Summertime is often travel time. And travel time – for most of us knitters – is knitting time! But there’s more to travel knitting than just throwing your current project bag into your car and taking off. You need to be prepared. After all, not all projects travel well. Ever try to knit a huge, heavy afghan or a big bulky sweater while traveling? I have. It’s not fun. Nor is it particularly fun to attempt to work on a lacy shawl and keep track of the row of your pattern. Obviously all patterns are not perfect for traveling. So I decided to ask Knitting Nuggets Newsletter subscribers and Facebookers what they like to knit while they travel. And of course, I got some terrific responses that I’ll be sharing below. I used those suggestions to create a collection of patterns that work very well for travel knitting. That collection will come a little later!
Readers Have Their Say: Travel Knitting Ideas
Pam: “I just got back from a 2 week trip out west to see my kids. It involved driving, flying, nice hotels, and roughing it in a national park (my daughter is a park ranger at Joshua Tree). “I usually take 2 projects on long trips. First, something easy. Currently that is an I-cord project which involves 7 I-cords knitted in different colors, about 15 feet long each. All of these twist together to make a cowl. An I-cord that goes on for 15 feet, knitted in a worsted weight, is super easy (even in dim light) to work on. Although it gets long, it’s just I-cord, so it curls up nicely in a small project bag. “Next is a medium project. This time I took another cowl I’m working on. It is in a nice soft alpaca and has cables. I’m using size 8 needles, so again, it is nothing small that I would need good light to see. It is a little more interesting knitting than the I-cord. “My hubby and I sometimes take short trips that involve 2-4 hour drives. For these, I always have a project bag in my car that has a knitted cap project. These are made out of acrylic, and I give them away to different charitites (some I’ve read about here). The cap is a simple pattern I have made probably 100 times, so I have the pattern memorized. It uses size 10 needles, so again is easy to see even when the light becomes dim. Also the acrylic yarn is tough, so I don’t have to worry about it getting smashed, dirty, etc being hauled around a lot in the car.” Pam makes a terrific point about using larger needles. Smaller needles and thinner yarn makes for smaller projects, but they also require stronger light. So unless you have a terrific portable light that doesn’t bother your traveling companions, you may want to follow Pam’s lead here. Reader Carol’s advice was very short and sweet: “Small projects. Mindless knitting: no charts, moving markers, or dark yarn.” I can’t disagree with her here. Unless you’ve memorized a pattern, you don’t want to bring anything very involved, because you don’t want to have to keep track of a pattern while you’re traveling. I think I might take Carol’s advice of “no moving markers” a step further and suggest you skip projects requiring markers. Unless, of course, you have an enormous stash of markers. I’m speaking from experience here; I imagine that I leave behind stitch markers every place I travel to. Jen: “When I get to travel, I find that small, simple projects are best. I’ve done scarves, hats, socks, afghan squares, and toys. They are easy to fit into a carry-on if you fly, or a small bag for long drives (just make sure the driver is comfortable with knitting needles in the front seat!).” More great advice from Jen. I would add: Don’t travel with anyone who won’t let you use knitting needles in the front seat. (Ha!) Anne: “Travel knitting: Sox, sox, sox!!! Short needles make for a small work radius with the advantage of not venturing with a longer needle into neighbor’s personal space on a plane or train, never tapping on the passenger window or invading the driver’s work area in a car. “Self-striping yarns make productivity easy, the monotony of round-and-round knitting can be quite soothing. The rise of the heel as well as turning and picking up for instep are all manageable. “And, the trip is shortened! “Once I had to travel all over Dublin to find any decent sock yarn for the 4-hr. train trip back to County Kerry.” Chris, Val, and Janice from Facebook suggested socks as well. I’ve always loved knitting socks during traveling for just that reason. Sometimes it feels like sock knitting takes forever in general, but when you’re traveling, it doesn’t seem so bad. (But she’s so right – a trip always feels shorter when you’re knitting socks! Though I think that’s true of all knitting, really.) And poor Anne’s adventure in sock yarn shopping is one of my worst nightmares. I’m ALWAYS worried I’ll run out of yarn while I’m traveling! Let her example remind you to always remember to pack enough yarn. Some other suggestions made by Facebook readers included preemie hats (Ellen), preemie booties (Betsy), and baby cardigans (Pamela). Sue also suggested a variety of charity projects, including children’s hats, Warm Up America squares, and washcloths for local homeless shelters. Doreen also mentioned that she knits hats for cancer patients while traveling. Thank you to all the readers who offered their suggestions! Check out part 2 where I use these suggestions to create a terrific collection of travel knitting patterns.