Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer airplane knitting report

Tuesday I had a very long travel day back from my visit to the nieces in Florida (Bye bye Sarah, bye Alison! Hang in there, Susan, only two more weeks!).

My plan was to fire the starting gun in the Orlando departure lounge and see how far I could get on a single knitting project in a long day of travel - a little over 10 hours to get from Orlando to San Jose. Remind me to get a non-stop next time, ok?

The chosen project is the "Via Diagonale" purse from Spring 2008 knitty. [Rav project link] My mom and I are both knitting Diagonale purses this summer in a cross-timezone mother-daughter knitalong. The knitalong was my idea - see, I'm monitoring the mailing list of a yarn shop in Urbana called "Klose Knit" and I saw that their monthly knitting group is knitting this purse. "A-HA!" I thought. This is how I will hook my mom into going to a knitting group, by starting with the project the group in her home town is knitting! It's a super-cute little purse, so even if it doesn't rope her into meeting people (are you listening, Mother?), at least we'll have cute purses. Hers: cranberry and tan. Mine: Brown and light orange.

I got all my supplies and pattern ready the night before, which was very smart, because I discovered my pattern printout had the section heading: Slip Stitch Pattern and then skipped right to the photo of the purse. No stitch pattern! Oh no! Was the page set up for legal size paper when I printed? I had my computer with me, but no printer, so I stayed up a little later than usual writing out the row by row instructions from knitty. I would not say it was my neatest handwriting. Then I sat back, concerned. How on earth was I going to keep track of these rows? Why didn't the pattern include a chart, for heaven's sake? I went looking and found the designer has published a chart for the Via Diagonale stitch pattern. Hurray! But that meant staying up even later to copy out the dang chart. Sigh.

First leg Uneventful flight with minor delays from Orlando to O'Hare, lovely view of Lake Michigan and the high-rise apartment buildings on the north end of Lake Shore Drive casting long afternoon shadows. [Google map link to the bend at the end of Lake Shore Drive which you can see in my photo, just south of the big wide beach. I hope at least one of you will click that link, since I wasted 45 minutes finding a map to match my photo. Talk about a waste of knitting time!] I knit the entire flight and finished one repeat of the pattern.

Layover In Chicago, I took advantage of the Central Timezone to phone my mum and tell her that I was working on the purse. She's way ahead of me, with 7.5 inches finished already. We plan to line these purses when she comes to visit, um, on Friday this week. :-) So I need to keep cranking I've only got about 1.25 inches so far. The pattern is starting to be visible in the knitting. It is sort of like pointillism or newspaper photographs, because when you get too close, you can't see the pattern at all, just the dots of the two colors. You have to hold it back a bit to see the diagonal lines.

Second leg Even though the second flight was longer, I got less knitting time, due to a nap attack around 11 pm Eastern time. Even better... during my nap, one of my balls of yarn escaped out of my knitting bag in row 16 and rolled merrily up the aisle into first class. I didn't notice. When I woke up, I kept right on knitting, until the seat belt sign went off. Then about 15 people stepped on my yarn when they got up into the aisle and I had to stop knitting until everyone cleared the aisle and I rolled up the TEN YARDS of yarn that had unwound as the ball took up position under row 7. Next time I'll use something other than a torn paper shopping bag to keep my yarn in!

(I cheated and took this picture in the morning instead of at the airport.) Our experiment shows that I knit 3 pattern repeats, for 3" of purse body in 10 hours of travel. It's about 28" in circumference, which makes 76 square inches knit. The bag is 192 stitches around, or roughly "3x a sock". I figure I can multiply "purse length" x3 for a good estimate of potential sock progress on the next trip.

And I've got 6.5 more inches to knit to finish this puppy off by the time Mom arrives, so it's back to the knitting for me! I can't wait to see if I make more or less progress by the hour at home with all my distractions around me. I'll bring the purse to knitting meetup tonight. I hope to see some of you there and hear all about your summer travel knitting!


Blogger Bill Walker said...

mother/daughter knitalong sooo cool!

July 21, 2008 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is old "stuff" but we did it--finished those purses or almost as good as finished. Did you get your
I cord done? Did you tell people I am signed up to do I cord "farm outs"? Haven't touched the lining yet since I've been in Wis. Have to get at that. Love, Mom

August 08, 2008 8:06 AM  

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