I am going away this coming weekend to visit some family in Michigan. I am starting to think about what I am going to take with me. Sure, I am thinking about how many days I am going to be there and how many pairs of underwear and socks I am going to need. More importantly…I am starting to think about my knitting and how much yarn to pack.
There is a lot of hidden knitting time on a trip, even a short one like that one I am taking. First there is the trip to the airport. I live about 40 minutes from the airport and will be taking a cab. Then there is the time while waiting in the TSA line. And then the time waiting to board the plane. Already I have several hours of knitting…and I haven’t even left the state of Massachusetts yet! Not to mention the time in the air, layover times, the time while I am in MI… and then the entire trip in reverse!
A good travel project should be easy, but still a little challenging. Most of us will get bored after hours and hours and hours of garter stitch…but a complex lace or cable pattern with lots of charts isn’t realistic for those small airplane seats (especially if you get stuck in the middle seat).
Another important component of a good travel project is size. It can’t be so big that it won’t fit into your carry-on luggage. And if you are taking more than one, how much of your suitcase are you willing to devote to your knitting and extra yarn? (Don’t forget to leave a little room in your suitcase on the way to where you are going for some souvenir yarn. Good thing yarn is squishy!)
So what I am taking with me?
I started this Silky Alpaca Lace scarf a little while back and haven’t made much progress on it. It’s a variation on a simple feather fan stitch, which makes it a no-brainer for a travel project. And one ball of Silky Alpaca Lace goes a long way.
But you know I can’t just take one project, right? For my second project I think I am going to take my Nmyphalidea Shawl that I started last week. I have the pattern memorized already. It’s one of those patterns that is simple, but interesting. And although it takes two colors, the Alpaca Sox I am using is light weight and I am willing to carry two skeins around.
I’ll probably bring a third project along with me as well…you know…in case I get bored with the other two, or run out of yarn, or don’t feel like working on one of the first two…or whatever.
Most likely my third project will be socks. Socks make an excellent choice for travel knitting. There are a lot of stitches on a sock. So most likely they aren’t something I would finish in the time that I am in the air or at my destination. And sock yarn is small and light, which makes it easy to pack.
If all else fails and I still don’t have the right thing with me that I want…I know where the LYS is (you can check out all the LYSs that carry CEY yarns here.)
Now I know a bunch of you are worried about what the TSA might say about air travel and knitting. If you are traveling domestically (like I am), there should be no problems. You can check a list of items that the TSA has approved for on board travel on their website. I personally have never had a problem taking my knitting with me, but I always bring a copy of the approved items with me printed from their website the day before I fly or have the website handy on my iPhone. That way if I get questioned, I can pull it out and (in a very nice and soft voice) explain why I brought my knitting with me. Of course the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the individual screener, but since knitting and crocheting is so popular, most screeners already know the rules and even know what knitting needles and crochet hooks look like. I know that rules have changed to say you can take small scissors now, but I always leave mine at home or in my checked bags, just to be sure.
If you are traveling internationally, you will want to check with your carrier to see what the laws and rules are for other countries. Some countries are fine with it, others…not so much. Most likely you can knit on the way to your destination (since it is the TSA who will be screening you), but you may want to consider packing your knitting in your suitcase on the way back. I know…that would be a total bummer…but better than having it taken away from you at the airport. And if you can’t knit or crochet on the way back, you can always read a book about it!
Are you traveling soon? What knitting/crocheting are you taking with you?