Would you, Could you, on a plane?

Whoosh. I wrote most of this post on Friday – and then I really have absolutely no idea what happened to the weekend. There was a knitting retreat, there were lots of nice people, the days were full and beautiful and long, and at the advent of each of them I thought there would be so much time to finish this post, but then suddenly it would be night time, and I’d be falling over like a tree with another day gone, swearing to make time the next day to have it happen. Then whammo, another wonderful busy train full of knitters would hit me, and now it’s Tuesday. Sorry about that. There was a lot going on.

Thursday the big white and I made the trip from Toronto to Port Ludlow, and I decided to be both bold and fierce and knit the whole way. (I brought a sock just in case – I didn’t want to be knitting project free the whole way if there was turbulence.) It was worth it, and it worked out perfectly.

onaplane 2016-06-03

I came up with a system pretty quickly. Usually I tip beads into the lid of the container (leaving the container open) and then pick them up as I go. The open container seemed really risky on a plane, so what I’d do was open the thing, dip my hook in until as many beads as it would hold were loaded on it… then snap the lid back on and tuck the beads away.  Then I’d lay the crochet hook on my iPad (which also conveniently had the pattern) and the it would snap to the magnetic cover so it couldn’t roll away.   It worked really, really well. So well in fact, that when I landed, I was on row 32.

atludlow 2016-06-03

That Thursday night I had 15 rows to go, and 15 days until shawl deadline.  That left one row a day, and I knew that night that a whole row a day was a complete pipe dream while I was teaching and running a retreat… and I was right.  After knitting as much as I could on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and today, I’m on row (drumroll, please….) 34.

That’s it. 34. Now I’ve got 13 rows to go, and 11 days to shawl deadline, and I’d think that I was getting a ton done on the flight home, but I’m needed there, and so I’ve made a crazy decision to fly home tonight on the red eye from Vancouver to Toronto. I swear that when I made that decision I looked at the fact that it left at 10:30 and arrived at 6am, and thought “Well, that’s a seven and a half hour flight I can sleep on” and booked it. I have no explanation for why I thought that. Did I forget the earth was round? Did I forget about time zones? Was it lost on me that Toronto’s three hours ahead of the West Coast? Did I forget that that flight’s been just under 5 hours every other time I’ve done it?

Who the hell knows what came over me, but the upshot is that this little knitter is getting on a plane from Seattle to Vancouver shortly, and a few hours after that I’ll fly to Toronto, and then I’m hitting the ground running with a full and complicated day on what turns out to be four hours sleep, because yeah – the earth is round, I’m an optimist, and that intersection is not awesome.

Wish me luck.

82 thoughts on “Would you, Could you, on a plane?

  1. Pretend you are back in your ‘I can go without sleep ‘ baby delivering days. Except this time you are delivering a shawl.
    Might work.

  2. Safe travels, and hit the ground running here in TO. BTW, you might need that shawl when you land. It’s back to single digits tonight.

  3. Coffee. Lots of coffeeBut please put the shawl in a ziploc bag. Coffee in the knitting bag is a very bad thing….especially on something so gorgeous.

  4. Check out cro-tatting hooks if you haven’t already. You can fit a lot of beads on one of those for this type of situation.

    Cheers and happy knitting.

  5. Good luck!

    Also, you managed to go from needing to do two rows a day to get the thing done to needing to do one, that’s pretty spectacular progress!

    • A touchingly optimistic comment. But as of the post she was back to 13 rows in 11 days, with the rows getting longer and longer and the days full of pre-mother of the bride-wedding prep, and STEPHANIE – DO YOU HEAR ME? – DON’T DO ANY BIKE STUFF UNTIL AFTER THE WEDDING!!

  6. So glad you’re making progress. I’m guessing future wedding shawls will be made in reverse: the kind that go from the loooong rows down to the shorter ones. Continued wishes for quality knitting time and not dropping beads!

  7. I hope you can get a nap on the flight – and lots of coffee when you get home. Take care of business and then reward yourself with knitting a row tomorrow evening – unless you’re REALLY tired. Better to go to bed early than have to rip out a row done when half-asleep. The Blog sends you much good “finishing” energy.

  8. If you haven’t yet gotten to the rows with all the yo increases, adjust the pattern to omit those which means far fewer stitches in the final rows, AND avoiding needing to knit all those nupps.
    Put your own unique spin on the shawl – it might not be quite the one you set out to make but hey, better complete than sticking to the pattern and running out of time, or sleep. MOB needs her sleep! Best wishes!!!

  9. Best of luck! Now go make some appointments with yourself on your calendar to knit. I swear that sometimes it’s the only way I can get thru a project.

  10. Incentive to knit like the wind on the flight back home: Millie will be REALLY happy to have the Big White Thing back home. You? Not so much unless you have catnip.

  11. Good luck, Stephanie! I hope you managed to get some shut eye on the plane; I never can. Shawl is gorgeous and Megan will look even more beautiful wearing it.

  12. Knitting with beads from the vial on a plane? That’s superpowers right there!

    For future reference, an Altoids tin, or similar, is an excellent place to keep beads: it’s easy to load the crochet hook from the wide, flat opening, and it closes quickly and easily.

    Good luck with those last rows!

  13. Ok, can’t magically spin that flight into useful knitting time, but you can get a little decent shut-eye? It’s not the quantity, but the quality! Give ‘er hell!! 🙂

  14. It will work out beautifully. Good luck, sleep, enjoy your daughter’s big day. Knitting with beads on a plane? Awesome superpower! Finishing the shawl? Piece of cake!

  15. We believe in you! Hundreds of knitters around the world are willing you speedy (accurate) hands and some fabulous daughters who are going to pick up some of the pre-wedding stuff BECAUSE THE SHAWL IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING!!

    Also, your magnetic cover/crochet hook hack is awesome.

  16. UGH! I’ve done that red eye flight before and let me tell you, I arrived one extremely cranky and sleep deprived voyageur! Good luck….

  17. The shawl is gorgeous and so are the words you knit together in the first paragraph. Beautiful writing! And the fact that they describe my life perfectly these days (with different details of course- no retreat, no shawl) is one of the reasons I love your blog.

    Megan is indeed a stealth child and a loving daughter. She clearly had her own plans for her wedding and in her love for you left you just enough time to make your own very personal and motherly contribution to her happiness. No time left for the other details and fights that make wedding planning so crazy sometimes. Best wishes for a beautiful celebration.

  18. So … you and I both know that the shawl has to be finished its a done deal. We also know that if you have to have just a couple of hours sleep between days 10-11 of shawl deadline, you will do what you need to do. Let’s be honest you have lost more sleep and done longer hours for Megan in the past! And on this occasion you know you will have at least two full nights of sleep before the big day, so chill you will be fine, the shawl will be done. But I will send you good vibes anyway. All the best Jacky

  19. Wow, I’m always impressed with people who can sleep on an airplane. I’m lucky to get a total of 20 minutes of sort-of sleep and only if I’m really sleep-deprived. I’m not looking forward to my 18-hour (including overnight at the start) flight later this year (and the flight back, of course). Good news is we arrive at bedtime so I know I’ll sleep well then.

    Lots of luck with the shawl. I suspect you might be doing some modifications at the end!

  20. Ooh, down to the last stretch! Speedy fingers that you are, you will get there for sure. Best of luck, hope it was a good flight.

  21. I had to touch the clock…tick tick tick..lol. Thank you Steph for the retreat – it was amazing as always and filled with wonderful, incredible knitters. The classes are terrific, but the company of so many knitters willing to share tips, skills and conversation is the best part of the time at Port Ludlow. It was exhausting, but inspiring and invigorating too – and my Ravelry library has grown alot from all the wonderful creations I saw on the knitters. Thanks again and best wishes for shawl completion.

  22. I admire you for figuring out beaded knitting on a plane. I have tried that and failed. I am just getting ready to start a Large White Thing as well, only with nupps instead of beads. This is Nancy Bush’s Crown Prince Shawl, which I will be knitting for a baby due in November. I have been watching your project for inspiration.

  23. Best of luck, Steph. You can do it. The Blog has spoken. Was supposed to touch the tree but first touched the person. Duh more coffee needed here!

  24. I must touch the tee shirt, which I’m imagining as a Team Big White shirt while I chant (not aloud, I’m at work!) “Go Steph Go!”. Sending knitting & sleep mojo your way; can’t wait to see Big White on Megan!

  25. Perhaps only knitters can appreciate the thrilling chase scene happening here – but the tension has hit Jason Bourne levels! I’m on the edge of my seat! I know you’ll make it, (just like I know Bourne will escape) but my heart is pounding anyway! Go, Go, Go!!!!

    As for the suggestion that you change the pattern to make it quicker – I’ll point out that weddings are like show business. Only the players know what is supposed to be happening. Just smile like it’s meant to be this way, and the show will go on!

  26. Wishing you the best as you finish the shawl, incorporate more bike rally tasks and rides, and do the mother of the bride things that will beg for your attention in the next few weeks. Good luck.


  27. No I could not on a plane, and I would not on a train. I could not do it here or there; I could not knit that ANYwhere.
    But you are smart, and you can knit. You’ll get it done and be a hit.

  28. For those beads… your system sounds ok, but still risky. Look up Tacky Bob. A Tacky Bob could change your life.

  29. Oh, forgot to add that if you can’t find one, I will send you one. You can email me about it if you like.

  30. Glad you are flying to a modern city where there are lots of coffee outlets…

    Fellow residents of the house – MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS COFFEE IN HOUSE!!!

  31. Crunch time! What is important here is that you be rested and prepared for the wedding.

    The blog can wait. Of course, we want full details after the fact. But I am not going to worry if there are no new blogs for a couple of weeks.

    We undersand. Enjoy!

  32. This is better than a suspense novel. We all KNOW that the shawl will be done in time.. but it’s the getting there that has us on the edge of our chairs.

    Also, I admire your ability to sleep on the plane. I don’t trust the plan enough for that. 😉

  33. You need a Sticky Bead Mat and yes, that’s what it is called. There are a couple of different makes, but it’s a small mat (very portable) with a sticky surface that will hold the beads in place but not so sticky you have to fight to get them off. A bit late now for this trip but for future reference… And that is a beautiful, sparkly shawl. Megan will look beautiful wearing it.

  34. It sounds like you’re trying to do the work of 2 people, only there is only one of you! I don’t know what is keeping you so busy, but, dang girl, your daughter is only going to get married once! Cancel a few things, sit on your butt and get that shawl done! The world will not end if you don’t do a few things on your ‘to do’ list,

  35. Go! Stephanie Go! The shawl is beautiful. Megan will love it! Beading on a plane? That is some serious X-Men type superpower! Too bad you don’t have a time turner. Still I have faith in you, the Blog has faith in you. Congratulations to Megan. Peace and the Blessings of the Knitting Gods be upon you. You Can Do This!

  36. 13 rows in 11 days … sounds so do-able but I know from experience that a little thing called “life” gets in the way and suddenly those 11 days are 1 and you’re no further forward. Imagine if you could give Great White to all us readers and we could all do a row and that beast would be done in no time! Sadly that’s not going to happen so GOOD LUCK …. We have faith. xxx

  37. We believe in Steph!!! I too know you will get there, but am feeling the anxiety/exhilaration (anxilaration?) of the chase.

    Wish I lived in your street and could arrive with vegetarian meal for the family, bust a move in your laundry for an hour or so, get the groceries for you, and generally “share the load” (please imagine that other Sam, of Lord of the Rings, when you read that phrase), so that you have some more time to knit.

  38. So brave to even THINK about beading on the plane! Thank you again for taking this incredibly busy time out of your life to host on all at a magical retreat in Port Ludlow. I learned so much from all of you!

  39. Oh, the drama & suspense (Yarn Harlot style)!

    I guess this isn’t the time to mention the numerous Christmas presents she’ll have to make, especially for the new family members she’s inheriting… ; )

  40. Thanks for revealing this new-to-me beading technique. Inlove beads but it avoid them because i dont want to string. I will now look for ideas to use the hooking technique. NYC bead district, here I come.

  41. So much I want to comment on, but let me pare it down to this:
    “the earth is round, I’m an optimist, and that intersection is not awesome”
    is my new favorite saying. It explains a lot in my life too.

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