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)