Long haul knitting – socks that became mittens

In theory there’s plenty of time on a long haul flight for knitting. However, when you get up at 3am to drive to Heathrow, by the time you take off around 11am, you’re already feeling a little sleepy. Still you pull out your knitting and enthusiastically begin.

Knitted Mittens

If you read my blog regularly you may recognise these as the socks that turned into mittens, that I was keeping as my handbag knitting project back in August.

Anyway, back to 35,000 feet, two months later, they haven’t grown any – since I haven’t been anywhere with just my handbag. Still plenty of time to knit now…

I start knitting. Lunch turns up. I eat. I start knitting again, but food has only added to my sleepiness. I try to nap, but I can’t. I knit on – but you can’t knit for too long with tiny needles without your hands hurting. I take a break. A snack box arrives. I eat. I knit. I take a break. I knit. Another meal arrives – lunch again because of the times zone thing. I attempt another food induced snooze with no luck. I knit. I take a break. I knit. We land. I’ve still got the ribbing knit.

So eleven hours flight time = 1/2 a mitten knitted. Not great productivity! Still, as I was headed on holiday, it didn’t take too long before I finished.

Cable lace mitt 1 Cable Lace mitt 2

This experience left me surprised by how lethargic I felt about my knitting on that the flight. It was also the first time I realised – because my hands never hurt at home when I knit – how much I don’t sit still when I’m knitting in the evening. I put this mostly down to my love for infinite cups of tea and Mr Hicks’ constant need to be let out, to keep checking the garden’s still there.

I suspect this overestimation of the time I knit for helps fuel my gross overestimates of how quickly I can knit an item. To this end, I’ve joined Ravelry’s NAKNITMO group to induce me to keep a check of how much I knit in an evening.

Anyone got any thoughts on how not to overestimate what we achieve? I’d love to know what they are.

Bekki Hill

25 thoughts on “Long haul knitting – socks that became mittens

  1. 🙂 Your post on the knitting on the flight, really made me smile. If you ask me, they fed you often enough to keep you sleepy and relaxing and not needing any further attention during the flight. 🙂
    At least you did get knitting done. They look lovely. I would probably have slept on the flight as well.

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  2. I really like those mitts! 🙂 a poignant post for me, I can’t eat any of the food, which probably helps me a bit…I have a beanie planned for 2 consecutive 11 hour flights coming up in a fortnight, will let you know if I get past the ribbing or just read the whole time 🙂

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  3. That mitten looks great! I always grossly underestimate how long a task will take me. For some reason, I think I can make things happen as quick as I think about them happening. To stop myself from buying too much yarn for different projects, I just say to myself hours and hours and hours and days and weeks, maybe months worth of time will be dedicated to this ball of Yarn, do you want that? If it scares me out of buying it, then I know right there that it isn’t worthwhile for me. ☺ I’m the worst person to go yarn shopping with. ☺

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  4. How on earth do you get knitting needles through Security? Mr. T. commutes between France and the U.K. on a weekly basis and they are so strict, I’m sure he’d never get away with anything so ‘pointy’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you check they’re on most airlines – or at least those I’ve flown with – approved lists and no one’s ever objected to them going through security or as I’ve knitted on the plane.

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  5. Way back in grad school, I learned the “rule of 3s” for research: your project will take 3 times as long as you think, require 3 times as many subjects, and cost 3 times as much as estimated. I have found this to be a useful rule for most things in life, as I tend to overestimate what I can get done in a certain amount of time (and hassles and expenses do seem to multiply).

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  6. I seem to have the opposite problem lately…I’ve been out of work due to an injury for almost three months, and I’ve been using a lot of that time for knitting. I’m not that fast of a knitter but stuff seems to be flying off the needles! It’s going to be sad to go back to “real life” and a more normal level of production.

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  7. I agree with you about aching hands if you don’t take constant breaks, especially when knitting on very short needles. We have no Mr. Hicks to need attending to, like you, but the endless cups of tea are a must.I think you’ve a valid point about underestimating how much time a garment/item will take to knit, simply because we don’t take these breaks and other distractions (like people at the door, or visitors in general) into account. I laughed when I read about you during flights. Lethargy gets to everyone – you just have to glance around at the snoring passengers! Early morning flights, and lack of sleep the night before because of them, doesn’t help at all. I haven’t knitted on a plane – I usually read – but If I nod off it’s only for a few minutes at a time. I often envy those who can go ‘bang’ for ages.

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