A long commute and a hank of yarn

13 Oct

I spend about 75 hours a year commuting to work. I suppose that doesn’t sound terribly impressive until you consider that I only make one roundtrip. I am currently about 33 hours into this year’s trip to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, where I work for the U.S. Antarctic program. Those hours include a few plane rides (6) and a lots of quality time in airport lounges. I am currently catching my breath, catching up on sleep, and letting my swollen ankles return to their normal shapely selves in Christchurch, New Zealand, before a final plane ride in a couple of days. At 6 hours, the last leg is hardly the longest, but it does involve a cold, windowless plane the size of a small airplane hanger. 

All this quality time sitting around waiting to leave, waiting to arrive, leaves me plenty of hours to fill, and while, like many travelers, I bring along my iPod and a book, I also travel with a bag of knitting. This time it’s a bag full of lovely green yarn that I bought in Asheville, NC. (I truly believe that western NC has the highest concentration of delightful yarn shops of anywhere in the world). What makes this bag of yarn somewhat interesting is that I bought it in hanks. As in, long loops of yarn twisted together that must be wound into a ball before one can knit with it. Anyone else ever tried winding yarn on a crowded airplane? An interesting endeavor for sure. Particularly because I started the winding project on plane #3, a small Embraer jet….you know, the ones that seat just three people across, with barely enough room for two average sized adults to lean back in their chairs without their shoulders rubbing. The kind of plane that anyone over 5’9″ has to duck a little to walk down the aisle. Yup. That’s the plane on which I thought I would break out the yarn. I discovered that the tray table makes for a fairly adequate place to hang the yarn while winding by hand, the way one might use a chair or a dedicated friend’s arms. Two tray tables might be even more effective, but I didn’t want to push my luck with the strange man sitting next to me. I figured I was already trying his patience with the occasional yarn tail flying into his personal space and the occasional elbow jab. 

I did manage to get two hanks wound into balls on that flight, but had to postpone actual knitting for a bigger plane. My knitting needles were too long to work with in my allotted space!


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