Knitting on the Job

My entire adult life (and really some time before) I’ve worked for a non-profit fishermen’s association.  That’s over 22 years, plus a couple of summers as a student. Clearly it’s something I enjoy, at least most of the time.  A colleague says you have to have “a fire in your belly” to do this type of work for any length of time.

The fishing industry is predominantly a male industry, though it is changing with more and more females getting involved. Nevertheless, it is not unusual to walk in a room and be one of the few, if not the only female in the room, especially on the non-government employee side of the table.  As a young 20-something year old, it could be very intimidating to “lean in” at the table. Now, seeing the same faces over the years at meetings, it really is its own little community.

Thinking back, I can’t remember exactly how I started knitting during industry meetings.  It probably was a science meeting in an effort to keep my mind from wandering (science is SO not my strong suit). I remember keeping my hands under the table to be less obvious about what I was doing.  I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t paying attention.  Oddly, it’s actually had the opposite effect.  In my efforts to prove I’m engaged even if I’m knitting, I’ve ended up participating more.  And for someone who’s normally quite shy, that’s definitely a good thing.

It’s had another side effect as well.  In an industry full of men, having a girl come in and sit the table and start knitting has been an ice breaker.  If they can’t remember my name, they know I’m “the one with the knitting”.  There’s always a joke about what I’m knitting for them; it’s a conversation starter like talking about the weather.  People tell me they can tell how interesting I find the discussion based on the speed of my knitting. Apparently I slow down when I’m really involved.  I’ve also been told when I slap my knitting down on the table they know I’m ready to argue about what was just said; and me, I find knitting needles make excellent pointers.

That’s not say I knit all the time at work.  It’s about knowing when you should, and when you shouldn’t.  I’m fortunate to have that flexibility and I want to make sure I don’t take advantage of it.

It’s in the Bag

I live in some fear that someone will go through my purse looking for something. It’s more of tote bag/briefcase/carryall/purse so there is any variety of “things” in it, from Lego to candy (and hopefully my wallet).


On the top of my purse is my knitting “project bag”:


Note the coffee stains from having my travel mug that I-thought-was-empty-but-wasn’t-quite thrown in on top of it.


This bag carries my essentials for “knitting on the go”.  First there are two projects: a pair of socks and a dishcloth. One for meetings and one for when I’m likely to lose a needle.


It also has a few essential tools: spare needles, tape measure (sometimes), scrap yarn and pen:



and about-to-be tools:



I love tins for stitch markers (and this is one of my favourite “lobster” cartoons.)  Right now it still has mints.


Speaking of mints, I try to keep a supply handy, along with a decaf k-cup (I’m a little confused by that myself), my motion sickness bands (I don’t know why they’re in there either) and some lip balm, lotion, cough drops and Advil (that could have been with the knitting supplies):

In other random contents, I have a book of drawings from my niece:

And two types of currency (that actually comes in handy):


But my favourite travel tool is this:



A pair of fingernail clippers without a nail file. Safe for air travel but very handy for snipping yarn on the go. (In addition to fingernails; I always manage to break at least one when I’m in the midst of air travel).