So, you are going on vacation and you want to take some travel knitting? But you don’t know what to take? Or what you should consider when choosing a project? In this first part of my two part series on vacationing as a knitter, I’ll tell you about what you may have to think about and add a little bit of project inspiration. Next time we’ll talk about knitting on your actual vacation.
Mode of transportation
How are you going to get there? Will you be traveling by train, car or airplane?
If you’re taking the train that means you’ll likely have a nice long time to knit. Make reservations for seats, though. Otherwise, you may be standing the whole time. Pro tip: Think about sending your luggage ahead if possible. It makes getting into and out of trains so much easier which is great if you have to switch trains. And if you have less to carry around it would make it possible to even take two or three projects with you to choose from.
If you’re going by car, you might also have a nice long time to knit – unless you have to be driving. Then you will only be able to knit a little when taking a rest (which you should do if you’re driving longer than an hour or two).
Planes are tricky. Most theoretically allow you to take knitting needles. But that also always depends on the security personnel at the airport. So better take an envelope with you, in case you are not allowed to take your knitting you will at least be able to send it back that way and don’t have to throw it away.
Length of travel
How long will you be traveling? Just an hour or longer? If you are traveling longer you could consider taking more than one project. In case you wanted to work on something else for a while. Or in case you might finish the first one. They should be different enough to offer some variety. But they could be two projects of the same kind – as long as style and techniques used offer enough variety. Or you are two very different places within the project. For socks that might be just the start (either cuff or toe, depending on whether you are knitting cuff down or toe up) on one pair and just at the heel on the other pair.
No matter how you are traveling, you will likely not have a lot of room. That includes your project itself, your arms, your needles, the tools you may need and the pattern. Take a small project that requires a lot of knitting. Think about how long you will be able to knit before you have to cut yarn and weave in ends. It’s best to choose a project that doesn’t require you to look at the pattern all the time. If there is a chart, make sure you can memorize it quickly. Read through the pattern before you leave! Highlight everything important for the size you are making and make sure you are taking everything along you would need to complete knitting the project. You will likely be unable to pick up any tools you may have forgotten while traveling.
You will also have to consider the amount of material you’ll need for the project. Just one or a handful of balls or skeins? That’s fine – but don’t forget to wind skeins before you leave! I personally find center pull cakes work best for travel knitting. They won’t roll away as easily. Also, you may not want to do any intarsia, stranded colorwork or similar projects. Handling multiple balls (or cakes) of yarn attached to your knitting requires space and concentration.
If you have read the pattern, you should know which tools you’ll need. Consider how many you may need and what you may have to access more often and choose a project bag or container accordingly. Or add a container just for your tools.
If you are using stitch markers have a box or pouch with you where you can put them in once you don’t need them anymore. Don’t let them lie around they slide off of tables and surfaces easily. For similar reasons avoid using beads. Unless the project requires pre strung beads they are just too fiddly.
Consider the needles you will use. I prefer using circulars and find them easiest to work with while on the go. Nothing slides off as easily and I don’t necessarily need anything to keep them tamed. Although these needle point protectors are cute. You can also use needle point protectors for straights and DPN holders if you prefer doing your small circumference in the round knitting on double pointed needles.
You should also think about whether or not you need to keep track of your rows. There are apps for your cell phone – I personally like this one on my android phone. But if they keep your display on all the time, they might cost you too much battery. You should test that first. Or invest in a simple counter for your traveling needs. You may have to keep track of things like increases, decreases or pattern repeats differently then. But it’s never a bad idea to write these things down.
This is another matter to consider that involves some of the previous points. Very complex patterns may require more materials and tools. They may require you to knit with multiple colors at once. You will likely need to have the pattern out at all times. But one thing that they definitely take is a lot of attention and concentration. You may have traveling companions who need and want attention, too. Or you may need to make sure you are ready to get out quickly and on time (as with trains). You definitely don’t want to miss your stop or forget some luggage.
Choose a project (or projects) that is (are) not too difficult but still interesting to you. Socks usually make for good knitting on the go. Simple shawls are fine as well, as are cowls. A hat may be done too quickly, depending on how long you are traveling for. For inspiration, you can check out my previous posts on sock patterns for men and fun beginner projects. I have a few more ideas for you here:
- Mama Vertebrae
- Free Your Fade
- That Nice Stitch
- Lille Loop
- Treppenviertel Cowl
- Quiet Folly
- Monkey Socks.
Make sure you prepare everything you may need ahead of time. And always read the pattern first!
Are you traveling soon? What will you take along with you? Can you think of other problems when knitting while traveling? What did you think of this post? Please, let me know in the comments below.
Next time on this very blog a follow-up post on what to consider when you want to knit while on vacation. So come back and check it out.
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