I had 30 minutes before I needed to leave for the party. A normal person might be freshening up, but not me. No, I was in a frantic search for an appropriate knitting project to take.
Taking knitting to a party would’ve made more sense if there were going to be other knitters (or any type of needlecrafters) there, I think. But no, I was going to a party of non-knitter, non-maker types. What was I thinking?
The issue is that I’m such a profound introvert that parties wear me out in a short time. Even parties, such as this one, where I know and like everyone in attendance. Even parties, such as this one, where there are fun things to do, like pool, table tennis, and fooseball, that most normal people like to do, or at least like to watch.
Not me. I’m lousy at pool, table tennis, fooseball, and most small talk, and I don’t really want to put forth the time and effort to improve. None of these hold my attention for long, and I find myself restless, bored, and craving a comfortable, quiet corner in which to set up knitting.
I take knitting to various social events, but they are usually family events where I am trapped expected to stay for fairly lengthy periods of time, all the while remaining in reasonably good humor. My family of non-knitters supports my knitting, so knitting at family gatherings is never an issue. But I generally don’t take knitting to other parties.
When I take knitting to social events, I sometimes have to fight the perception that I’m distracted or bored. Nothing could be further from the truth — knitting keeps me from being bored and restless. It keeps me from wanting to escape soon after arrival. Knitting while talking slows down both processes, so that I really listen to the other people talking and respond thoughtfully. It also provides a topic of conversation when nothing else seems to click. Knitting makes me a better conversationalist and better company.
This particular party is an annual event with friends, which I look forward to, but from which I also would like to escape right after the white elephant gift exchange. By that point, I’ve had enough socializing and would like to curl up with some knitting. While I’ve had enough of small talk early in the evening, I know the rest of my family is going strong, so why not bring some knitting to do after the main festivities are over?
I ran downstairs to the sewing room and pulled out a long-neglected skein of Plymouth Encore Colorspun, leftover from a baby afghan I knit years ago. There’s a veritable baby boom going on among some of my friends and relatives, so perhaps a simple burp cloth was in order. I decided on Plain & Simple Burp Cloths as a pattern, grabbed some needles, and put the yarn and needles in my bag. I was set.
As it turned out, I didn’t knit at the party — it just seemed awkward. Even more awkward than not knitting, which is saying something. There was no good place to sit near the pool table. There were no good places to sit near the table tennis or fooseball tables, either. I’d have to go alone to the uninhabited (but comfortable) family room, and then people might wonder why I was being antisocial. Instead of knitting, I roamed between pool table and kitchen, engaging in small talk and waiting until my family could be convinced to leave. Next year? I may take some knitting, and if I can’t find a good place to knit and be with other people, I may escape right after the gift exchange.
While I didn’t get to knit at that party, there’s another party tonight that we’ll be heading to shortly. I started the burp cloth and I’m taking it along just in case I have a good opportunity to knit. You just never know.