But have you ever noticed what happens when you pull out your knitting in public? People start to watch. They probably don't mean to stare, but since they're basically trapped in the same room for a 30 minute period, one can hardly blame them. The braver ones will strike up a conversation (usually beginning with "What are you making?" or "What are you doing?" which is then followed up by "Is it hard?") Of course, I always tell them that "no, knitting isn't hard" and then wish I had a spare pair of needles in my bag to let them try it out.
This afternoon, however, the "watcher" was a teenage girl - she was probably 16 or 17 years old. She watched me knit for quite a while but never actually said a word to me. I was tempted to start a conversation with her since she seemed interested and she and her grandmother were (loudly) discussing the various doctor appointments she would need to attend in the next month. I got the impression that she would have quite a lot of time on her hands in the near future. I can't imagine it would have been that strange - I've gotten used to teaching near-strangers how to knit at the library. That's actually how I named my blog. You see, everyone at the library calls me "Miss Paula" and our library team is a very helpful bunch, so when someone checks out a book on knitting or mentions that they might be interested in learning the craft, invariably someone will say, "Oh, Miss Paula knits! She'll teach you." After a while, "Miss Paula Knits" became the phrase.
Anyway, back to the bored teen at the office. I began thinking to myself that perhaps I needed some sort of button or sign - something that said, "yes, I'm knitting... no, it's not hard...yes, I can teach you" but in a succinct way that allowed us to jump past all of the repetitive questions about what I was doing to pass the time in the allergist's office. I mean, really, I think it's surprising more people don't knit there. The 30 minute mandatory waiting requirement has got to get old after a while, especially if you're passing the time by reading three-month-old magazines. I would think that people would bring something productive to do to keep busy, because if you're getting monthly shots that's 360 minutes wasted every year reading about old celebrity gossip. I'd hate to think what the poor people who have to get weekly shots are doing with their time!
So I've decided - next trip to the allergist I'm going to go armed with an extra pair of needles and a spare ball of yarn. We'll see what happens. Perhaps I'll introduce another person to the world of knitting... or I could look like a nut who carries spare yarn in her bag to hand out to others. But here's a question - after you teach the person how to knit, how do you nicely retrieve your knitting needles? It seems cruel to introduce someone to this wonderful craft and then take away the needles when my 30 minutes is up and I have to go home. Most of my needles (I prefer bamboo) are a little too expensive to give away to strangers. Maybe I should start some sort of knitting needle rescue to collect unwanted needles (if such a thing actually exists - not wanting to keep all of your knitting needles is difficult for me to imagine). So if you have unloved knitting needles at your house, send them my way. I'll be sure to find them a loving home with the next unsuspecting person at the doctor's office who asks about my knitting.