I'm talking about crafting in public, I have a crochet hook in my bag at all times and I'm not generally afraid to use it. However, it occasionally provokes some strong reactions, so when is it OK to whip out a bit of knitting or crochet? Are there social conventions I'm not aware of?
I started to think about this the other day, I was copied into a comment thread on Facebook. It went a bit like this:
- I'm in a seminar and whilst the speaker is talking I can see a lady in front of me knitting/crocheting!
- Wow, that's a bit cheeky.
- If I was the speaker that would really put me off!
- So she's not even paying attention!
- I can see her too!
- Is it Jacq? (this is the point I got copied in by my bestest friend - who staggeringly can knit with her eyes closed, blows my mind!)
What I didn't say, because my politeness gene does sometimes kick in, was I bet the lady knitting/crocheting (why can't people tell the difference? I don't much care for sport but I can distinguish between football and rugby!) was paying more attention than the attendees posting on Facebook ... And I've been fuming with myself ever since for not making that point and defending that anonymous crafter more robustly. Especially as it was a conference for educational professionals - I'd hope there would be some understanding of kinaesthetic learners :(
So forward wind to this week and it's still bothering me. I'm in the handover period between my old and new jobs and attended a Conference in London on Monday with my new boss. I've got a little crochet project in my giant work bag. I happily did some on the train, most people don't comment at all and, if they do, I've generally found it to be along the lines of "oh that reminds me of my Gran", which I think is lovely.
But I restrained myself at the actual Conference, I'm still in my handover period and wanting to make a good impression. I'd met lots of new people and was really focussed on taking in new information. I spent the morning taking copious notes. But in the afternoon session I would actually have listened better if I'd crocheted. And I looked round the room at people tapping away on iPhones, iPads and laptops and wondered how many were taking notes and how many were catching up with Facebook or writing their shopping list.
Would you be offended if you were a speaker and somebody started to knit or crochet? I've delivered lots of training, it wouldn't bother me at all although I don't tend to go for the 'stand at the front and talk' method of training so there wouldn't be much crafting time. Interestingly I know trainers who get irritated if delegates eat snacks too. That doesn't bother me either, a hungry person is not paying attention. Perhaps I'm just more tolerant than I thought!
I know when I get settled in my new role I'm going to get to a point where I'm going to need to decide to just do it, this is who I am. Perhaps I start small at a little internal meeting and see how it goes. I spoke to some colleagues and one of the young men in the office (not a crafter) said "you're always juggling several things at once, passing me notes with the answer to questions I have when you're on the phone dealing with something else. Why wouldn't you be able to crochet as well?". I quite liked that, I might make myself a badge!