Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Alternate knitted realities

I had a strange encounter yesterday - well, not an encounter exactly.  I commute into London on the train, and quite often I am knitting.  I never see anyone else knitting, except once, years ago, an elderly lady.

Yesterday I was going in a bit later as I was headed to a training course, so the carriage was fairly empty.  When a 30-ish woman sat down at the end of my three-seat row (one empty seat between us), I didn't take a lot of notice as I was figuring out how to turn the heel of my Two-At-A-Time socks.  But when she also pulled out a sock a few minutes later, my knitting radar went off and I was absolutely delighted.  At last! Another knitter on the train!

However, this was a knitter that seemed determined not to make eye contact.  She had her headphones on, loud enough that I could hear the buzzing over on my seat, and she was determinedly eyes down.  I looked hopefully in her direction intermittently for a few stops, and even sort of waved my sock in her direction a few times.  But no good.  Very deflating.

Then a businessman boarded and sat down in the empty row opposite us.  Is it my imagination, or did he do a doubletake to see two women facing him, both knitting similar objects?  Immediately an entire alternate knitted reality flashed into my mind's eyes, a world where it would be normal to knit on the train.  One where most of the passengers would be working on socks, or jumpers, or have something on their needles. Think of the eye candy! Perhaps people would even chat to each other about their projects, breaking the usual Commuter Glass Bubble of Silence.

Then another woman sat down between the two of us knitting, and my fantasy was broken.  The other knitter got off at Clapham Junction.  I was still watching her hopefully, but she walked past my window without looking back.

Today I was finishing my first Sanquhar Glove, on a train sadly bereft of other knitters.  I was still imagining what it might be like to live in my alternate knitted reality, and meanwhile the standing passengers were packing in like sardines around my seat.  Then I realised that I might feel uncomfortably judged if all these people were in fact knitters.  Imagine 20 people packed in around your seat as you sit knitting, with nothing to do but watch you. They might be thinking: "oh, she's going to be in trouble in a minute - yes, she having to tink back, what did I tell you?", "hmmm, not too sure about those colour choices...", "Doesn't she know a better way to SSK?".

Be careful what you wish for.


Daisy said...

ooh that's weird that she didn't acknowledge you! I ended up knitting with another knitter on the GNER train from Kings Cross once, but she was nice and chatty! We must have really freaked out the people sat near us though!

Mad about Craft said...

What a miserable woman!! I think she's rude not even giving you a smile!

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