Knitting in public eh? What's the point? - that's the question I was asked by a slightly bemused German (?) tourist on Saturday as a bunch of us sat on the steps of Trafalgar Square with our needles out, big and small. After searching for an answer I came up with the idea that we were demonstrating a craft that many folk still associate with their granny (not a bad thing, surely) and that knitting is having a renaissance and it's, like, really cool, and hopefully we'll encourage people to take it up. Something like that. He said I was 'very amusing' and walked on. It was certainly a sight to behold, and I think at one point I looked up from my knitting to see a wall of cameras pointing in our direction that almost outnumbered those of us actually knitting!
Whilst Gerard was at the G8 last week, trying to convince some of the most powerful people on the planet to sort it out, we had our own little battle on our hands - fighting for the right to knit in public! No sooner had we settled on the said steps than we were approached by Security Guard #1 who was curious to know what we were doing and why. After a brief explanation he looked none-the-wiser and thus ensued a relaxed debate about sitting down and knitting. It would seem you can sit on the steps, but you can't sit on the steps and knit. I agreed to remove all signs of "World Wide Knit in Public Day" which I'd printed off and laminated for the occasion but it wasn't enough. Only when Security Guards #2 and #3 arrived was I told we were holding an unauthorised event! When I asked if we stopped knitting could we still sit here he got a bit flustered - I must admit, it didn't help that I chose my giant needles to bring along for showing off, which apparently made our little shindig a 'performance' - I told him it was nothing of the sort - "I'm knitting a curtain" - I said, in an "isn't that obvious" kind of sarcy manner. After much name-dropping ("I emailed Ken and he said it was OK!"), our arm-waving, raised eyebrows and incredulous looks gave way to him actually not being arsed in the end and we talked him into submission - as long as we were out of the way by 2pm so the march for Palestine couldn't be disrupted by our little performance. Is knitophobia a word? - in the 21st century you still have to stand up and be counted my fellow knitty comrades! ;))
All argy-bargy aside, it was a fun day. I met loads of new knitters, and, although after a couple of hours in the sunshine we were baking, it was hilarious to see the reactions of some of those mystified tourists. We even managed a couple of hats for the Innocent Drinks Big Knit campaign. The last few of us headed to St James' Park for a few hours, with some Stella (classy) and returned to the square for more brief knitting with the Stitch and Bitch London group who arrived on the scene after their crawl around London's landmarks. From there, more drinking at Walkers wine bar off Whitehall and a jolly good chinwag. A good day was had by all!
Thanks to Gail for some of the pics!