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Crafting in Public

International Knit in Public Day - Saturday, June 8th, 2019. This was the first year, that I truly celebrated the occasion. I had somewhere to be, something to knit, and the "zero fucks given" attitude to deal with people looking at me all day.

My sister had a 5K race on Spectacle Island in Boston that day and my family tagged along to cheer her on. It's a ferry ride from the Long Wharf in Boston (and worth the trip if any of you haven't been and live in the area). It used to be a big landfill, and then became the dump site for all the Big Dig soil, and now is a beautiful park with great views of the harbor and walks on the ocean - anyway - I was there for this.

I brought my Marettimo sweater tee with me to knit, since I was on the back and it was straight stockinette from several inches, so I didn't have to worry about messing up the pattern.

It was super hot, and we spent most of the race under a tree, but it was a great spot to watch the race. My brother-in-law took this photo of me "knitting in public" as evidence with racers going by.

A few years ago, I would have never gone in public to knit. Maybe it was because it was weird enough to be in your early 20's and knitting, maybe I just didn't want to draw attention to myself (by the way, it 100% does), or maybe I was just so tired of being watched when I was crafting.

You see, I learned to craft - in public. Yup, my first time on a spinning wheel, the first scarf I knit, the first pillow-case I embroidered was all while people (strangers) watched (actually stared) - at me. You're thinking, what the hell kind of childhood did you have? It's OK, there is a totally reasonable explanation.

My summer job was at a living history museum, where we dressed up, demonstrated "old time-y" crafts, and answered a smattering of asinine questions from visitors that made me question the public school system.

It was there, at age 15, that I learned how to spin.I got a quick overview from a co-worker and then was left to figure it out on my own. I spent those first few days struggling with my wheel as visitors asked me questions like - "Why wasn't it working?" "What are you doing wrong?" "How is it suppose to work?" Seriously, did it look like I knew?

Later it turned into, "Hey, when is my sweater gonna be ready?" Or "Is that my size?" Or "Can you make that in blue?" Or "Aren't you an industrious little girl?" These were exclusively older men (I'm looking at you Baby Boomers!) taking an already weird situation and making it worse. I'm not going to even bother addressing the creepiness of these interactions or why their wives just giggled nervously at the inappropriate comments because well, fuck, #metoo and I know you get it. But even without that, it just wasn't fun to be watched.

Anyway, you can imagine I wasn't super psyched to pull out my knitting needles in public for awhile. But at some point, I just did it. And you know what? Outside of the bizarre world of living history museums, people don't really care. Some people will look, or comment quickly, "that looks relaxing" or "very pretty," but nothing more. They are almost always neutral or positive interactions.

Because, really - what's so weird about me knitting in a cafe, or a bus stop, or anywhere else, when the guy next to me is glued to his phone playing a game where the entire premise is matching sparkly candy pieces?

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