5 Tips for Party Knitting

Party season is here! I have two lined up for this weekend and even more after that. I bring my knitting with me everywhere, but it’s particularly nice to have at parties because it’s a good ice-breaker and gives me something to do if my hands get twitchy. Here are my best tips for knitting, drinking, and having a merry time.


1. Choose the right project bag. The perfect project bag makes knitting while drinking and snacking so much safer for your yarn. If you’re going to be standing around a lot, choose a bag you can loop over your wrist, like in the photo above. A basic drawstring bag will do that trick. If you’re going to be sitting around, pick a standing project bag so your yarn can wiggle around freely without escaping onto a potentially-gross floor. Yarn on the floor probably isn’t a big issue if you’re at a friend’s house, but it’s cause for concern if the party is in the back room of a bar!

2. Pick a simple project. Stockinette, ribbing, garter stitch, and other basic stitch patterns and traditional construction methods are always safe choices. Avoid projects that require you to constantly read your chart or pattern. For one thing, it’s not very sociable to be staring at your phone or print-out, but it also gets plain-old-difficult if you’re in a dimly lit room and have had a few drinks. If your project has a complex bit, like a color work band on the brim of hat, get it out of the way before the party. The best project shouldn’t be something that takes too much attention because you’re going to get distracted.

3. Use counting stitch markers and regular stitch markers. Pile on the markers! If you use markers, stuff like basic shaping is a breeze, so you can stretch the definition of a simple project. Counting stitch markers will help you keep track of how many rows you’ve knit, and regular markers can remind you that you need to do something.

4. Prepare for the questions. I guarantee that you will be asked, “what are you working on?” more than once, and that just scratches the surface of knitting-related questions that come up at parties. It can get a little annoying after you’ve answered the same question three or four times, but the curiosity can also be a good opportunity to get a conversation going, so anticipate it and make the most of it.

5. Make peace with ripping back. It happens to the best of us. You’re having fun, and you blast past a shaping round or work decreases in the wrong spot. It’s not the end of the world, and the way I see it, I could either bring my knitting along and risk ripping back or not knit at all. I’ll always choose the former!





8 responses to “5 Tips for Party Knitting”

  1. Cheryl Stern

    Fabulous advice!

  2. Great advice! My partner rolls his eyes hard when I bring knitting to the bar or to parties, but I think it’s fun, and I like the chance to introduce a non-hockey topic to our usual circle of friends. 😀

  3. Wow! It has never occurred to me to take knitting to a party. Perhaps I’m not a serious enough knitter!

    1. I’m not sure if that’s a sign of seriousness or just obsession. Haha!

  4. bsue

    This is just rude unless it’s specifically dedicated as a knitting party. It’s like those folks that can’t turn their phones off for an hour. It reads somewhere between “Look at me! I’m such an awesome, quirky and creative individual” to “I really can’t rearrange or change anything about what I want to do just because you’re having a holiday gathering because everything about me far outweighs anything about you.” It’s just common courtesy. If you don’t want to be a part of the gathering, stay home. Otherwise, mingle with the guests – meet someone new – make a new friend or two. Putting yourself off in a corner with yarn and needles everywhere you go says nothing else counts. It also acts as a barrier and a way to keep you from interacting with others. Time and place, people – and I am an avid knitter – go bonkers if I don’t get to pick up my needles daily – but I wouldn’t do this.

    1. I think you’ve missed the point in # 2 on the list. I only recommend bringing simple knitting to parties that won’t make you be the silent person in the corner. I don’t know about you, but I can easily knit and talk at the same time, and knitting provides something nice to do with my hands that doesn’t prevent me from mingling. Like I said, it’s a great conversation starter. Plus, it’s easier to talk and knit at the same time than to talk and eat. 😉

      Perhaps knowing your audience would have been good to have on the list, too. I’m guessing we attend very different kinds of parties based on your comments about knitters. Most of the holiday parties I go to are hosted by my friends and family who would not find knitting quirky or rude because they either do it themselves or are familiar with many knitters.

      If it’s not going to go over well with the crowd and/or you can’t socialize and craft at the same time, use your best judgment and leave it at home.

  5. bsue

    No. I didn’t miss the point. I just disagree. If friends have taken the time to put together a gathering to celebrate or even just to gather and enjoy each others company, I find it more courteous to just do so. Having tea with your mom and your sister is very different from a holiday gathering with friends. I still believe it to be common courtesy to leave your knitting at home in most instances. It’s no different than someone always on the phone or reading a book at the party. It’s places a barrier and says you don’t really care to participate – it doesn’t matter if it’s a garter stitch scarf in lieu of a lace shawl. It’s still a statement that detracts from the gathering. Knitting parties – yes. Hen parties – yes. Trunk shows – yes. Waiting in lines, waiting on kids – yes. Holiday drinks and food with friends – no. I subscribe to the idea of doing things with intent and that includes fostering friendships and showing your appreciation of their efforts and your gratitude that they thought enough of you to include you. Many will appreciate the fact that you’ve chosen to participate in their gathering. Bringing something else to do can read as, “Fine. You invited me so I came, but I’m going to do what I want while I’m here.” It’s just a difference in attitudes and I’m also guessing, an age difference as well. Let’s just say my age starts with a 6 and goes on from there! 🙂 But……like you said, know your crowd. Good advice. Happy Knitting! That’s where I’m headed next. Snowy day, hot chocolate and the frenzied clicking of needles to finish the last couple of projects by Christmas! Enjoy your yarn.

    1. I’m 27, and I’m guessing there’s a pretty big generation and cultural gap between our experiences. Holiday parties aren’t that different from regular parties, and I also don’t consider spending times with my mom that different from spending time with my friends, except perhaps that I see my friends much more often. I have very good relationships with the people in my life, so no one is going to assume, “Fine. You invited me so I came, but I’m going to do what I want while I’m here” just because of my knitting. I mean, the last wedding I went to had a special note that said knitting was welcome. It’s not an issue and never has been.

      I’m sorry that you’re not comfortable doing crafts around your friends. It really is enjoyable to be with the people you love while doing something you love.

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