Since knitting, crocheting, nalbinding (and spinning if you are bold enough!) are easily transportable, us fiber artists often find ourselves crafting in public. Whether we are making our string creations while sipping tea alone or merrily joining in a boisterous wine and twine, our minds and our hands live in a wooly world.
To some, the barrage of comments and questions that arise when knitting or crocheting in a social setting can be quite annoying. But for others, it can be a great bridge to pleasant communication with strangers, or even lead to *gasp* friendship! There is one large (but still minority) group that can benefit from this social yarn-crafting, namely, introverts.
As an introvert, I know the struggles of interacting in social situations. For introverts, socializing requires a ton of energy; energy we only produce while being alone. Because we spend so much delightful, cozy (and real AF in our pajamas eating snacks and drinking wine) time alone, we might not have as much social experience as our extroverted counterparts. It's not that we don’t like people, we just need a lot of alone time to recoup some energy, and can be easily deterred by social uncertainty.
Yarn crafts can be a great outlet and social catalyst for introverts.
Working on a project takes a lot of time, most of which, will be spent on your own. There are a lot of fabulous online resources to help you find a pattern, or to help you create a cohesive piece of your own, and you can do all of this without talking to a person!
"You can decide how much or how little to interact, and you can do it all without pants!"
There are tons of online fiber artist communities if you decide you would like to interact with someone, share your projects, or ask for advice. You can decide how much or how little to interact, and you can do it all without pants!
Knitting and crocheting in public is a great conversation starter. If you are like me, and would like to engage with strangers, maybe make a friend, but are terrible at striking up a conversation, this solution may be for you. Some great places to bring your WIP are coffee shops, bars, your kids’ sporting events or hobby meet-ups, if you are dining out alone, or pretty much any time you will be surrounded by a bunch of strange humans. If someone is interested enough to ask you what you are making, chances are, you already have one thing in common.
Keeping your hands busy will comfort you. The bamboo needles softly clicking away, and familiar rhythmic muscle memory will ensure that you always have an old friend by your side. Perhaps you can even harken back to those times when you were crafting alone, using some energy from your memory to take your hip fiber artist persona conversing and socializing well into the evening… maybe even past 9pm!
Yarn-crafting while socializing helps to sooth inevitable awkward silences. They say that you don’t know someone well until you are able to sit comfortably in silence with them. That may be true for your oldest and dearest friends, but after walking in cold to a new craft group, silence can sometimes feel like a small failure. Of course it is not, but with all of the things going on in your lap (not like that, naughty), if there is a lull in conversation, everyone can look down at their WIP and pretend not to notice.
"I have been called out for being anti-social when I bring my knitting to a party, but that gives me an opportunity to explain why I see it as a kind of social lubricant."
You may find yourself more eager to attend social events if you know you’ll have your wool and sticks by your side. If the din of the other attendees becomes a bit tiresome or overwhelming, rather than whisking yourself off to the guest room with the jacket covered bed just to get a few quiet minutes to yourself, you can instead settle yourself into a corner of the couch, and proceed to turn string into things. You can chat when you like, and when you feel like being silent, just look down and engage with your work.
Of course knitting, crocheting, spinning, nalbinding etc. are not only for the introverted among us. But for those of us who spend a hilarious proportion of your daily energy just making small talk with acquaintances, yarn crafting can be a wonderful catalyst to friendship. True, I have been called out for being anti-social when I bring my knitting to a party, but that gives me an opportunity to explain why I see it as a kind of social lubricant. Knitting at parties is like having a combination of booze and a therapy dog, without the hassle of people trying to take either for a walk.
Are you a yarn-crafting introvert? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below!