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Sarah E. White

Mailbag Monday: How Do You Knit While Walking?

By September 20, 2010

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A reader recently asked me about pictures she had seen of long-ago knitters tending their flocks or going about their daily work, knitting all the while. How did they knit and walk at the same time? While doing colorwork, no less?

The truth is, modern knitters can learn how to knit and walk at the same time, too. I recently started giving this a try when I began spending my days following a little crawler around the house and realized that I'd never get any knitting done if I had to sit in one place to do it.

I haven't yet ventured outside for a walk with my knitting (my neighborhood is rather hilly and I'm rather accident-prone), but even just walking around the house I'm sure that I'm more productive than I would otherwise be now that I'm able to walk and knit at the same time.

If you're a fan of walking and knitting simultaneously, I'd love to hear how you do it, why you love it and if you have any advice or warnings for people who might want to start doing it. You can leave your thoughts in the comments or share a longer story.


September 20, 2010 at 11:21 am
(1) Marion BE says:

At a local craft fair I saw a crafter spinning wool as she was walking around talking to stallholders. It was like a small spinning top at the bottom of the spun wool, and every now and then she’d wind up the yarn. Can’t recall where she’d stashed the unspun wool.

September 20, 2010 at 11:23 am
(2) Leslie says:

I’ve never tried walking and knitting, but I used to walk back and forth from school (about a mile each way) and read a book at the same time.


September 20, 2010 at 11:35 am
(3) Jack says:

I always take a small knitting project with me whenever I leave the house, including my long walks on a nearby walking path. I carry my yarn in a pouch attached to a belt loop on my jeans. I work on socks usually when out as long as the stitch pattern isn’t very involved, that way I can keep an eye out for any obstacles that may be in my way.

September 20, 2010 at 11:54 am
(4) Debbie says:

I used to walk and knit and/or crochet quite a lot. Before I had my own car, I took the bus to work & around town. First I learned to knit on the bus, with all the starts and stops, then to knit while waiting for the bus. Finally I graduated to knitting while walking to and from the bus stops. I used a bag that slipped over my forearm to hold my yarn and then store the project when I got to where I was going. I do not recommend using and Ipod or other headphones while doing this, as you do need to at least be aware of traffic. For me, I could either listen to books on tape & walk, or knit & walk. Doing all three at once was just too much!

September 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm
(5) Sandra Lutovsky says:

Walking at the mall can be very boring so I knit while I walk. I knit a scarf the “long” way so it’s an easy knit.

September 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm
(6) barb says:

I’ve had several antique knitting sticks (needles) on my Mystery Antique quiz over the past year. These are stick that will hook onto one’s apron or under an arm, so that the housewives could continue knitting while doing their regular household chores. I’ve not tried it yet, but almost intrigued enough to buy one of these for my collection and also try it out.

September 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm
(7) Angela says:

I frequently knit and stand. I put my knitting bag & yarn on a counter, or a chair, and stand to knit. When I knit for long periods of time, my back gets sore, so standing helps change my posture. (my husband can’t help but poke fun at… the idea of getting “sore” from knitting is apparently funny.)
So when my son started moving around, I started wearing my knitting bag on my shoulder, or putting my yarn in the front pocket of a hooded sweatshirt, so that I could knit on the run. I don’t go for walks and knit, but I’ll knit while watching my son at a park, while walking around the toys. I love feeling more productive, even if just a little bit.
Now I have two children, and knitting has again been pushed to an “after bedtime” activity.

September 22, 2010 at 4:22 am
(8) Scoochy says:

I tried knitting while walking……..just inside at first. Not good because I kept poking myself with the DPNs.
I believe that I should, first, learn to knit (K) without looking using some scrap yarn. If I can do that, I can knit while walking…….I think.

September 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm
(9) Vanessa says:

I can walk and read at the same time, but have never thought to knit. I’m going to try it while walking around my complex parking. I’d also like to try to knit while on the treadmill.

September 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm
(10) mousepotato says:

I’m one of those spinners and knitters who walks around working as she goes. It’s just practice, as well as a pattern you can do on autopilot, which can include colorwork. Those Fair Isle peerie patterns are made for this sort of thing. You learn by doing what you’re doing, Sarah, practice while walking in the house or on familiar streets. Like others, I have either a waist bag or a yarn holder on my wrist for my yarn. To spin I either wear the waist bag or just use my wrist as a distaff, often both with spare roving to spin in the bag. My suspended (drop) spindles and I go along quite well together. My husband just takes it in as part of the package, of course he also believes I can’t knit or spin as I walk and still write checks, too, at sheep and wool festivals. You’d think he’d have figured it out after 12 years .

October 2, 2010 at 5:44 pm
(11) sylrayj says:

I try to keep a purse project – something small enough that it’ll fit into my purse and not be dripping out everywhere. Something short, or something long and skinny so the bulk of it can be tucked back into my purse, works best.

The biggest problem I find with knitting and walking is that I don’t swing my arms since they’re busy, and my hips notice the lack of assistance with my gait. After most of my walking time spent either knitting or holding my little girl’s hand, I end up having aching hips and haven’t yet determined a good stretch to ease this. I’m going to try to knit on alternate walks, to reduce the time spent not moving my arms.

Also, it’s not a good idea to try to go back a dozen rows of garter stitch to pick up one stitch knitted backwards and knit it back up, while walking. Fussy and fiddly work, involving some twists and contortions that are best done where you can lay your work down to get right in there, don’t combine well with a stiff-hipped gait suffering from a lack of arm-swing. :P

December 4, 2010 at 12:04 am
(12) jennifer says:

i first learned to knit while reading. EZ mentioned this in one of her books, so i tried it and picked it up quickly. so i can enjoy both at once. since i read out loud a lot while homeschooling (1-2 hours a day) i can get a lot more knitting done. also, i can read while knitting in my ACTUAL free time too. i have knitted and walked a bit, but usually just a few minutes at a time. i am thinking of starting to knit and walk regularly. both for excersise and to get out of the house with the kids more.

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