Knitting in Public

It’s Worldwide Knit in Public Day, and since I love to knit, I went to the Farmers’ Market for a scheduled Knit in Public event.  I put enough quarters in the parking meter to cover nearly three hours and walked to the market with a bag chair over my shoulder, hat (in case of too much sun), long-sleeved shirt (in case it was too cool sitting outside), and my knitting bag.

According to the flier, we were supposed to meet near the fountain. Obviously, I am not very observant because I was unaware of a fountain at the Farmers’ Market, but there it was, a giant urn overflowing with water. Children danced in the concrete basin at the bottom, but where were the knitters? Did I have the wrong time?  No, because I checked and doublechecked time and location before leaving home.  Maybe everyone was on the other side of the Market where people have booths to promote the Monroe County Democratic Party or single-payer health insurance?  A slow walk through there turned up nothing.

Hmm…well, since I am at the Market it seemed like a good idea to buy some strawberries (the last week for them, according to the vendor) and tomatoes to go with all the lettuce we are eating from the garden.

Determined to get my money’s worth out of the parking meter, I returned to the fountain, set up my chair, and began to knit. A string trio played nearby and there was a cool breeze. Other knitters would have been fun, but this was certainly pleasant. The Farmers’ Market is such a sea of humanity…people strolling by with large string bags of organic produce, babies in strollers, dogs straining at their leashes.

When the musicians moved to another spot, I decided to relocate. Reinforced by a cup of coffee, I found a lovely bench near an acoustic folk music group and picked up my needles once again. Today I was making a hot pink chemo cap with a lace pattern. Fortunately, I only needed to pay attention every third and sixth rows, and the rest of the time I could people watch.

“Mind if I sit here with you?” a dark-haired older woman asked. She wore a purple t-shirt and walked with a cane. Some days she makes a loop around the Farmers’ Market while waiting for her sister-in-law to shop, but today she didn’t have the energy. What she lacked in get-up-and-go, she made up for with joie de vivre. Oh that I could be so uninhibited, warm, and outgoing!

“What are you making?” she asked at the beginning of the hour we shared.  As I told her about the chemo caps, she fingered the edge and said “soft.” One question led to the next, and before I knew it, she had asked if I would make one for her, a breast cancer survivor of four years. I told her about my mother, who had breast cancer at eighty, refused chemotherapy, and lived more than a decade longer without a recurrence. And of course I agreed to make her a hat.  Three, actually, including one in hot pink yarn so she could wear it in the Cancer walk next fall.


A man from California also joined us on the bench. As he munched kettle corn (which I had resisted buying), he marveled at how I could knit without looking…and so fast, too. I tried to persuade his daughter that she could learn to knit a hat by watching a You-Tube film.  Maybe she will.

Lots of other people smiled as they passed by, intrigued by what–the color of my yarn? Or my purple HELP the Animals t-shirt with its picture of a pink couch being shredded by nine kitties. “A couch is a terrible thing to waste!”

Who says you have to be in a group to knit in public? I may just try this again.  But right now I want to get busy making my new friend those caps!

About JP in B-town

JP grew up on a sheep farm in northwest Ohio. She learned to knit by the age of ten, and loves the smell of wool. She fell in love with reading, a habit she fed with weekly visits to a nearby Carnegie Public Library. Reading fed her desire to become a writer, and her dream of traveling the world. She resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where she continues to knit and write.
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4 Responses to Knitting in Public

  1. What a nice way to celebrate Flag Day: using yarn to entice your fellow citizens to interact with you. I look forward to reading more of your blog entries!

  2. What a great knitting adventure! Not sure I have the confidence in my knitting to “go public” but now I am considering the possibilities. And, what a great way to make new friends. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dorothy Jean says:

      There’s a great sense of community at the Farmers’ Market…plus there is such diversity that it is rather easy to “blend in.” If you try it, let me know how it goes for you.

  3. Dorothy Jean says:

    In case you wonder who Dorothy Jean is, I’ll write about that in some future post!

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