As with most knitters, if I am sitting idly somewhere, I need to have a project in my hands. While I was a great packer due to traveling so much in my banker days, I wasn’t so good about being prepared for a knitting project(s) to take on a holiday. That learning curve was a lot longer. So this is what I have learned:
- Plan ahead! I mean at least a week ahead. I used to leave my knitting project to the night before the holiday. Not good. Especially if it’s a new project and a swatch has to be made. All swatches should be wet blocked and dry at least two days ahead of departure. Keep good notes on pre-block and post-block measurements.
- Consider a project(s) that is easy to carry around. A flat knitted sweater with all of its sections probably isn’t holiday worthy. I just recently got into sock knitting, and socks are great for airplanes and urban transportation. A scarf, shawl, hat, cowl, and mittens are all good project ideas for being on the go.
- Circular needles or double pointed needles only. Those airline seats aren’t getting any roomier, and the person next to you might get cranky if they keep getting jabbed by the end of a straight needle. If this is a road trip, personally, I still go with circular and/or double pointed needles.
- Now for the tough question. How many projects should you bring? I remember bringing all the yarn and supplies for three projects on a trip to Disney World with my kids. Yeah, I know! Consider your holiday. Is it a laid back relaxed vacation with a lot of downtime on a beach or cabin in the woods? Depending on the size of the project, and how fast you knit, two (maybe three) projects will be plenty. I always like to bring at least two that I can switch between just in case. It also allows for unexpectedly losing your mojo on one of the projects. You still have something to knit! If it’s an active holiday, then a very portable project (or two if small) is a good choice. Consider your flight time or road trip time, too. You may not be knitting much while being a tourist, but if you have significant seat time, then factor that in on how many projects to bring.
- Determine how you want to access the pattern for your project. I am still one of those people who prints out my patterns. I have tried to use an iPad based program, but it just doesn’t work for me. While I have a knitting notebook, I like to write notes on the pattern as I go, thus the preference for a printed pattern. Regardless, have the patterns printed or downloaded to your preferred device ready to go. Read through the pattern and make sure you have all of the supplies listed for the pattern.
- Create a project bag for each project. In each project bag, I put the needles and yarn needed for that particular project, and a stitch counter. For the supplies that are needed for most projects, I will put those in just one of the project bags. After all, you are traveling, and you want to keep things as minimal as possible. Measuring tape/ruler, stitch markers, stitch holder, scissors (keep them small, especially, if you are traveling on a plane), pen or pencil for note taking, darning needle, and any other supplies required by your pattern (such as a cable needle). I have never had any issues with my knitting needles going through security, including international flights.
- Have fun on your holiday! If you forgot something, isn’t that a great excuse to find a local yarn store on your travels?