Thursday, August 4, 2011

Miss Manners and Knitting in Public

This is reprinted from the Washington Post website from July 30, 2011:

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.

Visit Miss Manners at her Web site,, where you can send her your questions.

I couldn't agree more.  Knit where you like.  As long as your ball of yarn isn't getting tangled in other people's belongings or feet, chairs, etc. it's fine, and encouraged.  I've even been told by passersby when I'm knitting in public that they find it soothing.  It reminds them of relatives, sometimes from a very long time ago.   

If you are a "noisy" knitter (although I've never met one), don't knit in places that are meant to be quiet. 


CALosi said...

I want to knit at mass! I bring my knitting everywhere, to parties, concerts, lectures... Anywhere there is light and I have to sit. I have been dying to bring it to mass, but have not. I can't decide if it will enable me to meditate on the prayers, etc., or interfere. So, I am erring on the side of caution.

Liz Marino said...

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt weighed in on this during WWII (when knitting was advertised as a patiotic duty), and indicated that she thought it would be a direspectful distraction to those around you to knit "in a house of God". I would proceed with caution, as distracting those relating to their God is inappropriate. If there is a "Cry Room" for upset babies or active children, that might be the place. Let us know what happens!

CALosi said...

I will probably never do it, but I often think of knitting as a time to reflect and meditate (especially if the pattern is repetitive and easy). It is a bit like saying the Rosary, but of course, not really. I just loved your post because I ALWAYS knit in public =)

Linnetknits said...

A number of people knit in our (Episcopal) church services. Some of them are members of the Prayer Shawl ministry, but certainly not all. The choir is particularly known for having knitters among its members (especially altos, for whatever reason!). During coffee hour, after the service, people often ask me about whatever I'm working on; no one seems to mind at all.