What to Say When a Stranger Comments on Your Making in Public

We’ve all been there. You are minding your own business in the waiting room of the oil change shop/ dentist/ your child’s baseball practice, knitting or crocheting peacefully and a Total Stranger says:

“Are you knitting?”

I am, by nature, an extrovert. Most days this opens up a lovely discussion with a person about all the benefits of working with yarn, I share the love of my hobby and feel better for it. But some days, I’m just not in the mood. Maybe the project has a deadline. Maybe the project is keeping me from yelling at a loved one. Maybe I just need a little quiet time with myself. No matter the specifics, sometimes you just don’t feel like interacting with strangers today. So many feel like a deer caught in the headlights in this situation.

Never fear! Just memorize a few of these handy responses to answer and end the conversation. Bear in mind, my sarcasm quotient runs very high, but said in a polite tone of voice and followed with an innocent smile, many can be perceived as light humored instead of bleak sarcasm. Of course, if you are like me and bleak sarcasm is just your speed, pair these phrases with a raised eyebrow or firm eye roll as you see fit.

via GIPHY

P.S. That actress is an avid knitter, her name is Kristen Ritter!

The Honest route:

“Yup. And this is the tricky bit, I need to concentrate”
“Yup, I’m trying to keep count, thank you”
“No, it’s crochet and I’m trying to keep count, thank you”

If they insist on conversing, you can add:
“I really need to focus on this”

The Sarcastic route:

“No, I just thought this yarn loop looked lonely so I’m giving it friends”
“Am I? I’m not sure, my hands aren’t connected to my brain at all”
“(Yes, I’m knitting.) (No, this is crochet, knitting has two sticks.) No, it’s not a dying art. I’m glad your grandmother (knit) (crochet). Yes, you can learn how. You can take lessons at [fill in your favorite LYS]”

If they respond with “well that was rude” or similar, you can add:
“I’m sorry you think so, but exactly what part of my quiet personal activity made you think I was doing it to invite conversation?”

Or even:
“The fact that I’m knitting (crocheting) in public does not mean I want to be a spokesperson for the hobby. It means I don’t want to sit here bored to death while I wait”.

If you live in the South or carry your Southern upbringing in your accent, feel free to add “bless your heart” to any of the above.

Advice void in New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, parts of Alaska and California or where prohibited by law. No refund value.

Sometimes they open with:
“Well that’s a dying art”

Honest route:

“Actually, no. Google can tell you all about how hot it is again”
“Cars have been around for a hundred years yet people still own horses. This to has become a hobby instead of a necessity. It’s not dying.”

Sarcastic route:

“What? I’m dying? How do you know?”
“Just because your grandmother who knit is dead, doesn’t mean the whole hobby died”

Or they open with:
“that’s a lost art”

Honest route:

“Umm, no, I’m doing it right now. Not lost”
“Amelia Earhart is lost. (Knitting) (Crochet) is not”
“Just because you don’t have any yarny people in your life doesn’t mean it’s lost”

Sarcastic route:

“Here it is! You had me scared for a second there! Phew!”
“I’m lost? Are you sure? I thought I was in [state your location]”

Small children

Small children are their own kind of interruption. I am always gentler in my speaking, but make sure to be very clear, especially if they are the touch-everything type.

“I’m (knitting) (crocheting) and it requires quiet so I can focus.”
If the small person asks more questions or states that there is music/ noise/ etc: “I’m sure your mother has told you not to speak to strangers, right?”
When necessary: “Please don’t touch my stuff”.
And the Death Blow, only when absolutely necessary: “Where is your parent?” [more embarrassing to the parent if they are nearby]

So, there ya go, a handy list of brief statements to acknowledge the stranger, but also not have an unwanted conversation.

Check out the latest yarn from
Fairy Tale Knits!

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Check out the latest yarn from
Fairy Tale Knits!

They can be all yours!

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