It seems like a lot of times when you see pictures of knitters from long ago (and current knitters from countries in Asia and South America), the knitters will be walking, going about their daily chores and knitting at the same time. In working on this article I even found a picture of a woman walking around knitting with a baby strapped to her back!
For many knitters of today it seems an impossibility to knit and walk at the same time. Or maybe we don't want to think of our lives as so busy that we need to knit and walk at the same time. But the truth is, knitting and walking is a useful skill and it opens up whole new opportunities for getting more knitting done.
Knitting while walking, like knitting in the dark or even while watching television, is a skill that requires practice. You're not going to be able to go out and walk a mile up hill while turning the heel of a sock on your first attempt.
In fact, I would recommend starting by getting comfortable with knitting standing up and walking around inside the house before you venture out with your knitting. This is how I got started (following a crawling baby around the house) and that's nice because no one is watching while you get the hang of it.
Whether you're walking around and knitting inside your home or office or on the go outside, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- At least in the beginning, choose easy projects to work. A small, single color, Stockinette Stitch project worked in the round on a single circular needle would be the ideal project, because there's a minimal amount of stuff required to pull off such a project. Once you've practiced a bit you can add double-pointed needles or two circulars to your skills, as well as stitch patterns and even color knitting if you want.
- You'll need a place to put your yarn. A pocket or even a backpack can work, or you can get a bag made for the purpose of knitting on the go (like the Goknit Pouch or Boye Yarn on the Go Bag). You can knit or craft a bag to hold your yarn and/or knitting as well. A simple open-topped tote bag that's light and has a long handle so it will hang out of your way (preferably across your body) is ideal.
- Speaking of yarn, any ball-like configuration that makes it easy to pull the yarn from the ball will be best for knitting and walking. You don't want a fussy ball that's going to require you to pull at it every time you need a little more yarn. Walking and knitting at the same time is complicated enough without having to worry about your yarn feeding properly.
- A heavy project will literally weigh on your body as you walk and knit. Small projects are ideal for this kind of treatment, like socks, kid's clothes, afghan blocks, sweater sleeves, maybe even lightweight scarves.
- Try to plan ahead so that you won't be trying to work the most complex part of a pattern while you're walking, particularly if you're going somewhere unfamiliar where you have to pay more attention to your walking. It's also best if you don't need any notions while you're on your walk; even stitch markers on the needles could get dropped along the way.
The other key aspect of knitting while walking is safety. Just like texting and walking, knitting while walking is a big distraction that makes you less aware of your surroundings. Make sure you're keeping an eye on the people, cars and other things around you, especially as you cross streets or when you're anywhere unfamiliar.
With a little practice and the right project and gear, knitting while walking isn't much more difficult than walking while sitting, and it's a great way to show off your skills and get more knitting time.