Tips for On-The-Go Projects

Knitting on vacation

Last week I shared information about my latest project, "The Birdwatcher" by Casapinka, which I knitting with La Jolla Yarn. I chose the pattern because it was light, portable, and the perfect on-the-go project. For the first time in a year, and after my husband and I had been fully vaccinated, we took a trip. It is difficult for me to just sit on a plane, in a car, or waiting room without my knitting. Keeping my hands and head engaged helps the time fly and, it is fun to have something nice when all is said and done. When selecting a travel project, I try to consider the following:

  • The size of the project
  • The complexity of the project
  • The amount and type of yarn
  • The notions (such as stitch markers, row counter, cable needles, etc.) needed, and
  • Mode of travel
Knitting Travel Kit

In general, for trips, I like to select projects that will last the duration of the trip and mode of transportation. If I am traveling via car and have lots of room for my knitting bag, I don’t mind taking a larger project and/or bulky yarn projects, such as large shawls and sweaters. On plane trips, I usually select light projects, such as cowls, scarves, and socks. On this past trip, however, I took a summer sweater. Initially, you might think that a sweater would fit into the larger project category; however, The Birdwatcher requires only two skeins of fingering yarn, is a simple pattern (no body shaping). It is knitted in the round so there are no seams, and very few notions (stitch markers, row counter, and a tape measure). All of these supplies fit into one of the clear plastic bags that we put customer purchases in when they check out at The Stitchin’ Den. I can easily see what is in the bag and pull it tight at the top, so things don’t fall out. Since it is plastic, it keeps my project clean.

I have also learned a few tricks for working on the go:

Knitting on the airplane

I like to cast on and knit a few rows. In this case I knitted the first lace pattern (10 rows) before going through security at the airport. I have never encountered any problem getting my knitting on needles through the checkpoints. This also allows me to establish the pattern in the quiet of my living room, where I can concentrate. Placing stitch markers after each pattern repeat (in this case, every 11 stitches) helps see identify errors every 11 stitches rather than discovering the problem at the end of a row of 220 stitches. It only took one set of rows (there are 10) to memorize the pattern as it is quite simple. There are no yarn overs, just increases, and decreases.

I have also found it helpful to keep both a printed copy of my pattern (my preferred reference) and a digital copy on my phone. I have left printed copies of patterns more than once on an airplane in the pocket of the seatback in front of me and having a PDF on my phone allowed me to keep knitting. I always download the pattern and store it in the documents folder before my trip since WIFI can be spotty on planes or in a car. A tablet would work just as well. If you prefer to work from a digital copy of your pattern, having a printed copy is a good backup if your battery runs low. A final tip is to put a few extra stitch markers on a safety pin and pin them to the inside of your project bag. It seems like stitch markers jump off my needles when I am traveling and trying to find them in a moving car or plane is next to impossible. Hopefully, you are already — or will soon be — packing up your knitting or crocheting for a trip, maybe even to Estes Park. If you do, we are waiting for you. We can’t wait to show you our new yarns and fabrics. We have plenty of ideas for new projects. See you soon!