Knitters in Cars

You can’t bank knitting rows.


I hear you. Let me try it this way.

Assuming everything doesn’t go south, we will soon head south for the winter. Where the road is mostly flat and straight (Hello, Interstate system in general! And a big shout-out to West Texas in particular!) and when I’m neither driving nor required for navigation duties, I can pass the time by knitting. So the search is on for suitable in-car knitting projects.

Not all knitting projects are created equal. Some are what the trade calls “TV knitting”: not surprisingly, knitting that you can do while watching TV. For me that means projects with repetitive chunks, a memorizable pattern, and stitches that can be corrected easily when mistakes occur as they inevitably do.

Of course, the line between that which is TV knitting and that which is decidedly not is different for every knitter, based largely on experience. As a senior but junior knitter, I’ve learned not to try to follow complex patterns while also following a plot line or even dialogue on TV. As a knitting venue, the car introduces extra restrictions: no simultaneous management of multiple skeins of yarn, for one example; no projects bigger than my lap, for another.

As I consider my projects, the one I most need to make progress on is a blanket for a baby who is approaching his completion date faster than the blanket is. But this project has the most-complex chart I’ve ever tried to follow. The pattern has required me to bring all my tracking skills to bear:

  • Colour coding to supplement the chart’s legend of symbols for stitch types
  • Extra markers to demarcate the middle of sections that are too long for just a starting and ending marker
  • Careful monitoring of each line
  • Meticulous counting of the stitches in each section before moving on

With all that I still get into trouble. A moment’s inattention and all is, not lost exactly, but at least a mess. The only saving grace is that every other row (not shown on the chart) is dead simple: the same stitch all the way across. Thinking about this fact and the deadline hurtling our way, my subconscious tries to help.

Do a bunch of the hard rows ahead of time,
and finish up the easy rows in the car.

Dum-Dum: Every other row is easy. But thanks for your input.

And I realize that life is just like knitting in this regard. I can’t work ahead on the hard bits when I have time, attention, and space to spare for them on my lap or in my day, and save the easy bits for when I’m not at my best. Life just comes as it comes, easy and hard muddled up together. I have to swing from one to the other pretty regularly (and, in life, often without warning) and without dropping a stitch.

You can’t bank knitting rows.

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6 Responses to Knitters in Cars

  1. barbara carlson says:

    But life gives it to you straight — as it were.

    Every other line (as per the jpg up top) does NOT look dead easy to me!

    So, is your “new” towel going on a road trip?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – The easy lines don’t show in the chart. 🙂 And yes, the new towel is going on a road trip.

  2. You are mightily ambitious! That puts me firmly in the TV knitter category. On hiatus. Best of luck with your trip, your baby blanket, and life.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – 🙂 More bored than ambitious, I fear. (Which raises the question: How much of what looks like ambition is actually boredom?) Anyway, I never thought knitting would be a slippery slope, but so it has proven to be. One project leads to five others or somesuch. At any rate, an R(0) greater than 1.

  3. Ken from Kenora says:

    Go for the gusto Isabel, bike and then unicycle knitting next year.

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