Trucker yarns 2.0

WALCOTT, Iowa — According to the influential business newspaper the Wall Street Journal, more and more truck drivers are using their downtime to knit.

Yes, knit, as in sweaters and scarves and booties for their grandkids.

The newspaper introduces readers to one Dave White, who drives for the Iowa-based Don Hummer Trucking Corp., which last year organized a sewing club that “encourages drivers who are nimble with a needle to show off their handiwork at headquarters.”

Another driver in the story is Kevin Abraham-Banks, a 37-year-old trucker with a shaved head and dragon tattoos, who hauls lettuce between California and the Midwest.

He says he learned to knit last year after loads dropped off. Abraham-Banks is quoted as saying, “creating something tangible beats sitting around the truck stop ‘talking about who has a bigger radio.’”

He has already finished a scarf and socks, and is currently at work on a sweater for the wife.

"The fact that you can take strands of thread and basically make something out of it, that’s awesome I think," he tells the Journal. "It’s pretty cool stuff, man."

Some knitters try to stay in the linen closet, as it were.

Thomas McConnaughy, a knitting-needle-wielding (try saying that three times fast) grandfather who hauls cereal out of California, doesn’t let on to his driving colleagues that he keeps 15 coils of yarn in his cab and makes what he describes as "really cute slippers."

"In the truck stops, it’s usually a bunch of guys watching football," he says. "If I sat down with my knitting, I think there would be some funny remarks."

The first guy mentioned, Dave White, says he tried several down-time hobbies before deciding to become a quilter. Now his sleeper berth is home to a $179 sewing machine and an assortment of supplies and he has completed seven quilt tops.

White showed the reporter from the Wall Street Journal a quilt with illustrations of fruit, and, the paper states, he “emphasized the importance of strategically placing quilt blocks so that ‘you don’t get three lemons in a row or two plums in a row.’”

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