It sounds like MIL's idea of personal space is way different from yours. She sounds like what I think of as "gushy-grabby," someone who just goes on and on has to physically touch things. It's unfortunate. Family situations can be really tough. Odd, rude? Both.
Cheating is an option. . . . Cheaters never win and winners never cheat, but smart knitters who want to retain an iota of sanity do, cheerfully. ~~Kory Stamper