13 June 2012

Knitting In The Park

knitting green cardigan

This week is World Wide Knit in Public Week.
WWKiP for short.

The aim is to combat solitary knitting by encouraging people to find a group to knit with. Instead I've used the event to literally knit in public, ie. outside. After yesterday's post I thought it would be a way of introducing you to my nearest 'greenspace', Fog Lane Park.

So here I am with a nascent cardigan in the 'sensory garden'.

The plan was to boldly sit at a picnic table in the open, but knitting by yourself in public is not normal, is it? So I rattled off a couple of rows in a hidden corner.

To be honest I’m quite new to knitting – it will be a miracle if a cardigan does actually materialise – which meant completing two rows took a long time. The thing with doing something like knitting or sewing is that a calming rhythm sets up and eventually the mind relaxes. Once the self-consciousness had worn off I became aware of my surroundings.

dog walker in Fog Lane ParkIt was about midday with a grey sky overhead and rain threatening. Local children had gone back to school, so the only people using the park (apart from us pioneering craft workers) were dog walkers. Most were women with friends, but there was the odd teen reluctantly trailing the family dog around, and of course, the ubiquitous shaven-haired chap with his Staffy. At the weekend the park is much busier with children in the play area and men playing football, but I would guess the main use the park is put to is dog walking.

It makes the simple act of knitting under a tree appear quite subversive. What is a public park for? It would seem a park is for any form of determined movement, be it exercising the dog, clambering over play equipment or taking part in a sport. Admittedly it’s also for drug dealing, but we’ll pass that over for a moment. How many people use their local park for doing nothing but enjoying the fresh air? I wonder if more people were to think of their park as literally a public space where they could relax as they saw fit, then parks could be reclaimed from criminals and petty vandals. What’s wrong with taking a flask of tea and a book and sitting on a bench for half an hour? You could even watch a film on your Ipad.

I’m talking here about a change of perception, but one thing that will never change is the weather: it wasn’t just embarrassment that stopped me knitting another row – it was the rain.

Fog Lane Park
A Path Mown into Grass