Friday, August 10, 2012

A Brain in a Snowglobe

We're on our way home after spending the past few days visiting friends in Colorado. It takes about 20 hours of driving, which is a long time, but not so bad for someone like me who spent most of her summer holidays as a child exploring most of the United States in the back of her parents' station wagon. It is not surprising that I have learned to occupy myself during long periods of travel.

The drive was punctuated by several things to entertain us. Sign reading, for example. "Back up! You missed Johnsontown! Why? Shops! Good food! Souvenirs!"

Every so often, we'd turn on the radio to see what the local stations were playing. In Wyoming, we heard this ad: "Ever wondered why they have braille on the buttons at ATMs? Maybe it's for those people who like to drive by feel! Bring all your autobody repairs to Jake's Autobody on Main!"


Watching out the window, I'd see all sorts of animals: various and sundry livestock like cows, horses, and the occasional flock of sheep, still somewhat naked from their seasonal shearing. One time, I swear I saw a group of Thomson's gazelle grazing in a field with some brown cows. Given that we were somewhat removed from Africa, that was a bit of a surprise... But then again, they could have just been some deer.

And, of course, sometimes I'd knit.

The problem with knitting during travel is that I am somewhat prone to motion sickness. It's like having a brain in a snowglobe: easily shaken, and takes a few minutes to settle down. It never used to be a problem for me: as a kid, I would burn through novels a-plenty while we drove through Death Valley, or Illinois, or Wisconsin. Nowadays, I'm lucky to be able to look down at a map without my brain spinning.

That means that any and all travel knitting must meet the following criteria:
  1. No lace. This is no time for reading a chart or checking stitch counts.
  2. No cables, unless they are simple braids that can be done without a cable needle. I'm pretty sure there are at least two cable needles marooned forever under the passenger-side seat.
  3. Colourwork is possible, but only if it is a project that is well-established and only uses two colours.
  4. The entire project must fit in one large freezer bag. I don't like risking the loss of a sleeve in the middle of the Midwest because I took it out and left it somewhere.
So that leaves boring ol' garter stitch or stockinette scarves, right?

Maybe not.

This is Lazy Cole, my version of Brigit Freyer's Lazy Katy shawl, which I am knitting in King Cole DK that I got during my visit to Belfast a couple of years ago. Fitting that this travel project is being knit with a yarn purchased during my travels, no?

It's a good travel pattern, at least for the moment. Simple, steady increases and not much counting required until I get closer to working on the border. The yarn is slowly changing colours, which keeps me motivated to keep on knitting. "I'll just keep going until I finish this colour," I keep muttering. It's been a fun diversion, and I'm excited to see how it looks when it is finished.

For now, we have another day's drive ahead of us, and I get another few hours to knit, which is a pleasure, as long as the motion sickness stays at bay. If it rears its ugly head, I can always go back to listening to the radio or watching for gazelles.

Ah, travel...


Anonymous said...

If you were in Wyoming, I'm willing to bet your gazelle were Prairie Pronghorn Antelope ...look 'em up!

AdrieneJ said...

Thank you! I believe we get those in Alberta, too. I shall have to compare!