Saturday, 12 June 2010

WWKIP - Dickens Style

The non-knitting readers among you will probably be surprised to hear that there is a World Wide Knit in Public Day.  But there is. 

And it is today.  (Well, it is sort of today.  Apparently it is any day between the 12th and 20th June. I don't understand it either.  If Christmas manages to happen on a single day - I think WWKIP should be able to too.)

Here in London there are a few events organised - IKnit has arranged a treasure hunt of some sort, and Stitch London has a knitting pub crawl.  So anyone braving the centre of London - beware the knitting revolution!

(Who am I kidding?  The knitters won't get a look in -- today is also Naked Bike Ride day!!  Thousands of naked cyclists will be zooming through the streets of London. 

I can confirm it is an astonishing sight. 

A couple of years ago I was shopping with gorgeous goddaughter Gen and her mom and when we left H&M on Oxford St were stopped in our tracks as thousands of naked cyclists pedalled past.  Our only concern for young Gen (she was 13 at the time) was that it was an awfully young age to discover that the average naked male does not look like Daniel Craig emerging from the sea a James Bond film.)

Back to WWKIP day though - it reminded me of a passage in A Tale of Two Cities (regular readers will know my love of Dickens and fascination with Madame Defarge in particular) which I expect is one of the earliest (if not the earliest) examples of Knitting in Public in fiction.

Therefore, when Sunday came, the mender of roads was not enchanted (though he said he was) to find that madame was to accompany monsieur and himself to Versailles. It was additionally disconcerting to have madame knitting all the way there, in a public conveyance; it was additionally disconcerting yet, to have madame in the crowd in the afternoon, still with her knitting in her hands as the crowd waited to see the carriage of the King and Queen.

"You work hard, madame," said a man near her.

"Yes," answered Madame Defarge; "I have a good deal to do."

"What do you make, madame?"

"Many things."

"For instance -- "

"For instance," returned Madame Defarge, composedly, "shrouds."
It is good to know that even in Dickens time knitting in public caused some consternation among non-knitters (knitting in a public conyeance? in front of the king and queen?) and that even then the question 'what are you making' was inevitable. 

Of course, my answer of  'socks' never has quite the same impact as 'shrouds'!


Helen (Fuss Free Flavours) said...

The question is who decieded that it was WWKIP day?

Is there a WWKIP ruling body or the like? I would rather like it if there were.

Batty said...

I'm stuck at home, on antibiotics. My personal version of WWKIP Day will be this Monday - Friday on the subway, as I commute to work accompanied with my projects. Not as much fun or half as social, but still.

fleegle said...

No, but you can always tell them shrouds. Or willie warmers.