Is It Rude to Knit or Crochet in Public?

October 08, 2019 4 min read 0 Comments

Is It Rude to Knit or Crochet in Public?

Have you ever been in public and had the passing thought of, “Is it rude that I’m knitting right now?” 

Chances are, the thought didn’t occur to you while you were home alone watching TV or sitting on a park bench. But, maybe you were crocheting while waiting for a movie to start, or sitting through a community meeting, or on a crowded train, and someone gave you a look, or worse, several “looks.”  You may have been flat out reprimanded at some sort of gathering or function because someone else believed the answer was yes, it’s rude, and you needed to know how they felt about it. 

As people of the world, we can likely agree that we wouldn’t pull out a project in the middle of a wedding or a funeral, or dinner with family (though maybe you would, and hey, we’re not judging). 

But there is so much grey area out there that it warrants the question—what about when you’re “with company” or at a non-yarn specific gathering? 

Is it rude to knit or crochet in public? 

Firstly, we know that knitting actually helps us stay more present in a social situation that might otherwise make us nervous or anxious, so while it looks like we're distracting ourselves, we’re actually further grounding ourself into the present moment. But because other people may not know that, we run into some debate.

After crowd sourcing some feedback, it turns out that the majority of us feel it’s no worse than texting or using our phones in public. In fact, it's even less of an offense, because at least we can still watch and listen to what’s happening around or in front of us. In other words, it’s not as disengaging.

We've crocheted or knit at our kid’s swimming lessons and birthday parties, at the beach, during lectures and in waiting rooms. Often, we actually get compliments when needle-crafting in public—lots of curious looks, or comments on how the onlooker used to knit or crochet and should take it up again. 

Even in the workplace, some of our bosses don’t even mind if we knit during meetings, but will give us a head’s up if a super-head-honcho is coming in, one who might not be as in-the-loop (no pun intended) about our ability to multi-task. 

There are, of course, the kids who are embarrassed by pretty much everything we do anyway—one woman’s daughter said she thinks it’s rude even if they’re just sitting and watching TV together. “I told her don't talk to me if it bothers her.” Sounds good to us. 

However, there is the matter of nosy other parents—one woman, an activities director at her child’s school, dealt with a parent carrying on about how she “dared” to knit during the kid’s sports game.

This is where we enter the issue of “Does it look like I'm not paying attention when I should be?” Typically, this comes up when we're part of an “audience” of some sort. 

The majority of people agree on certain group situations where people have gathered to watch and listen to something specific, say, a performance in a theater, or a wedding, where it's probably best to put the needles down. If even the mere perception of not giving your full attention to what's going on affects the spirit of the moment when you should be reflective, attentive, and keep the mood solemn, use your best judgement. 

And, while we may not realize it, our knitting and crocheting could be a distraction to someone else—the sound, the movement—and we don’t want to inhibit someone else’s ability to pay attention, so it's important to be mindful of the people around us. (Tip: most bamboo needles don’t make noise!) 

Church has been a hot topic in the Facebook groups for some time. Is it rude to knit or crochet there? Some people say it’s a no-go there, that people have told them it’s “God’s time.” One woman said that back in the day, her grandmother told her that every stitch she knit on Sunday would have to be taken out with her nose when she got to heaven. Yikes! Another woman left a church never to return again after a woman scolded her for working on a project. However, yet another woman said her Pastor loved that she knit and is trying to get a “fidget basket” program going for other members of the congregation.

When it comes to family time, people are also split. People have gotten the rare disapproving comment from their in-laws or even their spouse, again claiming that it’s taking attention away from them. 

One woman said that her father finds the sound of the needles distracting while he’s driving, so that’s the only time she doesn’t knit. 

That leads us to the real, ultimate answer here: 

There is no right or wrong. 

There is no yes or no. There is only us sharing our experiences and using our best judgement. If you can’t sit through a 12-step meeting or a plane ride without your knitting, take it with you, and just be mindful that you're not elbowing the person next to you. 

We all have a pretty good gauge (again, no pun intended) of when something is or isn’t appropriate, and if we look deeply enough, we can tell whether we’re self-conscious about what other people think for no good reason, or, if our gut is saying, after taking the temperature of the room, that it’s best to hold off.

And hey, everything is relative...one woman said that when she dies, she literally wants everyone at her funeral to beknitting or crocheting. “I want lively music and dancing and lots of fun happening. If my loved ones love me as much as I have loved them, then they WILL bring their knitting and crochet and celebrate my life by celebrating theirs.”



Also in Zen News

Tips to Improve Your Knitting
7 Tips to Improve Your Knitting Today

July 21, 2021 3 min read 0 Comments

Maybe you have been knitting for 10 years or 10 days- either way, there is opportunity for everyone to take their knitting to the next level. Every knitter has sticking points that could be improved. 
Read More
Knit with circular knitting needles
How to Knit with Circular Knitting Needles

July 09, 2021 3 min read 0 Comments

If you have noticed that most knitting patterns assume that you know how to knit with circular knitting needles, you may be a bit intimidated to get started. Circular knitting needles are so much fun to knit with and they allow you to make bags, sweaters, and other garments without seams. While flat needles are great for knitting two-dimensional garments, circular needles allow you to knit round tubes. 
Read More
use color theory to pair yarn
How to Use Color Theory to Pair Yarn

June 28, 2021 3 min read 0 Comments

Our miraculous eyes can interpret light waves in nearly 3 million different colors that help us to see the world. These colors have both a conscious and subconscious effect on us and influence our perceptions, symmetry, mood, and whether we categorize an object as beautiful- or not. An important part of knitting is selecting perfect, complimentary yarn colors that produce the end result we hope for. It can be tricky to pair yarn for a project and we are here to help.
Read More

Subscribe