"Knitting In Public Day" always seems very odd to me, as it wouldn't occur to me not to knit in public. I take my knitting everywhere, and I knit at restaurants and in cars and while on tours (really! I did that today). The most common place someone will ask me about my knitting is at restaurants; invariably the waiter or waitress will ask what I'm doing, if they have absolutely no idea what knitting looks like, or what I'm knitting if they're more familiar with yarncrafts.
I was relieved when I saw a quote from the Yarn Harlot (and now I can't remember where I saw it; perhaps on her page-a-day calendar!) saying something to the effect of "No matter how big a sock you're knitting, people will always ask if it's a baby sock." I was once knitting a sock for Grant in navy blue, and when I told the waiter who'd asked that I was knitting a sock, he replied, "Oh, a baby's sock," as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. I boggled at him. This was eight inches of ribbing and a turned heel the size of an adult man's foot. A not-too-small adult man's foot. What baby has feet like that? But apparently people are just crazy, and assume that all knitting is for babies or something. It wasn't just me!
Lace mystifies people, but most people take it in stride once I tell them I'm making a lace shawl. Now that Erica's Shawl is big enough, I can hold it up and people see what I'm talking about. They do ooh and ahh quite a bit — and deservedly so; the yarn is lovely and the pattern is clear even before blocking — but most people just get it and don't keep at me about it.
(It's about twice that long now, and I seem to have finally begun to make a dent in the yarn.)
Today's waiter was… a little more aggressive. He said it looked like I was almost done — dude, I have a foot and a half of shawl! I said no — it was barely started, and it'll be six feet long (I hope) before it's done. I held up the ball of yarn I was working with.
Waiter: How many of those will it take to be six feet long?
Me: Just the one.
Me: *smugly* That's why it makes such great vacation knitting — it packs up really small.
Waiter: *grabs bag of yarn, gauges weight* *to my UTTER SHOCK AND HORROR, attempts to GRAB NEEDLES OUT OF MY HANDS to feel weight of shawl*
Me: AUGHN NO NO NO NO STOP!!!
Waiter: *still pulling, oblivious to fact that I am in the MIDDLE OF THE ROW* Oh, I just–
Me: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! STOP! *tries to keep stitches on needles, grabs back*
Waiter: *finally lets go* Oh, I was just trying to see…
Me: *desperately checking needles and praying I haven't lost hours of work — guess who doesn't work with lifelines?* I need to take care of this now.
Waiter: Oh! Sorry! Sorry! *departs*
Grant: Ack, sorry about that.
Me: Whew. Didn't lose any stitches. Sheesh!
What on earth do you guys do when that happens to you? Does that sort of thing happen? I tell you what: I have shown off lace shawls to many people, and nobody has ever attempted to yank knitting out of my hands before! (The waiter was very lucky Grant tends to pay for meals, I'll say that.)
It's strange to be an introvert who does such attention-getting things. Knitting garners a lot of attention. Reading on my Kindle garners a bit of attention. People see me doing unusual things and get really excited and interested in them. I don't mind explaining it, and I don't mind answering a few polite questions about my knitting. But holy cats! Just because I'm showing you my lace does not mean you can grab my needles out of my hands! Crazy! o_O
Tomorrow I'm going on a trip to the summit of Mauna Kea, where there will be stargazing. The trip's a long one, so I plan to bring my knitting. I'm not sure how much attention I'll get, but I do know I'm not going to let anyone close enough to grab my needles. It had never occurred to me I needed to keep a close grip on them before — no one's ever done that before — but now I know.
So what it is you guys do when people ask you about your knitting? What would you do if someone tried to grab your needles out of your hands? How do you answer people who are just saying crazy stuff, like asking if your gigantosock is for a baby or insisting that you're crocheting when you're knitting on five dpns?