Susan Manzke
Now Media Group

Sometimes I feel trapped in winter.

Mostly it's a self-imposed imprisonment. When the weather is bad — slippery, snowy, freezing — I hate to leave home. I prefer my house to life in the cold world, so I can most often be found at home.

Bob's here, too. He prefers home to most any place no matter the weather. When it's nice for travel, I have to pry him away from the farm.

Since our cupboard is full, I can even put off going for groceries to once a week and then have one big haul. When I do go to town, there are all kinds of errands I have to run: bank, post office, library and maybe out to lunch.

There's always something to do at home. Of course, I could/should be writing. I do that until I tire of it and then change to something else. This winter, scanning photos and slides has taken up a lot of my time.

Since my brain doesn't work well in the evening, which comes too early, I do simple knitting or crocheting projects.

One day, as I surfed the web, I found directions for a hand-knit scarf made with chunky yarn. This pattern intrigued me because no needles were used. The yarn was cast on to the knitter's arm/wrist. The knitting went from the left arm onto the right arm and back again.

In my stash of yarns, I had a skein that was perfect for this scarf. All other work was set aside as I began casting on 12 stitches on my wrist.

The directions said this scarf would only take a half hour. It took me that long just to get set up to knit.

I was supposed to make sure my loops were loose so they would come off easily. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't do this. Another problem was knitting backwards from my right hand to my left. I never got so tangled up in a project since my mother taught me how to knit when I was a kid.

The chunky scarf still intrigued me, but I didn't want to do it on my arms. When the phone rang, I had to take my tangled self across the house to answer it. There was no setting it down so I decided to search for something to replace my arms. In the basement, I found a thick dowel rod. That wasn't as thick as my arm but resembled the woman's thin arm on the internet. Anyway, it was time to get Bob involved.

My husband didn't mind the interruption. He was already grumbling at his computer as he worked on our bookwork.

I explained to Bob that I wanted to cut the dowel in half to make two chunky knitting needles.

Cutting the wood was a breeze. Forming the pointy ends wasn't so breezy though.

The last time I made knitting needles, they were thin enough to fit into a large pencil sharpener. This time the dowels were far beyond that, but I figured Bob would come up with some kind of solution.

I left him in the basement with my project and went into the kitchen to make lunch. From beneath my feet, I heard all kinds of mechanical noises. The smell of burnt wood soon drifted up from below.

By the time lunch was ready, Bob had two knitting needles for me to try.

The points of the needles weren't exactly like others in my kit. They were stubby but were ground to a point of sorts. As soon as lunch was cleaned up, I gave them a try.

The homemade chunky needles did work. I had to take my time with them as they didn't exactly lift the yarn, but at least I wasn't bound to my project any more.

I'm not sure if I like the scarf results, but at least I'm working on my 30-minute project again. If you care to try it, just Googkle arm knitting, stop in a yarn shop or search the library's how-to section.

Maybe you won't fumble like me and will be able to make it with your own two arms. Good luck.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;