Knitting In Spare Moments

Happy Easter, my knitting friends! Welcome to another weekly update to the blog. I’m Greg, the Knitting Daddy. If you’re a repeat visitor, welcome back! If this is your first time visiting, I hope you find your stay enjoyable. You may want to check out my knitting origin story to learn how I started knitting almost two years ago. Feel free to poke around in the old entries and read what you find interesting. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

This week, I’m going to be talking about the knitting that we do in our spare moments. But first, let’s take a look at the other knitting activity that’s been going on in my world.

This Week In Podcasts

It was a relativity slow week in podcasts for me this week, but I did get to listen to great episodes of Ewe University,, Knit 1 Geek 2, TwinSet Designs, and CraftLit.

In the classroom of Ewe University Episode 21, Dr. Kelly talks about the medical benefits of laughter. As always, the classroom segment was very interesting. I also very much enjoyed the review of the ChiaoGoo Twist Complete Interchangeable needle set. I am especially grateful for the tip of how to use the interchangeable needles to easily insert a lifeline in your knitting.

In Episode Seven: Design Process, Part 1, Pam and Hannah talk about the process of designing. It was a fascinating discussion, and I’m thrilled that they labeled it “Part 1,” which implies that a Part 2 will be coming. I have very some rough ideas for knitting designs floating in my head, and it was nice to hear how some great designers think about their designs, and what their process is. As is the case whenever a podcast episode is released, this is the Knitting Daddy must-listen podcast episode of the week.

Knit 1 Geek 2 Episode 88: Do the Loki Pokey was full of crushing on Tom Hiddleston (he plays Loki in the Avengers and Thor movies). The hosts also start getting into full swing for their Hobbit-A-Long. They are working on an ambitious project in preparation for the next of the Hobbit movies. I’m not even thinking of joining in, but I am excited to follow along!

In TwinSet Designs Episode 38: Marco…Polo!!, Jan and Ellen share a great tip for hiding lots of ends in a striped blanket. They also talk about the upcoming TwinSet Summer Camp. I wish I could go. This episode also provided the most laughter I’ve experienced listening to podcasts in a long time, as Jan and Ellen play a game of Marco Polo throughout the episode. The game continues to be played In their Ravelry group.

I continue to enjoy North and South on the Craftlit podcast.

I’ve recently received some good suggestions for other podcasts to listen to. I’m going to do my best to start adding some of them into my podcast rotation. As I’ve said before, my podcast run-down is woefully inadequate — I only talk about the podcasts I listen to, and there are tons and tons of other great knitting podcasts out there. If you know of any, drop me a comment or an email and let me know about them so I can check them out, too.

This Week In Ravelry

It’s been a pretty tame week in Ravelry for me. I haven’t added items to my queue ore marked any favorites. Mostly, I just hang out in a handful of discussion boards and try to keep up with the comings and goings in the life of my knitting friends there.

This Week On My Needles

I finished 2 projects this week! The first is still a surprise, so no pictures or talk about it yet. The cat will probably be out of the bag in a month or so on it. The second project was a couple of dishcloths I knitted over the weekend, which is a perfect segue to the next section of this post, so let’s move right to it.

Knitting In Spare Moments

I love to knit. Don’t we all? I cherish the time I get to snuggle up in my favorite chair in the living room, pull out a big knitting project, and just go to town on it. I can knit for hours on end, sometimes in solitude, sometimes while chatting with my family. Those are magical moments.

Not all knitting moments are so magical.

Sometimes, the moments we have available to knit have to be squeezed in. Perhaps it’s while we’re in the waiting room at the doctor or dentist. Perhaps it’s in the few minutes before a movie starts (or while they’re playing the trailers). Maybe we can take advantage of the time when we’re a passenger on a car trip. Or maybe like me, we find ourselves with some spare moments at about 3:30 in the morning, hanging out in the choir room at church, waiting for it to be time to go join hundreds of band members for breakfast in preparation for the Easter Sunrise Service. What are we going to do with those 20 minutes? And the countless other 5, 10, 20, 30 minutes just like those?

We’re going to knit! But what? We’re not going to pull out your half-finished cardigan. Or that afghan. Or that very detailed lace or cable pattern. We need something simple. Something small. Something that we can knit without having to refer to the instructions or pattern.

Two things immediately come to mind: (simple) socks and dishcloths.

I know some knitters who keep a pair of socks on their needles all the time. They keep them in the glove box of their car, or in a drawer at the office, so that they’re always just a quick reach away for knitting. I’m not really a sock knitter (yet), so keeping a set of socks on the needles all the time just doesn’t appeal to me for my knitting in spare moments. Instead, I like to knit dishcloths — they are quick, mindless, and extremely portable.

This weekend, I played my trumpet in the Easter Band for the Sunrise Service at Home Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC. This service has been taking place, unchanged, for 242 years and attracts thousands of worshipers. This is something that I’ve been doing for 15 years. They have the logistics for this service down pat now, which is great, because there are a lot of people involved. The band itself consists of several hundred musicians, and thousands of people generally come to worship. The service stated at 6:00am this year, and band members gathered at about 3:30am. We arrive so early because they serve us breakfast and we have the opportunity to meet in a large group to recognize the people who have been involved in this service for decades. It’s a lot of fun, but it involves a lot of standing around doing nothing. There are spare moments between the time we arrive at church and the time we gather for breakfast. There are spare moments between breakfast and the time we head out to the graveyard with our instruments to play. This year, I used those spare moments to knit a dishcloth: I cast on when we got to church, and I was binding off in the car as we were pulling back in front of our house after the services were all over.

Portable Knitting: Dishcloths!

Dishcloths make excellent portable knitting. I knitted both of these dishcloths over the weekend, one of which I knitted in the spare moments surrounding the Easter Sunrise Service.

I knitted Gramma’s Dishcloth (Grandmother’s 2nd Favorite) by PJ Allen in Lily Sugar’n Cream Stripes on size US 6 needles. It was the perfect project — it only takes about half a skein of the yarn and the pattern is easily memorizable. I didn’t even keep the project in a project bag. I just put it in my pocket when I wasn’t working on it. It was extremely satisfying to be able to use those spare moments that I am usually simply trying to find ways to stay awake in. Now, I have something to show for that time! It also served as a great icebreaker, and I had several conversations with other people who are knitters and saw me knitting.

I think I’m going to keep a ball of cotton yarn and a pair of US 6 needles in my car from now on. Who knows when I’ll have a few spare moments that I can use to get a row or two knitted in a dishcloth? It will be nice to be prepared with some simple knitting that I can pull out at a moment’s notice in order to fill up those spare moments when they pop up.

What projects are your go-to projects for knitting in spare moments? Join the conversation by leaving a comment with some of your favorite stories about knitting in spare moments. Has any of your spare moment knitting been wildly successful? Have you encountered a spare moment knitting disaster? Share your tips and tricks for spare moment knitting.

Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!


Ravelry: KnittingDaddy

12 thoughts on “Knitting In Spare Moments

  1. Hey, Greg! Thanks for the shout-out (again!). I’m always happy to know that I didn’t just make up that pattern for me and my OCD issues. 🙂 Also, how cool is that sunrise service, and the fact that you play in it?!? Very cool! What a neat Easter tradition. 🙂

    • Hey, Pam! Thank you so much for the comment. I love your pattern. I actually meant to knit the 2nd one without the holes just to see the difference, but I guess when I cast on at 3:30am, I forgot. lol Next time! I’ve got a decent stash of Sugar ‘n’ Cream, so there’s no question that more dishcloths will be in my future.

      The Easter Sunrise Service is really cool, and it’s especially cool to be part of the band. I never thought I’d play my trumpet again after I got out of middle school. Even though I really only play it once a year now, it’s cool to see that I’ve still got some brass chops.

      • I’m not so good at following up to replies, and I forget to check the box to get an email telling me about them, so I am just seeing this reply. I am loving your blog. 🙂

        • Hi, Pam — glad to hear you’re still loving the blog! I know what you mean about keeping up with replies on blogs. I often forget to check the boxes when I make comments and it’s weeks (or months) later before I realize someone replied to a comment I made on a blog. My blog is still small enough that I try to respond to every comment within a few days of it being made.

  2. Vanilla socks are my favorite portable knitting – no thought and little vision required to knit in a continuous circle. 🙂 But I also take along swatches to work on, and lately I’ve been craving knitting a particular mug cozy. It’s a small project and goes quickly, but takes enough concentration that I have to be able to see what I’m doing. I love working with that yarn, and it’s great to have along when I go out with the guys for lunch. They can talk business for hours, and while I find that interesting, knitting keeps me from getting antsy once we’ve finished eating. 🙂

    • Hi, Debbie! Yes, I keep hearing that socks are the awesome thing for portable knitting. I really need to just go ahead and put a pair on my needles and keep them around for me. The dishcloth worked out really well because it was something I could finish quickly, too. But, hey — I want a pair of socks for myself, and they’re not going to knit themselves!

  3. I agree that dishcloths are an excellent portable knitting project. I knit on a dishcloth in the jury room as we were repeatedly required to leave the courtroom so (lengthy) discussions could take place out of our impressionable earshot. Wasn’t sure if the needles would be allowed in the courthouse, but they were cool.

    • Hi, Mary! Thanks for the comment. Knitting while serving on jury duty sounds like a great use of what I expect can be lengthy — and spotty — periods of down time. Having portable knitting like a dishcloth is the perfect thing to be able to start and stop as you get called in and out of the courtroom. Glad they let you keep your needles!

  4. Hmm… I typed a comment for this yesterday, but it seems to have vanished.

    I have not yet trained myself completely to have knitting handy and whip it out when occasions present themselves. I have brought socks to knit when I know there’s a lenghy wait coming – I was working on some for what I knew was going to be a long wait at a medical test appointment, and had several comments from random people. It’s amazing how much interest or curiosity knitting generates from non-knitters. I’ll have to remember to get some cotton yarn and start bringing dishcloths – they’re easy, small, and always handy to have.

    I’ve also started bringing some knitting to the office to work on during lunch, on days when the weather isn’t conducive to taking a walk. I have my Hitchhiker shawl/scarf with me today – it’s a good pattern for social knitting – all garter stitch. I just have to remember to keep track of the rows and do the bind-off stitches every 8th row. I wish i could convice my department head to let me knit during meetings and conference calls (which, I admit, I do at home where they don’t know what they can’t see). There are so many people checking emails and phones while in meetings – I even sat next to a guy watching a golf match on his laptop during one – I would take in a lot more listening while knitting than those people do.

    Oh, well – sorry to ramble. Your Easter service sounds lovely. How nice to participate every year.

    • Hi, Laura! I’m so sorry my blog seems to have eaten your other comment. I don’t see any evidence of it on my end, either. Thanks for taking the time to come back and leave another comment — and don’t worry about “rambling.” 🙂

      I haven’t got to the point where I’ll knit during meetings or conference calls yet (I’m not sure how well that would fly culturally), but I agree it would be a good use of time. There are studies that show people who knit/crochet/doodle during meetings are better able to be involved in the meeting, to better be able to remember things from it. Check out Heather Ordover’s Cognitive Anchoring for more details. Heather’s put together a great site/ebook about all the wonderful benefits. She includes links to all sorts of studies, etc., and hopes that the site can be used as “ammunition” to getting permission to knit/crochet/doodle/etc. during meetings in order to be better workers. Some day, I’ll get brave enough to ask for permission to do that. 🙂

    • Hi, Katy Bug — thanks for the comment! Yes, the pattern you linked is very similar to the pattern I made my first dishrags in this style with. Ever since finding Pam’s modifications that help with the symmetry, I’ve been hooked. It’s the little details that really set off the pattern as having the nice finishing touches. Give the pattern a try and let me know what you think!

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