Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knitting on the Go: Transportation and Destination

Knitting by the pool
The type of trip and transportation can make quite a difference in what project(s) you take with you on a trip. The destination itself is also something to consider.

One of the things I think about is how much time I'll actually have to devote to knitting. If I drive to visit my family for a weekend, I'll probably have a lot of time to knit once I get there, unless I'm going to a wedding or other similar event. If I'm on a cross country work trip, I will probably have a lot of time to knit on the plane and in the hotel room after dinner. Of course, things can pop up to provide you with more or less time than you'd originally thought. I usually bring what I think I can knit in the time I think I'll have, and then an extra project. You know, for luck!

Don't forget to tailor your knitting project for the quality of knitting time you'll have. Heading to the in-laws? Maybe pack an intricate sweater so you can tell them you need to count rows and concentrate on the project instead of hearing the story of your significant other's first trip to the amusement park for the umpteenth time. Time for a vacation? Why not bring a stockinette project that will allow you to drink up that tropical sunset (and that Tequila Sunrise!) without needing to wonder what row you're on. Cross country travel almost requires a patterned shawl to help with long boring flights and jet lag; there's no way you could finish that cobweb latvian stole in one flight! Knowing whether your brain (or fingers) need to rest or be kept active will be key in the travel planning process.

Even more pivotal, however, could be the type of transportation you'll be taking. Clearly, if you're driving, you won't be knitting. Doing so is extremely dangerous. Driving, in and of itself, should consume so much attention that listening to the radio and having a conversation might put you over the edge before knitting even peeks its head into the picture (NOTE: I am not suggesting you an knit and drive while driving if the radio is turned off and you're not having a conversation with someone. It's dangerous no matter what!). If someone else is driving, however, (and you don't get motion sick - or you have happy pills to prevent that), by golly, have at it.

If you're travelling by train, while you might have less room to spread out, you should be able to knit quite a bit. PRO TIP: before you sit down in a set on the train, make sure the reading light works above the seat you're looking to sit in by testing it. Oftentimes the lights go off on AMTRAK trains, so make sure you can knit on something that doesn't require a lot of looking at if you're travelling at night (ditto for busses!). Currently, security on AMTRAK trains isn't too stringent, so if you think yo'll need scissors, feel free to bring them on with you.

The same cannot be said for travelling by plane. While most knitting paraphernalia should not hold you up at security in the US (you remembered to put that swiss army knife in your checked luggage, right?), be sure to check the TSA's list of prohibited items to make sure there haven't been any changes in policy (international travelers should check with the airport they're flying out of, and also with the airline). Also (and this is KEY!), be sure to check with your airlines to make sure they're knitting friendly. If an airlines has tighter rules than the airport, the airline will probably win. When in doubt, keep your knitting on the needles and thread a lifeline through the row you're on. That way, if security does need to take your needles, your knitting isn't lost with them. If you're really that hard up to knit on the flight, stop by the food court for some chopsticks, and the convenience store for some floss.

Last year I went on a wonderful cruise of the Caribbean. There were multiple knitting threats to me: no current project on the needles, no swatch for a new project. in-laws were going to be there, and there would be alcohol and pools to compete with knitting time. I decided to bring a shawl with me. The pattern was one I knew I'd done before, so I knew about how much time it took to knit and I was good. Problem was, I hadn't quite figured out the gauge for this shawl. Into my bag went my Addi Turbo Interchangeable set and off to security I went. They stopped me at the x-ray machine. After about 10 minutes, and 2 security personnel later, the needles were given back to me without an issue. The project was a hot mess, but that story's for a different time...

Lastly, keep in mind the climate of your destination. Try not to bring warm fibers with you to Hawaii. I learned the hard way that alpaca might even be too much there (FYI: there is one yarn shop on Maui, but I wasn't in that part of town when it was open). Likewise, if you're headed to New Hampshire or Canada for a nice long snowy weekend, bringing an in progress blanket of wool or a cashmere scarf WIP might help with some chilly afternoons. If you're travelling somewhere exotic, try to remember to bring ball bands with you of the yarn you're knitting with. Maybe someone who has never seen it before will be interested in it and want to know what it is.

I know I said this last week, but knowing what the LYS landscape of your destination will help you should security take your knitting needles or scissors and in the event an emergency yarn need. Plus, yarn makes a great souvenir of the places you've traveled and the best gift for fellow knitters that couldn't join you. Sometimes, a key destination that you return to often might be a good spot to store some stash in case of a knitting emergency. My rule of thumb for this is if I keep a toothbrush and feminine products there, it's probably a spot worthy of stashing an emergency project. To that end, there may, or may not be yarn at my parents' to knit a scarf with. I can neither confirm, nor deny these rumors.

I can, however, say that I am heading to my parents' this weekend. Projects are ready to go!I'm driving up, so while I'll be in a car for an inordinate amount of time, I won't have time to knit (friends don't let friends knit and drive!). It's my mom's birthday, so there's a lot of celebrating this weekend. I know I'll have less knitting time than I'm used to, so all I'm bringing with me is a tank top I started on Tuesday, and a pair of socks that I'm not even 1/4 through with yet. We'll see if the silver bag o' hexipuffs makes it, it probably won't since a sock is perfect for travelling.

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