JFB Christmas Advent Day 17 – Why train Journeys are Perfect for Knitting

KnittingI’ve discovered this little fact this winter because, in the run up to Christmas, I have been making my entire family various knitted garments. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but I’m poor and it’s thoughtful, dammit, thoughtful. Here are a couple of handy tips for knitting while on trains:

1. Do find the seat on the aisle side – you’re not going to be able to knit if you’re sat between someone else and the wall, there’s no room for your elbows
2. This goes for the middle seat, too
3. Do make sure you have time to complete your row before you get to your station and that you note down the row you’ve finished on – many of my hours have been lost to figuring out which row I’ve just completed
4. Do perfect your ‘Yeah, I’m knitting, so what?’ face to use on all the people who stare at you
5. Don’t contemplate all the ways knitting needles could be used as weapons should you need to defend yourself – it’s distracting and you will inevitably make mistakes

I have so far completed four hats and am half way through a scarf. I’m not sure I’m going to finish all of these presents in time, but for all the knitters out there (I think there are a few in SFF circles judging by the regular presence of classes such as Knit Your Own Dalek at conventions) I thought I would share just some of the websites where I find my wool and patterns etc., and some extra tips.

1. Deramores. This is where I buy all of my wool. They have numerous deals that crop up frequently and a huge selection of knitting kit. It’s also the website that is the most navigable. I can’t stand messy websites; this one is clean and easy to use. And you can pay with Paypal.
2. Etsy.  Has some awesome knitting patterns if you’re willing to pay – especially good for beanies
3. Ebay. If you’re looking for vintage patterns, this is a good place to be, but again, you must be willing to pay
4. Ravelry. A great forum for free patterns. My only gripe with this is how difficult the website is to use, but if you’re patient and willing to trawl through thousands of patterns, you will probably find the one you want for free
5. Simple Knitting by Erika Knight. If you’re a knitting beginner, this book is frankly genius. Filled with beautiful illustrations and using simple, instructive language, it is easy to follow and explains everything you will ever need to know
6. YouTube. Have you come up against an instruction you just can’t fathom? YouTube it. There are hundreds of video instructions that will show you what you need.
7. Finally, check out some of the knitting blogs and websites for helpful tips and free patterns. I’ve recently been following this scarf pattern from Cotton & Cloud, which is a simple and easy, but beautiful pattern that grows quickly once you get the hang of the Make Knot (MK) instruction (YouTube it). You can also check out Wool and the Gang, Skein Queen, and Love Knitting.

Good luck with your knitting projects everyone! And If any of you have any tips for me, do leave them below 😀



  1. I once settled in for a 3 hour train ride, took out my knitting and found I had only brought one needle. ONE. In case you were wondering, there is no way to knit with only one needle. I spent three tearful hours making absoutely certain of that.

    • Ha! I’m really impressed that you tried, though! There’s nothing quite as frustrating as settling down to a project then finding that you can’t complete it after all!

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