June 13th marked the tenth anniversary of World Wide Knitting in Public Day – a.k.a. WWKIP Day. If you browse their website you will see that the event is celebrated in over 50 countries. I first marked the occasion with a group of knitters in Leigh-on-Sea. We used to meet regularly to sit around a table at a Leigh café. I do recall that my feet always got cold in spite of the café being heated, so I had to wear boots. Anyway, one of the ladies suggested that we celebrated WWKIP day by gathering in Leigh Library Gardens and sitting on the grass to knit. Which we duly did with our picnics – it must have been around six/ seven years ago.
I forgot all about it until this year when I spotted a reminder about WWKIP Day when I was surfing the Internet. What fun! So I sent out a message to all my knitter friends and WI groups. But you know what people are like today. No spontaneity. Too many previous commitments – which is the fault of today’s economic climate that has made it necessary for women to work even when married. Asked my neighbour. No, she was doing laundry. So I set off for the High Street by myself armed with a board proclaiming WWKIP Day, my coffee mug and my knitting. Stopped at The Forum coffee shop to fill up my mug then walked onto the High Street and plonked myself down on a bench to start knitting.
First snag: every time the wind gusted my display board fell over – should’ve made holes in the board so that I could tie it to the bench. Second snag: the same gusts of wind took the yarn and twisted it around my shoes. I spent more time unravelling the knitting yarn than I did actual knitting. Then it started to drizzle. Persevered with my knitting until the drizzle became too wet then gave up.
But I did have some lovely comments from passers-by. There was Shelley who stopped to tell me that she was a beginner but had now set up a knitting club at school were she teaches. There was the shopper who had just learnt to knit, taught by her 89 year old neighbour. There was Susan from around-the-corner who took my picture . . .
Note to self: next year begin planning at the start of June. Locate a really public venue with a covered back-up location in case it should rain. And take a simpler project: definitely not socks although the double-pointed needles did attract attention.