Monday, August 01, 2011

to knit in public or to not knit in public?

This was in the Washington Post over the weekend and got me thinking. I don't knit at church, concerts (it's usually rock, so dancing and grooving don't mix w/ knitting) or at parties. I do knit if I'm alone in public, waiting for a friend to arrive. Or at the doctor's office. Or on public transit.

How about you? Where do you knit?

DEAR MISS MANNERS:Over the years I have noticed people knitting in public and have had no particular problem with it. However, I am a bit put off by those who knit in church or at an event such as a recital or concert.

Is it acceptable to knit at a church, synagogue or other religious service? And what about a concert or recital? I recently attended a piano and violin recital in a small venue where someone was knitting in the third row. Surely it was evident to the performers. And if such knitting is not appropriate, how should the knitters be approached, or prevented?

GENTLE READER: Please do not -- repeat, not -- make a hostile approach to knitters. Have you not noticed that they are armed with long, pointy sticks?

Of all the multitaskers who could annoy you, Miss Manners would not have guessed that knitters would top the list. There is a centuries-long history of ladies quietly doing needlework while remaining alert to what was going on around them.

But perhaps your complaint is that they are not quiet. If the clicking of needles is what bothers you, you could appeal to the authorities at church or concert hall that as they ban texting, it is only fair to ban activities that create similar noise. And if they don’t already ban texting, you might start by asking that they do before going after those comparatively unobtrusive knitters.


  1. I don't knit during church service, but I did knit at church while waiting for my children at VBS ... and I do knit while waiting in a doctor's office. I knit at my niece's HS graduation. I am still paying attention, and my needles are quiet, so who could be bothered?? LOL

  2. I did plenty of knitting in public recently and can tell you people do notice. I would never knit in church or at a meeting where someone is giving me their full attention (like a parent teacher conference). I will knit just about anywhere else. If I am bothering someone I don't think I'd mind them saying something as long as they were respectful.

  3. I'm glad Miss Manners is on OUR side. I knit all over the place in public, including school concerts and performances, graduations, at the doctor's office, on public transportation, and at parties - especially when other knitters are there, but definitely not in church.

  4. Cheers for Miss Manners.

  5. I completely agree with this assessment. I am one of those people who always has to have something to do with their hands. As a result, I often got in trouble throughout school for doodling, and now as an adult I get odd looks for knitting. But it helps me focus! It's also a breath of fresh air compared to tapping my fingers on the table or clicking a pen, which is what I would likely be doing otherwise...

  6. :) Miss Manners has a friend in the knitting community!