You guys know that I’m a daily transit commuter, and that gives me roughly five hours every week in which I am just sitting on the train. Twenty hours a month! That’s a lot of knitting time, and I rarely board the train without a WIP (or two) in hand.
I’ve learned a few things over the years of knitting in public (KIP), most of which have made me a better (and more efficient) public knitter. Here are my top three.
1. Circular needles are the only way to go. You can’t drop one under your seat, it’s rare to break one, projects almost never fall off the needles in my bag, and they don’t infringe on my seatmate’s personal space. Nobody likes getting jabbed with a pointy stick, least of all while on your way to work.
2. Keep it simple. Leave the charts and cable needles and stitch holders at home. You gotta be able to just grab your bag and go, or move out of the way at a moment’s notice. It’s not practical to balance a lace chart on your lap and try to count stitches on a moving bus. I only take simple projects for which I don’t need to do more than glance at a pattern.
3. Control the knitting. The bus is not the place to drag out that queen sized afghan, and if you have to wrangle large amounts of fabric every couple of minutes, everyone is apt to get annoyed.
I usually take hats and socks because they fulfill all three of those tips. Here’s what that looks like in action:
Socks, on a circular needle, in a simple pattern that I can do with minimal reminders. Well contained on my own lap. No stabbing of my seatmate. Easy to work on while catching up on my podcast subscriptions.
These are getting a little tall and floppy, and I was finding myself having to use larger arm motions each time I flipped the socks, so to control them a bit I tuck the toes up inside like a cuff.
I also tuck in the heel, since these are short row heels. This doesn’t work with heel flaps of course.
Which leaves me with two compact and easily controlled sock stubs, still easy to drop into my bag when the train gets to my stop.
Plus, they are less recognizable as socks, which is a good conversation starter if my seatmate is the curious sort and I’m out of podcasts.