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KevinG
New Pal

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2006 :  07:25:27 AM  Show Profile Send KevinG a Private Message
So I'm on a commuter train yesterday and a young guy (maybe 22 years old?) sitting behind me is having a cell phone conversation with someone whom I assume to have been his girlfriend. Normally I cannot abide hearing others' cell phone conversations, and this one sounded as inane as most, at least at first. My ears perked up, however, when I heard him say that he "forgot how to knit" and was trying to remember. Seems a friend had taught him last December and he wanted to knit her a scarf for her graduation, but he'd forgotten some of how to do it and didn't want to ask said teacher/friend about it lest he spoil the surprise nature of the intended gift.

So after he ends the conversation I hear the tell-tale clicking of needles behind me and realize that he's fumbling with needles and yarn, trying to get himself to remember what he'd been taught. I'm sitting there with my own knitting in my hands thinking, "I REALLY ought to try to help this guy! But what if he takes exception to the fact that I was listening in on his phone conversation?" Then I remembered that he DID have it in a public space, and one cannot assume privacy if one does that. "What if he's embarassed about having attention focused on his knitting?" Then I remembered that he had just had a public phone conversation about it and had pulled out his yarn and needles ON A COMMUTER TRAIN, a move which I know from experience is going to attract attention, even if it sometimes goes unacknowledged. "What if he's got that stereotypical guy thing going on, and doesn't want to accept help from another guy?" Well, to hell with that, I thought, I'm not gonna let that possibility get in the way of my offering help. So, overcoming my own shyness, I turned around in my seat to offer him help -- it turned out that he remembered his knit stitches, what he'd forgotten how to do was cast on. We commiserated about how frustrating this can be, I showed him what to do, and he was off and running. He was very friendly, open and appreciative of the help. The whole interaction was low-key and easy.

Moral: perhaps we (maybe it's just me, but I don't think so) unnecessarily over-think things when it comes to men knitting. Perhaps as a young generation of people, both male and female, moves into adulthood experiencing a wider-than-ever array of "activities-considered-compatible-with-my-gender-role" available to it, the fact of a guy knowing how to knit is not such a big deal. I'd certainly be happy if this was the case, and I know that such things come about through the efforts of some to expand the horizons of others -- i.e., all you knitters out there who have worked to impress upon boys and girls, women and men, that knitting is a fun and acceptable pastime for EVERYONE, regardless of gender. So thank you all for your efforts (I try to do my part via just knitting publicly). They could be paying off.

-Kevin

P.S. - The REAL triumph will be when a generation comes along that sees the differential between women's and men's pay scales for the insulting absurdity that it is, and establishes equal pay for equal work!

Sharyn
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
418 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2006 :  11:20:43 AM  Show Profile Send Sharyn a Private Message
When I read this, my first thought was that the guy purposely made that call to discuss his knitting - in hopes that you would over hear and offer to help!

Kudos to you for getting him started. I think that knitters in general, whether male or female, like to share their knitting, offer and give help, and are always curious about what the other person is making.

If I see a knitter in public, and the opportunity is there, I always ask "whatcha making?" So, you could have always started the conversation there -
Sharyn
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KevinG
New Pal

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2006 :  11:35:17 AM  Show Profile Send KevinG a Private Message
Sharyn,

I might have suspected something similar about the call except for the fact that the arrangement of the seats meant that he couldn't see that I was knitting.

I often want to strike up conversation with other knitters, but often do not -- sometimes due to feeling shy myself, sometimes due to wanting to give people their space and not intrude upon them (very important in NYC with people crowded together as we are).

Of course, I know that when I knit in public that it's a conversation starter, and whenever I pull my knitting out on the subway or commuter train, I am prepared for the fact that someone may strike up conversation with me over it. Occasionally I've used my knitting as a lure -- I was at a work-related conference once, and was feeling quite alone, so I sat down in a heavily trafficked public spot and started knitting, knowing that any other knitters around would find me pretty quickly. And sure enough...

-Kevin
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Knitrageous
Permanent Resident

USA
1445 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2006 :  12:34:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit Knitrageous's Homepage Send Knitrageous a Private Message
Good for you for helping him Kevin!

I sit at airports a lot and usually knit. I get a lot of "watchers" and usually someone asks about it.

~~~~Jamye

I don't have a problem with authority, I just have a problem with people telling me what to do.
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mwyn
Permanent Resident

USA
1419 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2006 :  1:34:23 PM  Show Profile Send mwyn a Private Message
What a wonderful story :}. Before I got to the end of it I was thinking exactly what you ended up saying. Sometimes we over think. Glad you went for it.

mwyn

One who works with his hands is a laborer. With hands & head; a craftsman. With hands, head & heart an artist. (Paraphrase St. Francis of Assissi)
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ilustren
Warming Up

Canada
79 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2006 :  5:28:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit ilustren's Homepage Send ilustren a Private Message
I'll remember not to overthink next time I'm in a similar situation. Been knitting in public for a few weeks now and only get stares. No one has come to chat yet. Sniff. I would love to engage in conversation.



Charles
Welland, Ontario
Blog: http://jigraknits.livejournal.com/
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Chemcats
Permanent Resident

3337 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2006 :  05:22:01 AM  Show Profile Send Chemcats a Private Message
You are so right Kevin. And if they get a bit funny when you offer...it's their loss.

Meribeth
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sarakate
Seriously Hooked

USA
818 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2006 :  05:59:42 AM  Show Profile Send sarakate a Private Message
Charles, it may not have anything to do with your being a male knitter; I knit in public all the time, and while I draw lots of observers, only fairly rarely does someone strike up a conversation about it. They're often lovely conversations when they do happen, though. I once taught an impromptu lesson on Continental purling in an airport!
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Momma78239
Permanent Resident

USA
4859 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2006 :  08:18:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit Momma78239's Homepage  Send Momma78239 a Yahoo! Message Send Momma78239 a Private Message
I think it that attracting conversation rather than just stares also has to do with your own facial expression. If you're concentrating quite hard on your knitting with your brow furrowed and your tongue at the corner of your mouth, most people are going to leave you alone, not wanting to disturb your concentration. Even if you're mostly just looking down at the knitting, most people will not want to bother you. However, if you glance up, smile, and make eye contact every now then, you will find that people will start saying hello. And if you want a conversation, why not say hello yourself to one of the starers? They're obviously interested. Just asking, "do you knit, too?" can start a whole conversation.

-WendyM[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v632/Momma78239/smallspindlepic.gif[/IMG]
And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. Exodus 35:25
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ilustren
Warming Up

Canada
79 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2006 :  6:35:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit ilustren's Homepage Send ilustren a Private Message
Wendy:
Good advice. It probably didn't help that the latest public knitting venue was a baseball game, so I was at a stitch and pitch on my own. Everybody was more intent on the game than those around them. I'll remember to look up and smile. :)



Charles
Welland, Ontario
Blog: http://jigraknits.livejournal.com/
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highdesertrose
Gabber Extraordinaire

Malta
544 Posts

Posted - 06/28/2006 :  11:08:39 AM  Show Profile Send highdesertrose a Private Message
Good for you, Kevin!

~Rena~
Making and wearing handknit socks just makes the world that much more interesting.
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KevinG
New Pal

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2006 :  07:58:21 AM  Show Profile Send KevinG a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ilustren

Wendy:
Good advice. It probably didn't help that the latest public knitting venue was a baseball game, so I was at a stitch and pitch on my own. Everybody was more intent on the game than those around them. I'll remember to look up and smile. :)



Charles
Welland, Ontario
Blog: http://jigraknits.livejournal.com/



Charles,
Wow. I went to a Mets game recently (they won, thank goodness) and contemplated taking my knitting, but I ultimately did not because it just seemed too out of place -- and also I didn't want to have to worry about juggling it with my peanuts and beer, or hanging on to it while jumping up and carrying on during those key plays where one is compelled to jump up and carry on (home runs, terrible umpire calls, etc.). How did you manage it?
-Kevin
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