Six Tips for Knitting in Church

Miss Manners was recently asked

“Is it acceptable to knit at a church, synagogue or other religious service? And what about a concert or recital?”

I was really hoping that is was acceptable – at least in church, and indeed, Miss Manners thought that knitters were probably near the end of the list of people doing annoying things at events. Besides, “Have you not noticed that they are armed with long, pointy sticks?” You can read the whole question and answer at the Washington Post website.

I knit in church. Just about every week. I find that if I occupy my hands and the segment of my brain that does simple, repetitive tasks, I concentrate much better. When I don’t knit, my mind wanders. Our last pastor was actually the one who encouraged me to knit during church, and even remarked that there were several parishioners who would benefit from doing something with their hands in order to focus their attention on the sermon. It sure works for me!

If you’re contemplating joining the ranks of the Holy Knitters, here are some tips for starting out:

  1. Start simple: a project that doesn’t require referring to a pattern; something mindless, like garter stitch or stockinette stitch.
  2. Start small: don’t haul in a queen size throw. Hats, felted bags, dishcloths or face cloths, and scarves are all great choices.
  3. Know your limits: do you find yourself cursing up a blue streak if you drop a stitch? Holy knitting may not be for you.
  4. Be prepared: have the supplies you need neatly and discreetly* accessible. You’re not going to knitting group, so having every gadget is not necessary; no one is likely to lean over the pew and ask to borrow your scissors or a stitch holder. Just bring your yarn and needles – leave the rest in the car. [*I have a friend who carries her knitting to church in a soft cooler emblazoned with images of lite beer. It works for her!]
  5. Be gracious: people will ask what you’re making. Some will ask because they are truly curious; others as a way to politely find out why the heck you think knitting in church is acceptable. Smile. Answer sweetly. Smile. If you fear that you’ll be harshly judged (wasn’t the sermon on not judging? – obviously they weren’t paying attention!), considering working on a prayer shawl that you’ll give to someone in the church who could use a caring gesture.
  6. Be amazed: you will probably discover some closet knitters. And who knows? You may be the catalyst for a church based knitting group.

So, who among you is a Holy Knitter (or crocheter)? Are there other events, like concerts or lectures, to which you take your knitting? Any amusing or inspiration stories to share? Leave a comment below!

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