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Knitting in Public: 12 of The Wonderfully Odd Places I’ve Stitched

I started knitting in my first semester of law school, and I’ve been knitting (and knitting in public) ever since. One of the comments I get from a lot of people is something along the lines of, “How do you find time to knit? I’m too busy working!”

A softly variegated pink sock in progress sits on a table in front of a window at the airport in Portland, Oregon. I knit these socks while waiting for my flight home from Rose City Yarn Crawl 2023.

Well, my friends, here is a super-important, secret tip: knitting is highly portable and virtually silent. You can take it all over the place! And you don’t have to wait for World Wide Knit In Public Day to do it, either.

Here are some of the places I’ve knit while studying, practicing law, wrangling my kid, and now working as a designer:

1. Public transit. It turns out that sitting on the subway or the bus is a great time to get some stitching in. You can’t really do work in those environments if your work is sensitive or confidential, and it’s not usually enough time to settle in for a good study session. It is, however, enough time to knit a few rows.

2. The library. Know what your brain needs while you’re studying hard? A break every now and then. Stretch your legs, drink some water, knit a few rows, and get back to it. You’ll feel better having little rest periods built in to your study routine.

3. The lunchroom. Eating lunch alone at your desk every day isn’t great for your mental health, and dining out every day generally isn’t great for your physical health. Back when I still worked in an office, I liked to strike a happy balance by eating some of my lunches in the lunchroom, where I had plenty of company and usually had time to stitch a bit before getting back to work. 

4. After-work meetings. The great thing about extracurriculars is that you’re all volunteers. So long as you’re engaged in the meeting, people tend not to mind if you’re knitting in public while planning your next charitable event with your committee.

5. My desk. See my point above about knitting being virtually silent. It’s a helpful tool when I’m in a long Zoom meeting. I need to stay focused but tend to get fidgety, and if left to my own devices, I end up shredding paper or scrolling around on my phone. Knitting at my desk during calls and meetings lets me keep my hands moving and my mind focused on what really matters – the conversation.

6. Traveling. When I was a very junior lawyer, I had a scare when I pulled out a binder to do some document review during a flight, and the man across the aisle recognized my client’s name on the cover. From then on, I refused to do work on planes or in other close spaces with other people. It’s just too risky. Knitting, though, divulges no secrets and betrays no confidences. Most US-based flights will let you bring your knitting on board with no problem.

7. Standing in line. This one might be a slightly more advanced maneuver, but if you’ve got a ball of yarn and a small project in your shoulder bag, it turns out you can knit while standing. I’ve worked on a sock while waiting to pay for my groceries, and I’ve stood in line at the county fair while stitching along on a shawl. Heck, I’ve even knit while standing in line at Disneyland. Here’s photographic proof:

A blonde, white woman in her late 30s stands in front of the Small World ride at Disneyland. She’s wearing cream jeans, a Cinderella tshirt, and a black baseball cap, and she’s grinning at the camera. In her hands is a blue knit tshirt in progress.

8. The beach. Look, you probably don’t want to take a super fluffy, single-ply, bulky-weight wool to the beach. Anything else, though, is fair game. I love stitching near the ocean, enjoying the breeze, and listening to the birds. Knitting in public in unusual places will sometimes lead to interesting encounters, too.

9. The playground. Life with an elementary schooler means I’ve spent a lot of time at park play dates. Thankfully, a sock project fits nicely in my bag along with some snacks and a bottle of sunscreen. No need to spend the afternoon frustrated that I’m not being more productive.

10. My car. Now, let’s be very clear: I don’t knit while driving. I do, however, knit whenever I’m in the car and I’m not driving. That could be when I’m parked at school waiting for my kid to get out. It could be when I’m the passenger on a long road trip. It could be when I’m sitting in my car warming up after a morning spent in a building with the AC cranked too high (just me?).

11. Museums. I’ve always been a little surprised that museums are fine with me bringing in my knitting needles, but they’ve never even blinked at the contents of my bag. I love to knit in quiet corners where I can soak up some artistic inspiration. When visiting especially big museums, I also sometimes need a little break, so having my knitting on hand can be a good way to reset my brain before I explore a new wing. Here’s a blurry old photo of me knitting at the Smithsonian way back in 2009:

A white woman in her mid-20s sits next to a statute of another woman in an exhibit at the Smithsonian. The statue is wearing mid-20th century clothing and a cheery hat. The human woman is knitting.

Bonus: My high school reunion. This isn’t exactly a place where I find myself on a regular basis, but my 20th high school reunion happened in 2023, and yep, I brought my knitting. I knew I’d be sitting and chatting for several hours, and I figured my hands would feel better with some yarn in them. I was right.

A lot of people have this idea of knitting as something you can only do while sitting quietly at home on a cold evening. The reality couldn’t be further from that, and in fact, lots of knitters find time for their craft in the small gaps throughout their days. I love to stitch in short bursts and at odd times, and five minutes of work here and there can really add up.


Friday 6th of May 2022

I used to embarrass my son by knitting at his hockey practices! I had to do something to stay awake at 6:15am! During tournaments if we had a bus I would bring at least two WIPs and knit away while chatting with other parents! 🤭🤭

Lauren Rad

Saturday 7th of May 2022

I'd be knitting in that situation, too! If someone is making me get up that early, I am 100% bringing my yarn.


Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

During pauses/rests in orchestra rehearsals, church and other meetings, on planes, trains, car journeys, watching TV, listening to audiobooks, at concerts, movie theatres, coffee with friends and of course at Wool Gatherers get togethers.

Lauren Rad

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Love it! The world is full of fun places to knit.

Penelope Kraemer

Monday 29th of November 2021

I always took my knitting to our local hockey games, using an age old afghan pattern I could knit while watching the game, much to the amusement of my neighbours.

Lauren Rad

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

I love that! People always get confused by people knitting at sporting events, but I can follow both just fine.

Elizabeth Johnson

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

I loved all of the places other people knit or crochet. I have been doing either for about 59 years and in all those places and situations. I love that it allows people to start conversations about their projects. I have what my husband calls my nest in the living room with my latest project for watching TV.

Lauren Rad

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Isn't it so fun seeing that we're not alone with the knitting in odd place? I have a nest in a corner of the living room, too!


Monday 18th of October 2021

I take knitting or crocheting everywhere. I keep a small crochet project in my purse. I take a crochet blanket to crowded places and hope there's a place to sit. I have a designated project to take to church. I never watch anything on TV without a yarn project in my hands. I like to knit/crochet while listening to audiobooks.


Tuesday 19th of October 2021

My sister and I crocheted and weaved in a nice restaurant, Saturday night, waiting for our food. The wait staff was fascinated. We each always have a project of some sort with us.

Lauren Rad

Monday 18th of October 2021

I always have some knitting in my purse, too! You just never know when you're going to need it, and I'd rather be prepared.

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