing, it makes the world a smaller place. I am a blatant and constant KIP'er and say, who the he&% cares what someone else thinks about your craft? Awesome post, thanks.

sillylittlelady said...

I agree, I love knitting in public because of all the strange looks I get!

mooncalf said...

Lovely post :)

I knew you were from Harry Potter!

sew nancy said...

Love this post.

Vivianne said...

No.5 is the bestest one :)

ANDIGAL said...

I adore this post. I love to KIP and get all kinds of looks and sometimes people ask if they can feel it. My favorites are the Harry Potter comment and the Monkeys. Thank you for sharing, this amde me smile today. :)

Alittlebitsheepish said...

Great KIP stories. I try to KIP, no good stories so far, only one person has ever even commented, and stares I can ignore or just smile at

Tanya said...

I love this post. KIP stories are always so heartening. Kindred spirits are all over.