Knitting While Walking and Sitting

Look at these multi-taskers above, especially the right one. Balancing in clogs with a vessel on her head and knitting at the same time is admirable. Sia commented the other day that she fell into a ditch while trying to walk and knit simultaneously and it made me laugh out loud. Not because of a mean moment of “Schadenfreude”, but because I imagined myself walking, knitting and hitting every post in my town if I ever attempted such a thing. Can you believe that the web has instruction on how to knit and walk at the same time?

It seems that in the 18th century it was quite common for both women and men to knit while on their way to work in the fields. They used something called a knitting sheath and I found this website  which features the history of domestic paraphernalia.

I used to knit a lot, but now, only tackle small simple projects. Not simple enough however to walk and knit simultaneously, but simple enough to let at least my mind wander. Nikki Gabriel designs simple scarves that morph into boleros and then into short and long sleeved sweaters depending on how many balls of yarn you knit and add. The designs feature square components that can be assembled into a number of different garments;  very cool.

My favorite knitting blog is by Kate Davies from Edinburgh, who not only creates the most astonishing knitting designs, but also walks the Scottish Highlands and writes about knitting heritage. Her adventures are chronicled with a fierce passion for handcraft and history, illustrated with her beautiful photography. Her site is archived by the British Library as part of its project to preserve national documentary heritage. My favorite pattern is her owl sweater, but frankly, all of her designs are beautiful and the Scottish landscapes breathtaking.

Habu Textiles has the most interesting yarns, from paper, silk and linen to cotton wrapped steel.

While I thought I had a great idea for Sunday’s fabric manipulation, it turned out the idea wasn’t great at all. I’m actually curious myself, if I can pull something out of the hat. Maybe I knit a small fabric panel and pin it to the wall like Heidi Kennedy Skjerve?

See you Sunday manipulation or not.

Enjoy your weekend.

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15 Responses to “Knitting While Walking and Sitting”

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  1. Thea says:

    I’ve seen photos from the Faroe Islands, where women had a spiral hook that held the yarn and could be connected in their shawl. Pretty cool :)

  2. Amy says:

    This is hilarious….my husband were just discussing this. I knit while waiting at stop lights….he doesn’t think I should. But think of all the minutes wasted just sitting there!! Love this…thank you!

  3. Bonnie says:

    Great pictures! I’ve been walking and knitting for years and have never fallen or stumbled. Maybe I just have a knack for it? When I was a child I was also good and waling and reading.

  4. Katie says:

    I’m already awful at knitting (I need practice!) and possibly worse walking in a straight line. I can’t imagine trying both at once!

  5. Kerry says:

    Ahh Sia….love that girl! When she came to play in Vancouver, her entire stage was covered in yarn (knit covers for the microphone stands, speakers, drums, etc. etc. hanging from the walls) plus she was wearing this crazy heavy looking knit dress and….. she fainted from heat! And show was cancelled! She did come back eventually though and put on a great show….minus all the knits :)

  6. Kata says:

    I’ve stopped by to comment, because I enjoyed this post on so many levels. Firstly, the idea of knitting and walking is most intriguing, and I plan to ask the older folk in the recently agricultural country where I live whether they remember their mothers engaging in the practice.
    Also, I find efforts to restore old ways of doing things so worthy of praise and attention. For instance, there are so many old recipes that are so much healthier than new ones (especially cake type recipes), which could also be kept for longer periods of time, which meant no need to eat it all, quickly.
    Yesterday, there was a show about some other foreigners who’ve come to the country where I live to practice eco-farming (the kind where the land-animal ratio allows for natural fertilizing), and they are now getting media attention, which is great. It is so ironic that in our modern times there is still not enough respect given towards those who tend the land – as if we could live without food.
    I love that the British Library is involved in preserving knitting heritage – I often wonder about means to cultivate similar practices/awareness in other countries, where state involvement in respect and preservation is not as developed. I wonder where one can go to engage in such dialogue?
    As I am sure I will be revisiting this blog post, I felt the least I could do was to share these passing thoughts, and to say again how much I enjoy your blog. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  7. kathrin says:

    Don’t believe it was the singer Sia, who commented, however love your story. Isn’t it great how Sia combines music and knitting?

  8. Thoma says:

    As a teenager I participated in a sort of parade during the “Sehusafest”, an annual historic festival of my hometown, celebrating the start of the city in 974.
    We looked similar to the woman on the right picture above, but we had wooden clogs to walk in.
    I was knitting while walking. It became a shawl for my father in the end, for I used grey or beige wool and of course two wooden needles. The yarn was tucked away on my left handside, can’t remeber correctly where in. Might be an extra pouch or in the pocket of my apron.
    If you knit only stockinette stitch, it’s no problem at all. Nearly the same as knitting while reading a book or watching TV.

    In older times woman, often wives of the Harzer pitmen, digging for Goold, Silver etc., were transporting all kinds of wares from the Harz mountains (in the North/Middle of Germany) down to the low country. They were called “Harzer Kiepenfrauen” after the big “Kiepen”, a sort of basket in a special style.
    While doing this bonebraking long walks of 32 km and more bearing about 30 km on their backs they knitted.

    I never heard them using a sheath like the knitters in the UK then.
    A very good blog with a lot of material about the use and the making of sheaths is:


  9. Thoma says:

    Sorry, meant:
    we were looking similar to the woman on the left

  10. Nikki says:

    I’m a walking knitter…. can’t stand to waste a moment that could be spent creatively and constructively! I knit in post office queues and in the car if I’m a passenger, I knit while I wait for page loads on the computer and I knit any time I’m walking down the street.

    I’m glad that – historically, at least – I’m not alone! :)

    Thanks for a fab blog post and an inspiring blog. Just found you!

  11. kathrin says:

    What a fantastic informative comment, thank you so much! Are you talking about the Sehusafest in Seesen? I love these historical festivals and always bring our daughter. What a great way to learn about history. I also found an image of a knitting Harzer Kiepenfrauhere. Thanks again for this inspiring comment.

  12. Thank you for all this lovely information (and what wonderful comments too). It reminding me of a well-known picture of 2 Welsh women knitting socks by the painter William Dyce (, but which I now read was actually a bit of a fake! I had always imagined the women knitting as they climbed Snowdon… it seems not!

    One of the reasons why I don’t knit very often is because I don’t do it well enough to do it without thinking about it… it requires my whole attention..

  13. Kata says:

    Just to stop by to say that indeed, only a generation ago in this country, all stages of knitting were done out at pasture (mostly while tending to sheep and cows), everything from twisting the wool into yarn, to the actual knitting. Many of the knitting tools were also carved (and wooden).

  14. Thoma says:

    Yes – you know it?
    LG Thoma

  15. sashwee says:

    I loved this post. (I love your blog) Thanks for sharing the great links.
    Very inspiring to think that knitting could be tucked into a busy life.

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