Knitting in meetings

Those who know me will attest that I am often seen toting a knitting project. Anytime I’m going to be sitting and listening but probably not taking a lot of notes, I bring my knitting. I knit in critique group. Once, I knitted a hat during a piano concert.

This past Christmastime, I took out my knitting during a theatrical presentation, a feat I admit will probably never be repeated. This was a one-man performance of A Christmas Carol, and it was in the well-lit church hall, not in a dim theater.

Here's me knitting at FWA a couple of years ago. I didn't realize I look so grumpy when I knit. Call it "resting knit face." • Photo by Karen Lieb.

Here’s me knitting at FWA a couple of years ago. I didn’t realize I look so grumpy when I knit. Call it “resting knit face.” • Photo by Karen Lieb.

I have knitted in business meetings, at luncheons, and at both the Florida Writers Association and Florida Christan Writers Conference awards banquets. In fact, at last year’s FCWC, I was in the front row. If keynoter Steven James had a problem with the crazy knitter, he didn’t mention it to me.

All this knitting in odd places was inspired by Perri Klass’s column “Knitting Fantasies” in the Winter 2003 issue of Knitter’s Magazine, about places she’d like to knit but wouldn’t.

Am I the only person who has ever thought about how well knitting would go with religious services? Has anyone ever tried it?
—Perri Klass

I’ve tried it. In fact, I’ve been knitting in church for years.

Knitting at writers’ conferences has its drawbacks. It means I have to plan ahead what project to bring. It needs to be small enough to fit in a reasonable size tote bag, but large enough that I don’t finish before the conference ends. It also needs to be simple enough that I can work on it without thinking too hard, or I’ll miss what’s being said.

At the Florida Writers Association conference last fall, one of the speakers who was leading a day-long workshop said something like, “Whatever you need to do to keep your hands busy and stay focused is fine with me.” Which I was glad to hear, because of course I had the beginnings of a sweater in my bag.

It’s not just that I like to keep my hands busy. Something about the tactile experience really does help me better focus on what’s being said. And if I’ve done a good job of choosing an appropriate project, I won’t loose my place if I put it down to take notes.



About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

4 comments on “Knitting in meetings

  1. At least you accomplish something at boring meetings. Nothing more boring than school musical “performances”. Ugh. I want to bring ear plugs and a book, but I am too afraid of social repercussions and the fact my kid will probably assume from this he can play Nintendo DS in Sunday School or something else wildly inappropriate.

  2. I don’t knit in church, much as I’d like to. Our church is small and I know I’d be severely judged for it. However, I DO knit at church social events and at writers’ conferences. Like you, I spend a lot of time planning my trip knitting!

    • That’s too bad. The only time I felt judged for knitting was in a business meeting, when the person running the meeting just frowned at me and shook her head. I put the knitting away — it was her meeting — and we said no more about it. But that’s never happened in church.

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