How to Avoid Problems With Your Vacation Knitting

Our vacation at the beautiful Baltic Sea last year. This was the view from the lawn behind our apartment.

Our vacation at the beautiful Baltic Sea last year. This was the view from the lawn behind our apartment.

Are you planning a nice summer getaway? Maybe a little trip to a beach or a lake? And of course you are planning on knitting there but you don’t really know what would make a good vacation knitting project? Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a project (or two or three) and some patterns for inspiration.

Destination

Where are you going? The beach, a lake or the forest? Will you stay at a hotel or apartment? Are you doing a city tour? Doing lots of sight-seeing or mostly lazing around in the sun? Or will you be hiking or biking a lot? Spending most of your time with your kids (like me)?

Different vacation spots require different knitting projects. If you’re always on the go a large project like a sweater would be too much hassle. A pair of socks is a favorite project for knitters on the go. They don’t take up much space, don’t need a lot of tools and you get quite a bit of knitting out of them. Also, if you’re keeping them simple and you’ve knit socks before you may not even need a pattern.

If you’re not into socks you could knit a hat out of fingering weight yarn – or thinner if you really want to. Hats out of fine yarn offer more knitting time than thicker ones and are nice accessories for cool fall days. Lightweight cowls are also a nice choice.

Are you camping? Don’t pack too much and stick to smaller projects. You won’t have much room. If you are staying in a hotel or apartment, you’ll have a bit more room and can take more but you will also have to more luggage to carry around.

If you are going to be mostly stationary you can choose almost any project size. But if you will be spending that time out in the sun where it’s (likely) hot, I would advise you to choose a lightweight or small project. I would assume you wouldn’t want to cover yourself up with a heavy woolen blanket on a hot day at the beach. I know I wouldn’t want that.

Lots of boats. Little Wolf found the jellyfish in the ocean much more interesting, though.

Lots of boats. Little Wolf found the jellyfish in the ocean much more interesting, though.

Length of Vacation

How long will you be staying? And how much knitting time do you think you will have? How long does it usually take you to finish projects of various sizes? It’s good to know this as it helps to estimate how much to pack. I know that if I have a lot of knitting time, I can finish a pair of socks in about 2-3 days. (Of course, that hasn’t happened in years; the wolflings keep me busy.) And don’t worry, you will likely pack too much yarn. But it’s better to err on the side of caution, you don’t want to run out of yarn to knit. Long vacations also mean you may have the time to knit something larger – a cardigan or sweater for example.

Portability

If you want to knit at the beach, the lake, restaurants, on hikes or tour buses: Have at least one small and compact project with you. One that doesn’t require a lot of tools, accessories, different yarns, different needles, etc. One where you won’t have to rely on a pattern all the time even. Similar considerations grip as for travel knitting here. Leave a larger project in your hotel room (if you are staying at one) for quiet evenings if you want.

Color

Wouldn't you want to knit watching the sun go down here?

Wouldn’t you want to knit watching the sun go down here?

If you are going to knit outside, at a lake, the beach or while hiking, don’t use extremely white yarn. You are going to regret it. Even if you are being extra careful, it is almost impossible to keep the yarn as pristine and it may not be easy to clean it again. An off white or cream color might be possible unless you are spending a lot of time sitting around on the grass. Grass stains are nasty, as any parent can testify to.

If you are outside in the sun a lot where it is hot, do yourself a favor and don’t choose black, either. Or any very dark color. Dark colors don’t only heat up in the sun like crazy so that it’ll feel like you have a radiator running on your lap. The colors might also bleach out in the sun.

Material

Like I’ve said before choose a light weight yarn. Lace weight, fingering weight, sport weight – all good choices. They aren’t too heavy and not too warm. Some knitters don’t care about the heat and knit worsted and aran weight even on the hottest days but I personally have a hard time doing that. A plus: Lightweight yarns take up less space.

Also, you may want to choose typical summer materials as they feel cool on the skin and won’t trap your body heat as much. Cotton, linen, silk, seacell, bamboo, hemp or rayon are all good choices. A mohair blend might also work since they are extremely lightweight.

Try and pick very smooth yarn. If your fingers get a little sweaty the yarn won’t glide as easily over them anymore. That might put a strain on your hands. If you’re using a very smooth yarn it helps a bit.

Experience

You are on a vacation. Take a simple project that relaxes you and doesn’t require all your attention. One that is just interesting enough to entertain you. You don’t want to add stress because of knitting problems. And neither will you want to be utterly frustrated by it because something keeps going wrong or you can’t find out how to do something.

What qualifies as a simple project depends on your knitting experience. If possible, only use techniques you know. You may not be able to look them up on the internet. Internet connections can be tricky on vacation. Even if you get wireless in your hotel the connection may not be good because a lot of people are trying to use it at once. Looking things up on Youtube becomes especially difficult that way and Youtube is one of my main resources when I try to look a knitting technique up.

Wolves at the beach - this was last year

Wolves at the beach – this was last year

If you do have to look things up on the internet: A good time to do that seems to be the middle of the night. So far it’s been this way at any hotel I’ve been. Around midnight and beyond hardly anyone is using wireless and streaming is easy.

Pro tip: Parents of small children should choose a simple project they can put aside at any time. Even better if you don’t have to look at your needles. I’m speaking from experience here. Tiny Wolf is extremely talented at frying my nerves by pretending to be a lemming. She consistently believes herself to be 6 years older than she is and therefore capable of anything much older kids can do.

Space in Luggage

So, are you doing a city tour or are you at least close to a city? Planning on visiting a city at any time during your vacation? I am sure you’ve already scouted out what kind of LYS (Local Yarn Stores) they have and how to get there. Souvenir yarn is a thing with us knitters. So make sure you have some extra room in your luggage for new acquisitions.

Vacation knitting - Baltic sea with swanIf you are traveling by plane, don’t forget to check the weight of your luggage! If it ends up heavier than 20 kg (either per person or per piece of luggage, depends on the airline), you will have to pay extra and that can be very expensive.

When you are traveling with kids (for the first time) you might be surprised how much stuff you suddenly have to take with you. (I know I was!) It might be time to invest in some new pieces of suitcases.

Also, refrain from packing knitting books. Most books nowadays are available in digital format and they take up much less space that way. Or just make a copy of the pattern you need.

Finishing

If you finish the knitting on a project, you may not be able to finish it entirely. Washing might be possible; you don’t need much than a sink for that. But blocking may be a problem unless you have an apartment. That might have to wait until you’re home.

Conclusion

Always keep weight and size of the project in mind. Choose a type of project that is appropriate for the type of vacation you are going on. If it’s hot where you are going, stick to cool yarn in a bright color and consider the possibility of stains. And the most important point: relax! This is a vacation and you are supposed to have fun!

Again, for inspiration, you can check out my previous posts on sock patterns for menfun beginner projects and now also the post on travel knitting. And here are a few more ideas for you:

What do you think is the most important thing to consider? What will you be knitting on your vacation? Are there any yarn stores near by you are planning to visit? Please let me know in the comments below.

For the next few weeks, there will only be one post per week. Kindergarten is closed for the next two weeks and we are going on our summer vacation as well. I also don’t yet know what the next post will be about. You will have to come back next week to find out!

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Are you going on a vacation? Want to knit there while enjoying the scenery? Then here are some things to think about when choosing your vacation knitting.

Are you going on a vacation? Want to knit there while enjoying the scenery? Then here are some things to think about when choosing your vacation knitting.Are you going on a vacation? Want to knit there while enjoying the scenery? Then here are some things to think about when choosing your vacation knitting.Are you going on a vacation? Want to knit there while enjoying the scenery? Then here are some things to think about when choosing your vacation knitting.

One thought on “How to Avoid Problems With Your Vacation Knitting

  1. Lillian Malkus

    Thank you for an interesting and informative article. As a fellow blogger, many of us are drawn to similar themes and topics. You can check out my take on knitting and crocheting on the road at
    http;//www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheting-and-knitting-on-the-road.

    Reply

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