For the last couple of years most of my plain sock knitting (i.e. ribbed socks, for me, since I like the way they fit and they require just a smidge more attention than plain stockinette) has been at the movie theatre. I often use them for transit knitting as well but actually now much of my transit knitting has shifted towards pieces of other larger items (sweater sleeves, for example, or shawls while working portions with simpler stitch patterns) which means socks have been relegated largely to the movie theatre. Someone asked last post to hear more about that, this whole concept of knitting at the movies – and often when I do mention that in passing someone does want to know how I do it.
I suppose it is one of those things that comes very easily to knitters who are used to knitting while doing other things. Since very early on in my knitting life I’ve worked on projects while in front of the television, and I think a lot of other knitters can chime in there, too. It’s actually gotten to be such a normal habit to me that if I do not have knitting, or am having an off-day to let my hands and arms rest after a period of heavy knitting, then it takes a bit of time to get used to the idea of not knitting while in front of the television. It makes the time both leisurely and productive at the same time, which is pretty great.
It is true, though, that much of that time isn’t dedicated to staring at the screen. Particularly if you’re reading charts or have to examine your work every few rows to check progress or measure things, you may find yourself missing salient details. (Often during season premiere or season finale episodes that are particularly dramatic and tense, I’ll drop the knitting except during commercials. I mean, sometimes a fangirl has to do what a fangirl has to do.)
I know other folks who routinely knit while they do other things, and if you’re not a person who knits while watching television, I’m willing to bet you probably practice knitting as you wait for an appointment, in breaks while preparing dinner, while listening to the radio or podcasts, while attending classes or lectures, perhaps committee meetings or volunteer staff meetings, or other activities that allow you to be stationary. (Admittedly when this starts to blend into group scenarios one often has to take a bit of a read on the social situation – nothing is quite so aggravating as people thinking knitting means you have checked out.) In general I think knitting “as you” do something else is actually a pretty good thing. I know from my own experience that knitting helps siphon off some of that twitchy brain activity that makes your mind wander and helps you pay more attention to whats happening around you.
As a result, I know that if I have a simple knitting in my lap while sitting in a photography class or watching a television show, I can later look at that finished garment and remember what shows I watched while knitting it, or what class I was sitting in. I like that it helps me get knitting done but also help me to use my brain to think about other things that I’m paying attention to. On the surface it might seem like it really shouldn’t work at all, but it does, which is pretty great.
So really, if you can do any of those kind of things while knitting, the only thing standing between you and knitting while sitting in a dark movie theatre, is believing that your hands know what they’re doing. You might not want to bring something that requires continuous consultation or chart-reading, naturally. But plain stockinette or ribbing is something that your hands can figure out on their own, and it is good training for helping you to recognize errors in a tactile way rather than just a visual way. Your fingers can tell pretty quickly if you messed up the ribbing and purled where you should have knitted. I really think that knitting at the movies makes you a better knitter in the long run, and if you can enjoy a movie while still getting part of a sock knitted? Well, that’s basically the dream.
Happy middle of the week! Have you done any “as you” knitting today?