I wonder how non-knitters do this

At the end of July I cast on for a Locke St. cardigan for myself. The original sample still lives at the Purple Purl, which is actually fine with me, and over the summer when I was there looking at the colours of Tanis‘ yarns, and I just really liked the look of her new Sprout green so I grabbed an armload of it and walked right over to the cash register. I’ve been wanting one of these cardis for me (along with a few other patterns of my own design…this may be an ongoing fall project) so I just cast it on hoping I’d be done it by the time it was starting to get cool.


True to plan, now that September is nearing the halfway mark, I’m finishing up the second sleeve of this Locke St. cardi, and if the knitting gods are with me should be onto the collar and finishing this weekend. (Well, that and if I don’t get distracted by other projects. This is also highly probable.) At the same time, I’ve just started a new day job in Toronto, which means about an hour of train commuting time at either end of the day, so the bulk of this project has been accomplished in small chunks of time while commuting.

LockeSt train knitting

It is an interesting cultural phenomenon that when I mention this to regular non-knitting people, they respond with commiseration about how awful it must be to have to get up that much earlier and have that much travelling time in the day. When I mention it to knitters, on the other hand, they don’t even blink. They just say “oh wow, so you must get so much knitting time on train then!” It’s completely true. No one’s saying it’s not a bit of an ordeal to be a commuter (I’m pretty sure the bleary-eyed Starbucks lineups are proof of that), but when you have knitting then it pretty much instantly becomes mobile knitting time, and that makes the whole thing just loads easier. And then after a month of train knitting it turns out you can have most of a sweater done.


Onwards with more sweaters! Also looking forward to attending the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair this weekend. As per usual I have no idea what yarn I’ll be getting, or how much (really I have no need of any more, any time soon…not that that ever stops any of us), but it’s always nice to peruse.

I hope you have some good knitterly time this Thursday!






  1. What a lovely yarn and cardigan!

  2. That looks so beautiful! I’m currently knitting with some of Tanis’ yarn for the first time, and I am desperately in love.

  3. I envy those who can have a productive commute! Alas, I live in a region that has pretty abysmal public transportation, so morning and evening transit finds me behind the wheel instead of the knitting needles. It will be wonderful to see your finished cardi–I don’t know how you can bear to part with your creations. I’d be so tempted to sneak the sample back on the first chilly day!

  4. That is absolutely beautiful! The cables and the yarn go perfectly together.

  5. nellirajalarahko · ·

    There have been times that I went couple of stops too far on bus because I was knitting and didn’t realise it was time to get off… The sweater looks great so far!

  6. And when I get someone to drive on a road trip….!! I don’t know how non-knitters do it, either. Lucky you! WIN-WIN!

  7. That colorways is fantastic! Also, I agree, I only have a 20 min drive to work but if I had a longer commute I would find a way to make it a train situation so I could knit. I have my Monday morning meetings at work to thank for most of the knitting I’ve finished lately. I don’t know how people sit through those without it!

  8. Glenna, lovely sweater: color and pattern! I often fondly remember the Starbucks queue right by the Portland Convention Center before morning classes at SS11. How the line doubled back on itself & provided a slow moving knitwear exhibit for all.

    Shoelaceswitcher: I unfortunately work somewhere that does not believe in the centering and attention to what’s going on around one’s self that knitting provides. Therefore, I sit through meetings being even less attentive than I might be — first because I’m not knitting and second because, since I’m not knitting, I’m day dreaming of knitting.

  9. I love taking the train all the time but especially when I have a project. It’s a wonderful way to get a lot of knitting done, and I always feel super productive, instead of like I’m wasting time just sitting on the train.

  10. I have knitted my way through more hours of meetings than could possibly be counted, and just like Shoelaceswitcher, that is what keeps me concentrated on the meetings and the issues. And then we get to those who say they don’t have “time” to knit, but somehow manage to have time to watch tv, etc. Thanks for your delightful posts.

  11. I’m a yoga teacher and I spend hours travelling around the city on the subway/buses/streetcars to get to my classes. It’s all knitting time, all of it! Waiting for classes to start? Knitting time! Between classes? Knitting time! In the summer, I bike to my classes instead and I *really* miss that time to knit. I’m looking forward to fall! πŸ˜€

  12. I am also a commuting knitter – I have a 1 1/4 hour commute (one way!) twice a week, and a half-hour commute (also one way) the other days. Socks are my favourite knit for train and bus rides, and I get quite a few pairs done during the year.
    And as I am also a frequent traveller for work (many hours on planes and trains), I always carry my knitting with me!

  13. Beautiful yarn and the sweater will be gorgeous! I am jealous–I wish I rode the train every day so I could knit!

  14. I can’t knit on public transport. I think I have a knitting technique that isn’t that stable (learned it from my grandmother: I throw the yarn over with my right hand each time, instead of with just one finger) and seats are rather narrow on the metro. Often when I take the metro or train there aren’t any seats anyway.

  15. This yarn is gorgeous! You knit beautifully x

  16. You’re absolutely right! I love riding in a car while someone else drives so I can knit. Sadly, public transportation in my city is horrible and largely nonexistent. I have often wished I could ride the bus to work. Knit on!

  17. I always take my knitting on the train. And usually wish my commute were longer so I could keep on knitting πŸ™‚

  18. I regularly travel back by ferry to my home country (Holland). It’s a 6.5 hrs crossing and for me that is guilt-free knitting time: time you can’t do anything else that you are supposed to be doing, such as washing-up, hoovering, sorting out admin. I love it.

  19. I also knit during meetings. I make sure that the project is not too complicated so that I can interact and respond (just to let others know that I AM paying attention). I am finally at the point where people expect me to bring knitting. Faculty meetings a waste of time? not if I have my knitting. πŸ™‚

  20. That’s a trenchant observation. My husband cons me into long car trips by saying, “Think how much knitting you’ll get to do!”

  21. So, so true. And like Bette in the comments, my whole family is on to the idea of tempting me to undertake what to a non-knitter might just be boring!

  22. I agree! I take public transportation three times a week: not only are my projects moving much faster, I get to work and back home in a much better mood than on the days I drive!

  23. Beautiful! I love Tanis’s yarn and this colourway really makes the pattern pop. I too am looking forward to the fair this weekend, I’m sure I will buy many skeins I don’t really need but with fall right around the corner I am sure “the house could use some extra insulation”

  24. That’s exactly why I started knitting! I had loads of extra time at the kids dance practice…what was I going to do, sit there and read? Knitting can be far more social than reading, and looks better than being glued to your phone!

  25. Had to laugh at your story. I actually leave for work a half hour early just so I can sit out in the car in peace and quiet and knit. loveeee your cardigan!

  26. Gorgeous yarn! I completely agree with you about commute-time. When I was in grad school I took the bus to campus – about 45 minutes each way. Fellow-students always thought that was awful but I thought it was an hour and a half of knitting time daily, and what could be wrong with that?

  27. Wow… I know what you mean. When I lived in the Bay Area that was my favorite thing I didn’t I’m commuting into the city everyday.

  28. Oops.. that was… I did so much knitting on my train commute into the city everyday.

  29. I totally agree with the knitters. Perfect to be a captive, no kids, no phones, just time to knit. I do this when I have any type of medical appointments since being captive is the main ingredient to getting lots of knitting done. Looks like another beautiful sweater. I am 18 months past losing my husband and I am just not sure that I can stay with an involved pattern so instead I have chosen Noro yarn so there is some interesting things going on but I am not involved. Thanks

  30. I just had to drive 5 hours one way across Pennsylvania for work. The only thought I had was ‘hmmm….how can I get someone to drive me so I can knit?’!!!

  31. Looking awesome! That cardigan in Sprout will be a great wardrobe addition. Is it crazy that I kinda miss commuting? I used to commute just 15 minutes each way on the metro to work and that’s when I did almost all of my sock knitting. I knit a lot less socks now that I’m no longer a commuter…

  32. I have to drive for my commute, but whenever I go into the city (New York City), my knitting comes along for the train ride. Also, during the school year, my daughter has an acting class on Saturdays for 1-3 hours, too far from home to go home andvcome back again, but a block away from a library. That’s my main knitting time. I’ve really missed it this summer and am really excited that her classes start up again in two weeks!

  33. I have a long daily commute and public transport isn’t practical for the trip (I tried. 4 transfers & 2.5 hrs each way). I often think how much more fun my commute would be if I could knit on the way. I plan on getting a self-driving car as soon as they are available to the public and reasonably affordable.

  34. Gorgeous knitting, not sure I could do anything that involved on a commuter train, mind you many of them around here are so packed that you’re lucky if you have enough room to stand without feeling that your personal space is compromised. I don’t commute, but do enjoy knitting on a not-too-full train, there’s something special about that time out as others have said.

  35. That’s so true! I get quite a bit of knitting done in little spurts while waiting for school, or dance practice, or Scouts to get out. Doctors’ offices, too!

  36. I can choose between two metro-lines on my way to work. I always take the one where I can sit down and knit the longest! Long car-trips are also perfect for knitting. But I would not dare take my knitting into a meeting (although I would love to), so instead, I bring a knitting pattern dissimulated in between the other papers!

  37. Beautiful sweater! Great having all that undisturbed knitting time πŸ™‚

  38. I totally “hear” you…I have a 45 minute commute, that, unfortunately, I have to drive, so I can’t get any knitting done. On the few days when I’ve been able to carpool I knit, but that doesn’t happen often…and I HATE the commute!

  39. I spent 20 years commuting by GO from northeast Scarborough to downtown Toronto. I found it to be a very civilized way to travel. Not being a morning person, it gave me time to come fully awake before i reached my desk and at the end of the day, it was a time to relax from the day’s stresses. I read, knitted and did other forms of needlework to pass the time and gear up or wind down as needed. Now that I am retired, I take my knitting everywhere I can on vacation trips, riding as a passenger in the car and even to some of my volunteer meetings.

  40. I do the same thing with socks at work. I have a 15 min break and lunch. I have finished I can’t say how many pairs of socks in just that small amount of time! Don’t let one moment go to waste when you have needles and a bit of string…


  41. Great sweater, totally agree with the commuting part! I’m a teacher so whenever I’ve got a spare hour I’ll give it a go as well. Where the students can’t see me, lol πŸ™‚

  42. Mobile knitting time definitely makes the commute nicer! I’m always jealous of how much better Toronto’s public transport is than anything around here. My new commute is really short though, so I can’t really complain too much…

  43. Since picking up knitting about 6 yrs ago, I started to get my husband to do most of the driving. We always had split the driving pretty well 50/50. However, I realized today (during the 1 1/2 hr drive to the Kitchener Kitting Fair,) that my driving skills are deteriorating, as I just don’t drive more than a couple of times a week – and those are just short hops into town. It is a skill just like any other skill – need regular practise. More driving, less knitting in my future.

    Oh, and like you, I didn’t go to the show looking for anything in specific, but came home with 17skeins. Oops…

  44. SweaterFreak · ·

    I am about to go back to commuting. As much as I hate the commute, I used to get tons of knitting done on it. Do you bring a portable light so you can knit in the evening?

  45. Beautiful yarn and pattern!

  46. Lovely yarn. I am visiting Toronto (from the UK) the week after next and was looking to buy some local yarn, you have given me an idea for a shop to go to! We are going on a camping holiday and I guess my husband will do nearly all the driving – so I’ll do all the knitting…

  47. Ooh, the cardigan is looking gorgeous, and congrats on the new job! I must admit that though I’m a die-hard knitter, I prefer to read on the train. The time flies by!

  48. I often wish I had a train commute (rather than the 25-minutes I drive each day) for this very reason.

    What a beautiful yarn. Can’t wait to see the end product.

  49. Totally agree. My commute is actually a 30 minute walk, or a walk and short bus ride. I knit socks either way (walking slowly while not looking at my socks). I find this very relaxing.

    I’m also always astonished at the many non-knitters that say they don’t have time to knit. You’ve done almost a whole sweater in a month during time that most people would probably overlook. Congrats! It’s lovely.

  50. I love the colour!
    I understand what you mean. i used to love when my 40 minutes commute to and from work turned into a 1h30 journey (as long as I was already on the train). That would give me a lot more time with my crochet. Only people who can use this time productively can understand the bright side of long commutes.

  51. How true! Too bad I didn’t think about it when I was travelling by train about 3 hours per day 3 times a week..
    I can’t wait till you finish the cardi. looks delicious!

  52. I feel you! and i guess that’s another point on “why you should knit” list! xD

  53. Glenna, so true about the commuting! Each year when the snow comes and I have to switch from cycling to streetcar, I think, “At least I’ll get more knitting done.” Give me a project and a good podcast and the travelling is so much easier.

  54. that yarn is stunning & I envy you for 2 solid one hour knitting sessions a day!

  55. […] generally make Rhinebeck the knitting deadline for a finished project they want to wear. My Locke St. cardigan is definitely going to be coming with me, as it is now finished (I really am going to get photos of […]

  56. Eight years ago I had a big train commute but I didn’t knit so I slept in the mornings and chatted on the phone in the evenings. I didn’t mind not having anything to do in the mornings because the extra hour of sleep on the train was much needed but coming back in the evenings I sure wouldn’t have minded having a knitting hobby! Now I knit but I no longer have that commute, I drive 10 minutes to work. Isn’t life ironic! =)

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