Road Trip- Road Trip! The car is packed, and my husband, Bert, and I are off to another destination. The siren call to America's highways and byways is luring us to beaches, campgrounds, historical places of interest, and of course, in our case, to so many interesting gardens and plant nurseries. Check: cooler of drinks, folding chairs, towels, lunch, sweatshirt, hat, phone with GPS, and of course my craft bag. While the destination may be the attraction for some, for me it is also the advantage of several hours for knitting or crocheting without having to feel guilty about that I am ignoring daily responsibilities or any of the items on my "to it" list. Besides traffic jams and other delays are easily endured when I am engrossed in my crocheting or knitting.
With so many knitters and crocheters writing on this topic, I will try to post some added value.
For several years, I have been keeping a travel zip plastic bag filled with the small items, I usually need for any project. This is an extra set, just reserved for travel.. In this way I have what I need on the trip, and I am not hunting for essential tools when I return home.
For crocheted projects, I sometimes keep hooks in a separate bag or pencil case. Recently I have repurposed a compact lady's travel, jewelry-cosmetic case with transparent zippered pocket and spaces for the hooks. For most knitted projects, I carry the shorter needles when possible or the extended needles on a plastic tubing. These are easily coiled and less likely to poke another passenger or the airbag. Sometimes it is helpful to carry an extra hook or set of needles as these tools always seem to fall between or under the seats. With an extra you don't have to wait for a pit stop to retrieve the item. I don't take buttons as I usually wait until I return home and can block my piece on a flat surface. I also take a photocopy of my pattern and a journal for writing down craft info or reflections about my travel experiences that are tied to my knitting and crocheting. My phone is my camera, and I am always taking pictures that provide ideas for future projects. My project take-along yarn takes up most of the space. The amount depends on the size of the project.
To pack my yarn and equipment, I usually take a large open tote than can sit in the well by my feet. It is usually one of the more durable reusable or zippered ones from the grocery. However,for my most recent trip, I bought an attractive one from a local discount store, However, I have had my eye on an monogrammed canvas tote from L. L. Bean for some time now, but I haven't gotten around to gifting myself. The bag of choice leaves me room to sit and is sturdy enough so that knitting needles do not stick out. As a more attractive alternative to the plastic zip bag, the crafter can repurpose a lady's cosmetic or jewelry carrier that frequently has transparent pockets so that all tools can be snapped up or rolled in one convenient pouch. In researching this article, I found Yarn Pop at yarn pop.com. It has compartments for most crocheting or knitting supplies as well as grommets in the side to pull yarn through.. The crafter can easily access her yarn without chasing the ball of yarn around the car.
After culling the lists of possible projects for a road trip, I have discarded small pieces and projects with frequent yarn changes. I will leave at home the large and heavy afghans, complicated sweaters and shawls as well as any enterprise requiring a great deal of stitch and row counting.While I am engaged in my crocheting and knitting, I want to socialize with my husband and take note of the surroundings. So what does that leave me?--actually quite a lot.
First of all, I take projects with a familiar directions Stitch patterns must be limited to 4 rows, but I usually stop myself at 2. The pattern must be easy to execute, repetitive, and easy to memorize.Many bloggers recommend projects with lighter weight yarn, such as a DK (#3) or a light worsted, such as Unforgettable by Red Heart. In this way you will get many yards, and the yarn is easily compacted into a traveling craft bag.
I generally classify my projects into 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, and long term. In this way I will bring enough yarn for the piece I will be creating.
In one hour I can usually complete a 12" square for the base of a lovie. I do the head and arms at home. I can also complete a cotton washcloth, a child's crocheted hat, a headband with crocheted flower, or one crocheted glove.
If I have 2 hours, I can usually complete the pair of crocheted fingerless gloves or one knitted mock-cabled gloves. The gloves are knitted in a rectangle and later sewed together to form a fingerless glove. See an earlier post for instructions as to how to make the mock cabled gloves. http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/mock-cable-fingerless-gloves. I like working with this pattern and enjoy wearing the finished project. Also. two hours is enough to crochet an adult beanie. and the accent flower.
In a 4 hour block of time, I can usually completed a simple crocheted scarf and about 1 foot of a knitted scarf. On two recent trips combined, I completed a triangle scarf with cluster stitching. I was using Unforgettable Yarn (4) and a J hook.The stitch was repetitive and I could crochet several stitches in a row without looking down at the work all of the time. I followed The Original Half Granny Square/ Shawl by Ambar Enid Alcala that is a free download from Ravelry.
One of my current works in progress, was started in a 2 hour block of time. It is a simple rectangle shawl knitted in garter stitch on #13 needles. For directions, see my earlier post: http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/it-all-started-with-a-shawl. I usually use the Thick and Easy Homespun yarn for this project, but a donation of the regular Homespun Yarn was made to my chapter of Threads of Love, and I was happy to experiment with slightly lighter weight yarn. The purple, blue, and green threads are attractive, and the yarn is still plush. Since I want to make this piece about 57 inches long, I will need about 12 more hours for the knitting. I will fringe the scarf at home where I can keep track of the cut pieces more easily. As with many of my other pieces, it will be donated to a hospital patient. Since it is done in garter stitch, I can knit many stitches without looking. This benefit prevents me from getting carsick. I have to count stitches from time to time to make sure I have not lost a stitch.
Still, t Our trip to Maine in August will be a challenge.The vacation entails 9 hours of driving each way plus travel time at our destination.I have not settled on the project for that journey, but I will probably post about those experiences with I return.
I recently found a pattern for a scarf-shawl called Road Trip. The designer Is Zelna Oliver. Her collection and website can be found at zootyowlcards.blogspot.com.au. You can find images and pattern on Pinterest and Ravelry. Once I got a hang of the repetitive pattern, I was able to complete large sections in the car. The artist recommends a lighter worsted that will drape easily. I bought two different yarns for the project. The first was Cakes by Caron that I bought at Michaels. I crocheted a large amount of the scarf in the car, but completed the rest at home. I like the colors and the ways they blend together. However, I find the yarn coarser than Sweet Roll by Premier Yarns. Still, the colors, texture, and trim make for an attractive, yet rustic scarf. The pattern is rated as easy, but it took me a while to get the hang of it. I crocheted several additional rows to the piece so that the scarf/shawl would wind about the neck more comfortably. The decorative edging took quite a bit of concentration to get it right, but the total effect was lovely. When I added the decorative flower, braids, and wooden beads, I was quite pleased with the unique piece. I am looking forward to working on the lighter version in pearl to gray tones in Unfortgettable by Red Heart. Perhaps this would be a good project for my extended road trip to Maine in August.
I am proud when I unpack the car at the end of a journey to reveal an attractive knitted or crocheted piece read to to construct, finish, or block. On our recent road trips to Pennsylvania, and eastern as well as norther Connecticut, I had fun with my husband and family while I made constructive use of travel time.
Fellow crocheters, do you use your travel time as opportunity to engage in your craft? What equipment do you take with you? How do you pack it? What projects do you enjoy making, and which ones can easily be executed on a rode trip?