Monday, July 7, 2014

Have knitting, will travel

I do most of my knitting on lazy Sunday afternoons, and sometimes while my husband is driving—but really, knitting can be a very portable craft! I remember one woman who'd bring her knitting to the gym and work while she walked!

Adapting your knitting to the road: use the right tools
You might not be planning on walking and knitting at the same time, but seriously: carrying your knitting is an essential part to taking it with you! You might want a bag with handles, if that's all you're planning to carry (or you'll put your wallet inside your knitting bag—make sure it has pockets!), or you might want another container that fits inside your purse or other bag. Either way, water-resistant material is handy for keeping your knitting clean.

On my trip, I put my knitting in a plastic grocery bag to keep it clean and grabbed a canvas market bag that was a gift from my sister-in-law, but the needles kept poking through the plastic bag, market bag, and my backpack!

Fortunately, they make tons of bags especially for knitting! Most of these include a good system for keeping the yarn safe while freely feeding yarn to your flying fingers.

This one has accessory pockets and a needle pouch. It holds up to 8 skeins of yarn and has a hole in the lid to feed the working yarn through—with a slit to be able to remove the yarn!This one has a stand, a large pocket for knitting books, and lots of storage space for yarn, needles and accessories. While it's a travel bag, it may become the only storage you use (if you're not a yarn hoarder).This one keeps your yarn very clean and portable, and fits into a larger bag. However, once you're working, you can't remove the yarn from the container unless you cut it.

Whether you're working on double point needles or single, the more you move your knitting, the likelier you are to lose a stitch or two hundred. To prevent this, consider using point protectors:



They slip on to the tips of your needles and (hopefully) keep your yarn from slipping off while you're not knitting. I also hear rubberbands can work well (but obviously that will depend on your yarn and your stitch size).

Keep it simple
I happened to bring fairly easy projects to work on, so I was also able to read while knitting. Two hobbies at once!

However, keeping it simple has another benefit: for me, I only had one page, front and back, to keep track of for each project with my pattern. I didn't have to keep a cable needle handy. I had stitch markers already in place on the projects—really, all I did was grab the project and some extra yarn if I had it, and go. I didn't even bring scissors!

You don't have to go that minimal, but the less you bring with you, the less you have to manage, and the less you stand to lose. Plus, constantly shuffling through all the loose pages of your pattern is a pain!

For more complicated pieces like lace, you might consider getting a pattern holder like this one (or its smaller counterpart):


It folds to keep your pattern clean and portable, and can lay flat or stand up to display your pattern. It also has magnets to not only keep your pattern in place, but a magnetic bar to help you remember what line you're on!


Knitting that isn't well suited to travel
Knitting with extensive colorwork may not be well suited to travel. It's highly likely that your bobbins and skeins will get tangled—but if you're always very careful about managing them, this may not be a problem for you!

I went on a trip last month and I brought two WIPs with me. One of them was done with finer yarn (fingering weight, I think) on US #2 or #3 double point needles. This often lead to stitches slipping off, so this might not be good for travel unless you take the precautions above.

What's your best tip for knitting while traveling?

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