Sunspun Fine Yarns

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

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Never mind the packing or who’s collecting the mail. For crafters who knit every day and about to embark on a road trip or an overseas holiday, the first consideration many have is what project to bring along.

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Pierre Desceliers’ World Map (1550), British Library

The sage advice (where carrying capacity is not an issue and the travelling not too peripatetic) is usually something to finish, something to start and one more thing Just In Case. You never want to run out, do you?

To which can be added other considerations. The something to finish, for instance, cannot really be anything too big, like a blanket – too much yarn to lug, especially if you’re flying. And for some of us, neither can the piece require laser-like attention every row (bye, lace, complicated cables, stranded knitting with multiple colour changes) since the traveller may have to look out for turn-offs and navigate canals.

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You’d likely want to keep the garment as seamless as possible. And unless you are prepared to pack sweater quantities of 8-ply or worsted-weight yarn, the yarn has to be between laceweight and sportweight. You can see why socks and shawls are so popular.

Kirsten Johnstone from Assemblage actually designed and knitted her Ryoko while holidaying abroad with her family for three months. It’s a design that checks many boxes for travel knitting: it is knit in a lightweight yarn, so it’s portable and squishes down easily enough. The shaping is subtle, but interesting enough to hold your attention.

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Whilst knitting needles are mostly once again allowed on planes, there are still enough stories of confiscated needles at random destinations to suggest caution.

So, if you don’t want to run the risk of having to cut the tips off your Addis, use wooden or bamboo needles. Circular needles are easier to manage in the confined space of a plane or train. Ensure there’s some knitting on the needles already.

Choose projects where you can ‘read’ the knitting instead of having to check off rows as you go. Or pick an easy enough pattern. Have the pattern you’re using in three spots: on your phone, tablet/laptop and, always, as a hard copy. If you have Dropbox, park it in the cloud. You never know. Use a nail clipper in place of scissors.

Be prepared for conversations with strangers. Knitting is one of the best ways of meeting new people.

And when you return, you’ll have a piece that you can look at and remember, I did that sleeve in Cairns or finished the shawl border in Estonia. Now, that’s priceless.

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In store news, we still have some places available in our upcoming classes on using Ravelry, knitting short rows, managing knitting charts, finishing touches and Christmas decorations. Just call or email us to book your place. Detailed outlines and information are on the Classes 2015 link at the top of the page, or here.

Knitting’s high season has begun in the northern hemisphere with the arrival of fall/autumn. There are lots of gorgeous new patterns on Interweave Knits and Knitty. Check them out if you’re looking for a project. Many of the patterns make excellent gifts and are ideal for trans-seasonal wear.

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