I finished my first {motorcycle knitting} project and lived to tell about it.

imageIt’s just a little cotton dishcloth, but it’s the first knitting project that I’ve completed while riding as a passenger on the motorcycle.  This is what I learned:

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1.  Use circular needles.  I started out using straight needles but my motorcycle knitting mentor quickly reminded me to use circular ones.  If I drop a needle from one hand, my work won’t go anywhere, like down the highway.   Genius.  Thank you, Judy Theuerkauf.  For this project, I used 16″ 5 US/3.75 mm circular needles.  Perfect.

2.  Pick a small project.  Cotton dishcloths are the perfect size to keep behind and low.  “Flappage” is a major issue.  Keep your project size small to control flappage.  I’m not sure that flappage is a word, but you get what I mean.  At 70 miles an hour, you gotta control the flappage.

3.  Use a yarn with tooth.  I love Sugar ‘n Cream and this color is called Blue Jeans.  One-hundred percent cotton yarn has some grip to it and with that wind whipping by, you need all the grip you can get.  Save the alpaca for another day.

4.  Pick a pattern with an easy repeat.  There’s no room in your lap for a book or instruction sheet.  The pattern almost needs to be one that you can memorize.  Sometimes I cheat and write an abbreviated pattern on a post-it note and stick it inside my pack (see #7 below for pack info).  I love this little pattern book by Leisure Arts that has tons of nifty patterns that keep me amused and are quick learns.

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5.  Pull the skein from the inside so that there’s no tangling or a lot of excess live yarn.  If you pull too much, it will fly toward the front of the motorcycle and you don’t want to give your driver any distractions.  Chief can put up with an occasional needle point in the back, but yarn flying past his helmet is a no-no.

6.  Cast on and begin a couple of rows before you get on the bike.  You’ll have a firm start as you begin knitting on the road.

7.  Use something to contain and control your yarn.  Thank goodness I saved all of our 80’s fanny packs because they are perfect for this purpose.  I know you’re thinking, “thank goodness,” too.  I double-loop the strap around Chief’s backrest and it sits perfectly in front of me.  My hank of yarn is in the big zippered pouch and it’s zipped so that there’s only just enough room for the yarn to easily pull through.  So handy.  What to do if your bike doesn’t have a back rest?  I think you could strap the fanny pack to your thigh or put it on loosely around your waist, or Judy suggests pulling the yarn from a small day pack worn by the driver.   Another great idea!  Bonus points for the fanny pack >>>> the handy front pocket is a great keeper for my cell phone.

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See, I’ve already started my next project.

8.  Don’t give up easily.

Okay.  I probably need to answer this question for you…exactly WHY IN THE WORLD are you knitting on a motorcycle?  Well, I love to knit AND I love to ride a motorcycle.

Because, this happens

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riding on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,

and thisimagesunset rides across Southern Indiana,

and this

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these are my people.

And sometimes, we take the interstate to make time, which isn’t particularly interesting and is sometimes, monotonous.  Knitting helps to pass the time on those long stretches of road and I really enjoy it.  It does, however, take a little practice and adjustment to conquer the wind and the bumps and the flappage.  DON’T GIVE UP.   You can do this.  Just like learning a new stitch or series of stitches, you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll be cruising along before you know it.

Are you a knitter?  Do you knit anywhere unusual? Tell me all about it…

I’m casting on my next project and we’re hitting the road!

#harleydavidson #riderforlife #everydayworkdate

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