As schools let out for summer, many of us will be hitting the road (or the skies or the water) and traveling - maybe for the first time in over a year! Traveling with fiber projects is one of the benefits of the craft as they are lightweight, require few tools and tend to be fairly portable. There are a few things to take into consideration, however, and we’ve got some suggestions for making traveling with your projects easy and enjoyable!
Selecting your project(s). Unless you’re very lucky - or traveling to a fiber festival - you probably don’t have an entire suitcase for yarn. To help determine which project(s) to bring, consider the following factors:
- How much space do you have? This may be more important if you’re flying, but consider the space you have in your luggage, as well as the space you’ll be traveling in. Working on an afghan in the middle seat on a plane may not be the wisest choice. A sock or hat may be better for this situation!
- Where are you headed? Some environments are naturally more conducive for the fiber arts - or at least specific projects. If you’re headed to the beach for example, fibers like wool or alpaca would be warm in your hands and contribute to sweat. Something like linen would be smarter. If you’re going to a family reunion with many small children, this is probably not the place to work on your intricate lace-weight shawl.
- How difficult is the project? Speaking of complicated patterns, unless you’re headed on a knitting retreat or somewhere with no plans other than some good old fashioned rest and relaxation, sticking to less complex patterns will probably save some headaches or - shudder - frogging! Vacations are meant to let our brains rest - save the charted lace or cables and extensive counting for another time!
- How much time will you realistically have to work? This is probably the hardest part. We may fantasize about relaxing by the pool and soaking up some sun while stitching away, but is it more likely that you’re supervising splashing children or making lunch with your aunt? Bringing enough work for the low end of your estimated available time, plus one small extra project “just in case” is more than likely plenty to keep you crafting.
Digital patterns are your friend. Even if you aren’t normally a digital pattern kind of crafter, it can be easier when traveling to keep your patterns on your phone or tablet. (Which you were probably already packing anyway, right?) This avoids having one more thing to keep track of, and heaven forbid something happened to your printed pattern - spilled beverage, cannonball spray, extra windy day, etc. - you wouldn’t be able to keep working!
Magnetic pattern boards. If you do need to travel with a printed pattern, we recommend a magnetic pattern board to keep things organized. Most double as a stand while you’re working, and will allow you to protect your pages and writing utensil while you’re on the move!
Organize your tools. Knowing what you’re bringing and where it is will prevent you from losing things or having to buy something extraneous. A needle/hook case is great if you’re bringing multiple sizes and many have a small notions pouch to contain loose stitch markers, progress keepers, stitch holders, row counters, etc.
Don’t forget to zip! Or snap or close or otherwise secure your projects. Things shift. Accidents happen. Well-intentioned folks move a bag. Any number of situations can cause a project bag to tip and you don’t want your projects falling out, becoming tangled or losing stitches! Before taking any of the other tips into consideration, please protect your projects!
Bonus Quick Tip: Point Protectors. It may not be necessary to use point protectors if you typically work at home and don’t have curious hands inspecting your work. For travel, though, it’s an added level of security to make sure you can enjoy your travels and not spend your entire time re-doing work!
Alright, globe trotters! What would you add to this list? What do you enjoy about taking your projects with you? What challenges have you had? Let’s chat in the comments below!