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Crafter Stories: Knitting & Crocheting in Transit

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Crafter Stories: Knitting & Crocheting in Transit

passing time
passing time by ollesvensson, on Flickr

Over the last few months, we’ve been sharing stories from you, our readers, about your experiences knitting and crocheting in public. Today, I want to share a few crafting-in-transit stories that we’ve received:

I almost always crocheted when commuting to work on the Long Island Railroad. One day, the man sitting next to me said, “Wow, I haven’t seen anyone knitting in years!”

I replied, “You still haven’t—I’m crocheting.”
– Hazel in NY

Once I was knitting on the Long Island Rail Road when the conductor took my ticket without saying much. He came back a little while later, however, during a long stretch between stations. This burly guy wanted to show me his crocheting! I kept a straight face and admired his work, which was the kind of lacy doily that used to go on furniture. He must have learned this art at his grandmother’s knee.
– Ellen

I knit just about every day on the Chicago area Metra train. A couple of years ago I boggled my knitting bag on the train, and of course, tipped it upside down. Five waiting-to-be-used DPNs went rolling everywhere. Three young men were doing contortions to collect them from under the seats. For a few minutes I definitely was the live entertainment on that car!
– Janet Chutro

My stepson was just beginning to notice girls, but not old enough for them to notice him, when we took a flight to Kansas one summer. He had been watching me do a project with French knots and (out of boredom) asked to try. He wasn’t more than 10 minutes into the project when stewardesses began to stop and visit with him. He had a steady stream of beautiful young women begin conversations both in the air and on the ground for the whole rest of the trip. He confided that, “Never again” would he go on a trip without some type of needlework!
– swampyshores

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, and you could be included in our next round-up!

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  • hahaha I love those stories! I don’t commute on a train, so I don’t really have stories. But I used to crochet on my lunch breaks at work and people were always asking what I was making this time!

  • I knit on airplanes and find it almost as effective as saying please and Thankyou as eliciting more attention and soda from the flight attendants.

    • I crochet small projects with thread on planes, as I find it a bit easier to manage while traveling than carrying needles and large balls of yarn. Recently, I had my first experience with a TSA agent who took exception to my thread appropriate hook. I pulled out my dog eared copy of TSA regulations to show the agent, smiling as sweetly as possible to diffuse any anxiety on the part of the agent [who’s job it is to protect us, after all]. I asked the agent if I might demonstrate something… I took my slender size 1.75 hook and poked it into the palm of my hand, showing her that it was not sharp and could not penetrate skin. The worst I could do with it, I told her, was snag someone’s sweater. She chuckled and allowed me to pass through security with my benign “weapon”. During the flight, I completed two coasters, without hijacking the plane.

  • I was on the “T” in Boston commuting on the Green line from Park Street to my home. I was knitting a scarf. A young woman who was standing in front of me asked “are oyu doing the purl stitch” I said “yes” then she said “so that’s how its done. I’m a lefty and my grandmother has tried to teach me but I just didn’t get it, now I see” She was basically looking at a mirror image, and was able to figure out how to knit lefty.

  • I don’t commute, but knit when in line, or during time I am waiting. There was a long line at the DMV. I sat down with a sock I was about 2/3 finished with, and started knitting. A few minutes later, a gentleman sat down near by, glanced over, and did a double take. After turning slightly white, he asked, “Just HOW LONG have you been waiting?” Turned out, his wife knits, and he had a good idea about knitting socks…

  • The Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) told a story in her blog once that goes like this:

    August 27, 2008

    An Actual Conversation

    Yesterday afternoon I was knitting on the subway, headed toward Rachel H’s house so that we could go up to the Aurora Guild and drink beer and eat butter tarts speak to the guild. (Good times.) I sat there, going round and round on a sock with four DPNs, and a woman and her son, maybe 7 or eight years old, got on and sat opposite me. The boy watched me for a little bit, and then turned to his mum and said
    “What’s she doing?” The mum looks and me, then turns to him and says, quite confidently
    “She’s crocheting”. I smile at the pair of them, and then I say to the little boy
    “Actually, it’s knitting!”
    …and the mum looks at me, quirks her eyebrow up, and says, in a haughty and reproachful voice:

    “Excuse me… I think I know the difference.”

    Takes all kinds of people, including the wrong, to make the world.

  • I crochet during the long afternoons at this year’s eisteddfodd in our town. I managed about 50 flowers, hearts and other forms like that. It keeps me awake as snoring is frowned upon during the performances. I donate the flowers to a local church for their fete’s handiwork table. The teenagers seem to like using it.

    My daughter has also learned how to crochet as she wants to decide what her flowers will look like. I find it very therapeutic to do it.

  • I always knit or crochet on the bus and at crosswalks on way to my pt job. As the transit service in Las Vegas is poor, I have about 4 hrs a day. I have sparked young girls AND boys interest about each, taught a woman of 80 a new stitch, and discussed many patterns in sign language with European tourists….The looks I get whilst knitting at signal lights waiting to cross make me giggle for hours. Word of warning—don’t finish that stitch until AFTER you’ve crossed… there may be a hidden pothole. Best holiday wishes to all!

  • I park about 3 blocks away from my office everyday to save a little money. I recently purchased one of those artbin yarn drums and realized that I could crochet as I walked from the car to the office and vice versa. The other day I was doing just that when I noticed a lady sitting on a ledge working on something with her hands. When I got closer I realized she was knitting. When she saw my crochet she exclaimed “Muy Bonita!” She pointed at her work and said something that I did not understand but I did realize that she was telling me she was making a had. I was too! It was so funny because though we did not really speak each others language, we both spoke the language of craft and understood each other perfectly!

  • I’ll be traveling soon by air and wondered if an aluminum hook will pass through security.


  • I’m an attorney working in New York City. One December I found myself under the gun to finish a knitted scarf for my father in law in Wales. Time was of the essence: Christmas was a mere ten days away. I knit feverishly behind my closed office door during conference calls, on subway platforms and bus stops. I even knit standing up in crowded subway cars, clinging to the center pole as the car swung back and forth. Every day at least three strangers would stop to ask what I was doing, what I was making, how did I learn to knit…who was the scarf for? After each encounter, I would attach a small note marking the exact row and stitch with the name of the stranger who sent Christmas greetings from the USA to a total stranger in Wales! My father in law loved it! ( Both the scarf and greetings.)

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