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Tips for Knitting or Crocheting on the Go!

As we enter into the holidays, I wanted to share some tips on travelling with your knit or crochet projects.

At my previous job, I flew to meetings or client about 2 times a month or commuted via train to clients. I looked forward to that time because it gave me the opportunity to actually sit and knit or crochet.

I learned a few tricks that allowed me to take my fiber craft on the go! I hope they encourage you to take that project with you when you travel!

Keep it together I like to keep my yarn, needles, hooks, tablet (or printed patterns), etc. in a small bag within my laptop/carry on bag. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I know that all of my project stuff is kept together and I don’t have to root around my larger carry on. This is true whether I’m flying, on a train or in a car.

But more important is that, when on a plane, I can put my laptop bag under the seat in front of me and pull out my project bag and stuff it in the seat pocket in front of me. Trust me, when that person in front of you puts their seat back to sleep, it’s really hard to get into your bag under their seat! Having my project bag out, helps to avoid the grunting, bumping and inevitable angry glares I get when trying to take it out after the flight is underway. Now, with newer planes, the seat back pockets are getting smaller, but I can usually still stuff my project bag in the seat next to me if I need to. Just don’t let the flight attendants see (hey – at least my phone is off!)

Here's my cute project bag!

Here's my cute project bag!

Use center pull yarn I cannot stress this enough. Make sure that the yarn you user center pull yarn.

Most commercial skeins are already center pull, meaning you pull your working yarn from the middle of the skein.

Center pull all the way!

I used to make yarn balls the ol’ fashioned way with the working yarn on the outside of the yarn ball – you know like cartoons where the kitty chases the ball of yarn. Cute, huh?

Well, not so cute when you drop that ball of yarn and it rolls down the plane aisle for about ten rows and the seatbelt sign is still on. OR when you have the yarn ball on the seat next to you and your plane lands and the yarn ball rolls forward under the seats for three rows. OR when you’re walking through O’hare and it falls out of your over stuffed carry on bag and two different strangers stop you to tell you that you have about 10 yards of yarn trailing behind you.

Yes – ALL of these have happened to me!

You can also make center pull balls manually or using a yarn winder. I love my two yarn winders – I have a small one that I got on Amazon for about $15 that works for medium weight yarns and a large one that was about $50 for bulky yarns. However, I still often wind the yarn by hand.

There are a lot of tutorials for winding center pull balls of yarn. I use this method – but with a large knitting needle or fat crochet hook, not a dowel:


Watch those elbows I’m a bigger lady, so I like to sit on the aisle when knitting or crocheting on a plan or train. Both can be cramped affairs, but I’ve found that if I’m on the aisle I have a little more room to move my arms. The only downside is when the person next to you has to get up and you have your yarn in the back of the seat pocket in front of you! But most people are good sports about it.

Needles, notions and clippers! Oh My!

In addition to keeping my stuff in a separate project bag, I like to keep my needles, hooks and other sewing notions needed to finish my work in an easy to reach bag INSIDE my project bag. I can take this smaller bag out and put it in the seat back pocket in front of me if space is limited. It also helps minimize rooting around when I need to change needles or grab something.

I bought some pillow cases at Target and they came in this nifty little bag!

I bought some pillow cases at Target and they came in this nifty little bag!

As far as things to finish my work, such as clippers and tapestry needles, I like to keep this in a pill bottle within my notions bag.

I don’t pack embroidery scissors in my travel bag. I’m not sure if you could take them through security. Instead, I have a set of nail clippers and a cuticle clipper and these work pretty well anytime I need to cut my yarn!

My experiences going through security with all this stuff in my bag… As I note above, I don’t carry embroidery scissors or other scissors in my carry on. I work with bamboo knitting needles and plastic or metal crochet hooks. I’ve seen other people knitting on planes with metal knitting needles. I’ve never had an issue flying (domestic or international) with them.

However, my bag does get searched maybe one out of ten trips through security, especially if I have a lot of yarn or needles stuff in my carry-on. I’ve had more than one humorous exchange about using my bamboo needles to ward off vampires with the TSA agent searching my bag, but I try to downplay the threat of the undead on commercial flights!

Just leave yourself enough time to get through security!

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