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Knitting during class: ok or not?


Hi folks,

so I'm an auditory/kinesthetic learner, and I recently decided to start bringing my knitting to class, to see if it kept me more engaged in the lecture and off my electronics. It's pretty much a silent hobby, so I was surprised when a friend/classmate mentioned that she felt it was distracting and rude to the professor and other students. This is a class with many people on their laptops/tablets for lecture. Anyway, I grew up with a knitting mama who had hers everywhere, so I've never really seen it as inappropriate. Just curious what you all think? Would it bother you? More or less than people using electronics or eating in class?

Thanks for for the thoughts :)

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

yes it would be distracting to me and I would be insulted if I were the instructor. Doodle if you have to, but please act professional.

Snacks are ok to me, but not meals.


Specializes in Intake, Home Care.

So unprofessional. Gives the impression you are bored with the lecture and need to occupy your hands and have no bearing, discipline. It would be better to skip class than do that. I taught Marines for 10 years, and I would kick you out of my class for that.

Have you tried talking to your instructor and explaining why your knitting? I wouldn't be insulted at all especially when most people are on fb or playing games.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day, BusyBee91:

Good students who are using a laptop or tablet will be using them to take notes, research material, or in other fashions that show they are taking an active interest in the material being taught. I grew up with my mom and grandmother loving to knit, and in the geographic area where I live (heavy with Amish and Mennonite), it is common to see knitting going on in various doctor, dentist, and other locations. However, in the classroom that is not about knitting or sewing, it would be a distraction (including the sound) as well as appearing rude behavior.

Thank you.

Interesting question.

I happen to be a very avid crochet fiend, and I am often crocheting while sitting in religious services. When I began attending my current synagogue (years ago), I "felt out" the climate and actually asked those I felt could answer best, if this would be considered rude. I was told that there were always those who would find it to be so, but more likely it would just be ignored, and finally there were those who were pleased to see it, and watched ME work while THEY listened. :) And, fwiw, I discussed it with the rabbi, who gave it his "blessing", lol, when I explained to him that I actually retained Torah teachings better if my hands were moving! I could recall bits and pieces later, while continuing on the same piece of crochet, so I think it's a good thing :)

Now, as for class: IF your instructor were told of your thought processes, that you tend to mull things over while doing this kind of handiwork, maybe your instructor would be like my rabbi, and tell you it's perfectly fine. It's also possible this instructor (with a different mindset than my rabbi) would tell you it IS distracting, and would prefer you didn't do it.

Honestly, I think I'd ask that instructor. As for whether your classmates like it...? I wouldn't care! That is assuming, of course, that you aren't whipping around needles and repeatedly dipping into bags of yarn. It would HAVE to be a SMALL project, one that stays quietly in your lap, NOT some giant thing that draws attention. I think that's important, too: I NEVER bring something large, as I prefer my crochet to be more discreet, for those onlookers who seem to get distracted by absolutely anything. You don't want to create an easy situation to be targeted.

Let us know how this pans out?

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

OK - to borrow the famous line from Princess Bride: "You keep using those words, I do not think it means what you think it means" when it comes to learning types. This only applies to the choice of methods to help you understand and process the material... It does not mean that doing something physical - completely unrelated to the subject matter - will help you learn. Example of applying this principle - you would be better able to understand all the steps in a procedure by actually performing them rather than by visualizing them or remembering the steps as a list.

As for knitting during a lecture??? sheesh. Very inappropriate. (full disclosure - I am a knitter... prefer complex Aran Isles patterns) If you truly want to do something that will engage your learning type... take notes related to the lecture - by hand. Or - head over to the Sim Lab and practice/ act out the topic that was discussed with colleagues or the mannequins. Save your knitting for break time between class when you need to relax.

Honestly, I thought you were joking when I first read your post.

I think it's very inappropriate. I am sure you have a lot of time out of class when you study that you can knit.

Sent from my iPhone using allnurses

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

When I was in class & a friend sat next to me & was texting incessantly I told her to stop, that it was distracting & rude. She was offended but I was trying to pay attention to class & it's rude to the professor because you're not giving him you're full attention. If you don't want to listen to the lecture, leave!

You might think it's silent but it's still distracting to others. Find other ways to learn that pertains to class & isn't as distracting.

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

You would be invited to leave my class. If you need to have your hands moving, take notes.


Specializes in Intake, Home Care.

You would be invited to leave my class. If you need to have your hands moving, take notes.

This. Preach!!!

WookieeRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PACU. Has 4 years experience.

This is extremely rude to your instructor. I'm surprised they haven't said anything to you about it yet.

I agree with what others have posted, knitting in class is inappropriate. It would be similar to someone bringing a knitting project with them to a meeting at work, or orientation for a new job. It is unprofessional. If you want to listen to the lecture while you are knitting I would suggest recording the lecture, if allowed and then listen to it again while knitting outside of the classroom. While knitting is a fairly quiet activity, the needles do make sounds, and if you where sitting next to me in a lecture I would find it to be very distracting.

As mentioned by a previous poster, most students who are using a tablet or a laptop in class are usually using them to take notes, or to follow PowerPoint slides on. I use my iPad in all of my classes, to record the lecture, follow the PowerPoint slides and to make notes. As for eating in the classroom, if it is a snack and something that can be eaten fairly quietly it is okay, unless food and drink are not allowed in the classroom such as in a lab setting. I always carry some snacks with me, there are times when that energy boost from a snack is needed.

After reading everyone else's replies, I've given it more thought.....I guess I'm in the minority because it wouldn't bother me if someone else were doing it, nor would I be 'unengaged' just because my hands are busy. And I really WOULD ask the prof what he/she thought was ok and not. I wouldn't equate it to orientation or anything more than what it was: a lecture, designed for listening and possibly note-taking.

I'm also clearly less likely to negatively judge you than some others I'm seeing here....But I guess when in Rome....if it's causing a stir, better to skip it!

While you may think it's a silent hobby, I've been around friends and family who knit. There is often a barely perceptible clicking sound that comes with knitting. Most people will probably never hear it. However, this would drive me crazy.

I hate it when people click their pens, tap their feet, etc. In the medical community, it's called misphonia. If you're my husband, you may just call me picky. Either way, I'm in class to listen to the professor, not you click your pen/tap your feet/smack your gum/etc.


Specializes in Med Surg. Has 4 years experience.

I'm an avid knitter too, love making socks and shawls. One thing I loved about my online RN to BSN program was the ability to sit and knit while listening to the lectures. It helped me tremendously. That being said, in a face to face class, I wouldn't do it. Too distracting and unprofessional.

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

I am with the others, I think more than anything it would be rude towards your classmates and disrespectful towards the professor.


Wow.. I am surprised at the overwhelming majority of you that find it rude. To clarify - certainly some of the students use their tech for

class related work, but many of them are working on other projects or something completely unrelated to school. Not that it changes this issue. And related to the size of the project, it is quite small - certainly contained in my lap. There are some classes I take notes in, but certain classes that I prefer just to sit/think/fidget. I certainly am kinesthetic, but perhaps I'm incorrectly attributing

my need to move during long lectures to this. When not knitting, the fidgeting comes out in nail picking/biting, and rocking, both of which seemed worse than knitting.

Thanks for the thoughts.

PS - I promise it is not the clicking. I am not a clicky knitter. Maybe the person sitting right next to me might hear the sound of my yarn slipping on the needle, but no clicking. I could totally understand if it were clicking.

Edited by BusyBee91