Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Normally, I would encourage a new or inexperienced knitter to ask questions of someone experienced. Find out everything you can about the art you love to practice. Then take your new knowledge and go forth into the world, enjoying your new skills and sharing them with others.

I would now like to make an exception to this rule of knitting etiquette. Please do not bother a knitter who is engaged in complicated lace knitting with multiple questions during a seriously difficult row of counting and manipulating stitches.

I would love to say that I can complete XX rows per train trip, but as the Krokus grows exponentially larger, I can barely finish one row during my brief 25 minutes on BART. Therefore, I stop in the middle of the chart row, and have to count back to the stopping point. And I have very little actual knitting time per trip.

Last night, on my way home from work, a friendly woman of about my age sat down next to me on the BART train. I had boarded one stop earlier and ritualistically unfolded my Krokus chart (because it's too large for an 8.5x11 plastic page protector), removed my rubber needle tip protectors, and carefully began counting stitches up to the spot where I had left off in the pattern chart.

This friendly woman, with her hair in tight ponytail and wearing a black Giants baseball jersey, plopped down in the seat next to me and immediately said:

"Wow! Is that knitting? What are you making?

I replied, "It's lace. Yes, it's knitting." I began thinking about the T-shirt I want printed with the standard answers.

"Lace? But what are you making?"

"It's a tablecloth."

"Wow, that's really difficult. I can't do anything like that. I can crochet. Do you want to see the hat I made?" Before I could answer, she began rooting through one of her bags and found a sweet crocheted hat with earflaps.

"Nice. I bet that keeps your ears warm," I smiled and tried to focus on counting stitches from the chart. One, yarnover, knit two together, yarnover, knit two together ...

"It does! I tried to teach my daughter, but she didn't like doing it. She wants me to knit for her! I'm a beginner, but you are doing something hard. How did you learn that? Have you been doing that for a long time?"

"Since I was a child." One, yarnover, knit two together ...

"Me, too! Since I was about five! And you??"

"Me, too." Five ... uh ... one, yarnover ...

"Oh, wow, but you're really good. How can I learn to do that?"

Counting paused now. Needles down. "You can learn from books, or from watching knitting videos or taking a class. Or find a good knitting group."

"Okay, I'll definitely do that."

I took advantage of the momentary pause in conversation and picked up the needles again. I found my spot and started knitting from the chart.

"Hey, what are you doing now? Is that knitting or purling? I think it's knitting."

"It's knitting."

"Okay, oh ... and what's that your doing?"

"Knit two together."

"Okay. Where is that on the chart?"

I point.

"Oh, it's a triangle. What's the circle?"

"It's a yarnover."

"What's that?"

Please ... make it stop.


√úhltje said...

So, I'm not the only one.

Giselle said...

A really incredibly annoying one is when you get asked if it is knitting or crochet you are doing. You answer that it's knitting (lace knitting if they wanted to really know) and you get the answer: 'Oh no it's not, it's crochet, I know that for sure!'

Laritza said...

Been there, done that! How I feel the same. But you have to hand it to her that she knit a crochet hat :)

ginaknits said...

I also commute by BART and absolutely love that sign. (Although I haven't seen it lately, and I'm always tempted to make off with one for my office.) Yes, I also get into those ridiculous conversations - Is that crochet? No, crochet uses a hook, knitting uses two needles. ... But knitting in public also opens the door to people I would not otherwise have met, especially people where we have no common language other than knitting.

JudithH said...

Also annoying: "I think my grandmother used to do that!" But nice: Transit-riders also engaged in a craft who look up and, seeing you at a stopping point, admire . . .

Frankenoid said...

There is another way.

I have 3 cats, 2 kids (one with autism, one with ADHD) and a husband. I'm constantly interrupted.

Stitch markers are your friends. I buy neon colored orthodontic elastics in bulk, and mark everything -- not just the start of a round and pattern repeat, but all the little motifs going on within a pattern repeat.

By the time I was at the end of Goldregen, I had a dozen markers within each pattern repeat.

With the markers, it's easy to see exactly where you are in any given section.