Elderly lady sitting opposite me on the bus watches me for about ten minutes. I’m sitting and knitting on public transport, which tends to get stares. Eventually I slide my headphones off my ears and meet her ‘I’ve been knitting since before you were born, you’re not holding your yarn properly, what kind of needles do you call those?’ gaze.
“What are you knitting?” she asks me, eyeing the stripy snake of stitching that is lounging in my lap.
“Errrrm, it’s a cover…” I tell her, racking my brains for an answer that isn’t going to make her think I am dragging the good name of knitting through the filthy mud of madness. Not that I’m not proud of my sneaky stitching. It’s just sometimes you can’t tell if you’re talking to a Darth Vader of the Knit or an Obi-Wan.
“A cover?” Interested and a little disparaging, the raised eyebrows quietly point at ‘Well I’m not sure that’s what knitting is for now, is it?’.
“For a…chair?” I try, white lying to save myself from the rockslide of explaining what I am really knitting.
“A chair?” She asks. She looks confused and suspicious and altogether on the verge of an almost-definite tut, a quite-likely headshake, and possibly an attempt to wrestle my yarn and needles from me and march them off in order to use them for a much saner purpose.
“My bus stop! Nice talking to you!” I blurt, thrusting the devices of my shameful misused stitching into my bag while trying to press the ‘stop’ button with my elbow, all the while grinning apologetically at the bus-riding inquisitioner.
I alight in the street a stop early and have to walk an extra few minutes to the station. As I walk I picture a conversation in which I tell my questioner that I am actually knitting a piece of graffiti. This graffiti has been lovingly measured to fit the crossbar of a rather grey and practical-flavoured bicycle that sits patiently at the station every single day waiting for its owner to come home. The Greyfrair’s Bobby of bicycles, if you will (except it isn’t a dog and its owner is just at work, and not the victim of a particularly nasty case of TB. So kind of not like Greyfriar’s Bobby at all) .
This controlled knitblast had been knit with a practical purpose (aside from the evil purpose of the ‘WTF?!’ moment it would cause when first discovered). An exercise in answering the question “So what exactly is the point of this ‘yarnstorming’?” Since there are more points to it than a ninja star (over five), I took solace in that old chestnut “A yarnstorm purls a thousand words”. I think it worked too.
Yarmstorming explained, check. Disapproval of old lady on bus masterfully avoided, check. Happy bicycle, check. Happy bicyclist, check. Happy yarnstormer, double check.