I’m going to start going for consistency in these headlines – really, I am a person who likes to pay attention to detail!
Ever since I knit the big intarsia bicycles I wanted to find a way to knit a smaller, easier bicycle. I looked and looked on the internet and it seemed that no one but me was interested in knitting small bikes into knitting patterns (I will note that I hadn’t discovered Ravelry at this point… I’m not always an early adopter – if I had been, I might have saved myself a lot of trouble!). I’m also not excellent at drawing – and so I was a bit stuck as to how I could create the bike that I wanted for my knitting patterns.
Then, when my next close friend got pregnant I had to find a way to knit an easier bike or else go back to the big ones. These friends are bike fanatics. They have never owned a car and the husband doesn’t drive. What they do have is a fleet of bikes in their garage, and- they met each other while teaching bicycle safety courses and -they took their honeymoon by bike. These friends are also public transport experts and know everything about putting bikes on trains and busses – they even own folding bikes to make this task a little bit easier.
I knew that if I knit them a sweater it had to have a bike on it somewhere – so I finally sat down and drew one out. In the end I was quite pleased with the result. It’s a nice small bike and it can be added easily to a variety of different patterns. In this case, I decided that the perfect design for this couple would be a train, with bikes on it. I found a train pattern* and modified it to fit onto my sweater pattern. I added the flatbed cars and the bikes to the cars. The wife of this couple works for a transportation authority here in Canada that is in charge of urban trains – so it seemed fitting on many levels.
And so, the bike train was born. I had to laugh at myself when I finished this project. It was also quite challenging to knit – not so much because of the intarisa – but because the train involved two colours and with the background that made three. Three strands of different coloured yarn is tricky to manage. If you are carrying along two strands along the back, the work gets quite thick and bunchy if you aren’t careful. And as usual – sooooo much twisting. I finished the bike train and I had the same experience as when I finished the big bikes. “I’m never knitting this again!” – I was very pleased with the end result – but I also learned that two colours at the same time is about all that anyone is ever going to want to knit. Each time I design a sweater I learn a bit more about what is practical as a knitting pattern and what isn’t. Just because you can turn it into a chart doesn’t mean that it’s going to be very easy to translate the chart into a finished garment .
*(here’s a link to the train pattern that I started with: http://www.knittinganyway.com/freethings/Charts/trucksandtrains.htm)