I recently visited the page of Amy Knits, where she posted a discussion question, “Where do you knit?” As I thought about this question, I couldn’t help but think of a place where I once knit but am no longer allowed to - the courthouse.
Back in the early 1990s, I was called for jury duty. At the time, my daughter was only three, so after dropping her off at my parent’s house for a day with Grandma and Grandpa, I headed for the courthouse in a neighboring city with my knitting bag. In those pre- 9/11 days, cell phones weren’t checked in at the courthouse doors, and bags were not searched. No one took much notice of my knitting bag with its large needlepoint lion on the front. In the room where we waited to see if we were needed to sit on a jury, I sat in the middle, surrounded by people who were reading newspapers, absorbed in books, listening to walkmans, drinking coffee, or sleeping. I was the only one knitting. I was glad that I could make progress on the sweater I was knitting for my daughter—it would not be a wasted day. This dedicated time may even help me to finish the sweater before she would outgrow it.
Soon a young woman sitting in front of me turned to watch what I was doing. With genuine interest, she began asking me questions about my knitting. Then she asked me if I would teach her to knit. Fortunately, I always carry extra sets of needles with me and at least one more ball of yarn while knitting away from home. I set her up with one of those extras sets of needles and yarn and showed her how to cast on, leaving her with twenty stitches. After I taught her the basic knit stitch, she happily kept herself occupied on her practice swatch. Later, I showed her the purl stitch and she continued. Eventually we learned that we were not needed to sit on a jury and were dismissed. I ended off the swatch for her and let her take it home with her, with the good wishes that she continue her developing knitting skills. A memory like this seems so distant when viewed in the perspective of the ways our lives have changed since 9/11. But I will never forget how that day in the courthouse proved to be a valuable opportunity for me to share my knitting skills with a non-knitter. I like to think she is still knitting….perhaps for her own children.