Travelling Knitter’s Checklist

I had so many issues with the last project that I brought with me on vacation that I felt they needed to be documented, if only to save myself future grief.  I didn’t have a lot of time to get my project ready before I travelled so I did the minimum.  I wound a few skeins of yarn to bring, photocopied the pattern I wanted to knit (so I didn’t mark up the original) and did a gauge swatch to determine which needles to bring. 

As I worked on my project during vacation, I discovered a few other things that I had wished I had done.

  • Brought a Crochet Hook
    • The pattern I chose has Aran-style cables and motifs.  It has been awhile since I knit something like this and I was a little rusty knitting the pattern.  Small mistakes were made.  Stitches were knit instead of purled or knit properly when they should have been knit through the back.  Overall, these small mistakes didn’t make a noticeable difference to the pattern, and considering this part of the garment was at the back and the bottom, I convinced myself that it made the piece unique and was not worth the effort to pull the piece apart to correct it.  If I had a crochet hook, fixing the errors would have been easy and the perfectionist in me would have rested easily.
  • Checked the Knitting Publication for Corrections to the Pattern
    • As I knit, the pattern started to make sense to me and my piece started to take shape – until it didn’t!  The motif was a large diamond with criss-crossing lines within it.  As I began knitting the top half of the diamond, it became apparent that the criss-crossing lines were not matching up.  The pattern appeared to blur.  I double checked the chart I was following and found nothing wrong with what I was doing.  Eventually it occurred to me that maybe there was a mistake in the pattern.  After a few internet searches, sure enough, there was a corrected version to the chart I was following.  If I had a crochet hook, I might have corrected what I had done but as it was, I left that little bit of blurriness making my piece even more unique.
  • Brought Handy Tools
    • I continued with my project and was pleased with how it was taking shape.  At one point though, I noticed an anomaly in a section of stocking stitch a few rows down.  After closer inspection I realized that I made a huge rookie mistake.  At some point, I managed to pick up my knitting and start knitting from the wrong direction.  I was starting to think of this project as ‘the project from hell’ but took a deep breath and decided to think of it as ‘the problem project that just needs a little patience to reach its full potential’
    • Smaller Sized Needles – I decided that I was no longer ignoring mistakes and this one would be fixed.  I ripped out about 8 rows of my project and used a smaller needle to pick up all the stitches.  Picking up stitches that you have ripped out is significantly easier if you do it with a smaller sized needle than one sized as the stitch was originally knit in.
    • Stitch Markers – Check your pattern to see if you will need them but also consider having them anyway.  This project had 157 stitches casted on and using a marker every 50 stitches as I casted on made counting the total stitches much easier.
    • Cable Needles – You will know by the pattern you chose if you use a cable needle.  I always use a double pointed needle that is a bit smaller than the size of needle I am using.
    • Measuring Tool – A measuring tape is a must for large projects.  If it is a small project, like socks, sometimes I just mark on the photocopy of the pattern I am using the various measurements I need.
    • Yarn Cutter – My favourite tool to bring is a sample dental floss container.  It has a small blade to cut the yarn and you don’t have to bring scissors – which are a big ‘no no’ on a flight.
    • Note: I like to travel light, and bring the minimum, but I did have these items on this trip
  • Determined if Knitting Needles are Allowed on the Plane
    • Bringing your knitting on the plane is not an issue if you started out in a Canadian airport.  I believe it is true for American airports as well.  I have learned that just because you were allowed to carry your knitting travelling to a country, doesn’t mean that you will be allowed to take your knitting on the plane travelling away from that country.  Last summer, I had to part with a beautiful pair of Addi needles when I went through security in the Athens airport.  The security agent showed me the regulations saying that sharp objects longer than 6 cm were not allowed.  Yes, my needles were longer than 6cm but sharp?  Of course, you cannot win an argument with them, so I gave up my needles.  It almost happened again in Mexico, but I was able to put them in a bag we were able to go back and check.