We’re back from our trip to London, which was 10 days of adventure. As usual, I packed an insane amount of knitting. Even for 10 days. Even for two crazy-long flights. Even for the lengthy tour bus jaunt and evenings on the hotel lobby bar sofa watching BBC.
I put a lot of thought into my travel knitting. Travel knitting needs to be compact. Anything that I’ll be knitting on the plane shouldn’t be overly complex. Hotel knitting can be a little more complicated, but I try to not take things that are going to require a lot of notions or other special care and feeding. So, for this trip, I took a simple shawlette, a slightly more complicated scarf, and my emergency back-up project was a lace scarf.
So, how did those projects work out?
I’m knitting Hitchhiker in good ol’ Malabrigo sock yarn (colorway: Pocion), and it did not disappoint. Actually, this project earns my highest honors as a travel project. Hitchhiker is a garter stitch shawlette with a sawtooth edge created by binding off a few stitches every so many rows. Ridiculously simple. The simplicity of the pattern meant that it was great for evenings when I was processing the day’s adventures and discussing the next day’s plans with my husband. I could pick the thing up and put it down whenever it suited me, and I didn’t have to worry about losing my place in a pattern or becoming so absorbed in a complex design that I ignored my husband (it was our 25th anniversary trip, after all).
Besides the simplicity, Hitchhiker has another couple of things going for it. For one, the yarn is very well-behaved. It’s springy, bouncy, and doesn’t split, fray, pill, or fuzz. Another good thing? The needles I chose for this project, Sunstruck, by Knit Picks, provide a high contrast to the dark yarn. They also provide just enough grab, too. The contrast and grab allowed me to knit easily in the gloom of a darkened airplane cabin and in the dimly lit hotel lobby bar. I couldn’t have chosen a better travel project. All that said, I’m not quite finished with it, but it’s getting pretty close.
Fern Mist Scarf:
This one suprised me. I thought I’d enjoy knitting it more, but I had issues. Before any trip, I try to make sure I’m happy with my chosen travel project, and that I am comfortable with the pattern and that the needles and yarn play well together. So, I dutifully cast this on weeks before the trip and verified that I liked the yarn and the pattern (check and check).
I was concerned that the slippery cashmere/silk blend wouldn’t work well with the slick Signature 7-inch straights. I knit a few rows and downsized to a size 1 needle, thinking the smaller size would help keep the stitches from sliding off the ends of the needle. Figuring that the problem was solved, I parked the project until we embarked on our trip.
I took the project with me on our bus ride to Stonehenge and Bath. While I found the pattern to be simple enough to be enjoyable to knit on the bus, I had to fight the tendency of the stitches to want to slide off the needle ends.
I didn’t pull that project out again during our trip, and will have to change over to 10-inch straights to better accommodate the stitches. Lesson learned: I need to be really sure that yarn and needles are compatible before I tuck a project into my luggage.
The yarn is CashSilk Lace from Sweet Georgia in Mist.
OK, so this was my emergency backup project. Yeah, I was going to a country with a long and storied knitting history and the yarn stores to match, but I wasn’t sure I’d have time to visit any and I didn’t want to come up short in the project department. Anyway, I didn’t work on this at all. I took this project because it was small and didn’t take up much room in my luggage. It’s kind of on my B team for travel projects, though, because it has a chart. Charts are OK, but if I can find a travel project that’s even simpler, that’s my preference.
Next up? I’ve got some business travel in June, so perhaps I’ll finish the Fern Mist scarf then.