Summer travel season is almost here. Road trips. Plane trips. Hiking and biking and all the good stuff. It is no secret that I bring my yarn EVERYWHERE. Seeing me at the airport with yarn in hand is a shock to no-one! But I know I am not the only one.
As travel season is upon us, I invited my friend Danielle who is also an avid traveler to share about her tips and tricks for an easy and fun fiber travel season.
Take it away Danielle:
It’s almost summer and you know what that means….crocheting on the beach! Crocheting in the pool! Crocheting with one hand while your other hand holds a melting ice cream cone and your bare feet walk over the cool grass in the park! Ok, so maybe that’s not the most practical scenario. But you know what summer does bring?
Travel! Travel! and TRAVEL!
While there are many ways to travel, there’s no better place to switch off and stitch on like an airplane. And what better way to make plane travel fly by than to crochet a project? Or two? Or seven?
These days, flying is heavily regulated on what you can and cannot bring on the plane (or off the plane). These rules tend to change from time to time, so make sure you check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) site before you travel, just in case. The TSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that has authority over the security of the traveling public in the United States. If you are flying internationally (coming or going) be sure to check regulations for each country. A great resource is Smarter Travel here.
My boyfriend lives in England and I live in New York, so I travel. A lot. The hardest part though, and the bane of every travelers’ existence, is packing. I plan. I make lists. I check them twice. And inevitably, I always, always, manage to over pack AND forget something at the same time.
I just got back from 10 days in Australia, and I swear I packed 10 outfits. I packed 17. 17 outfits!!! Why??? Meanwhile, I forgot to bring pajamas. SMH.
But when it comes to crochet, I welcome overpacking. I don’t ever want to be stuck on a 15 hour flight (or an unexpected 24 hour layover - yeah, it happened) without something to occupy my time. Here are my tips and tricks on how I survive hours and hours of plane travel with ALL the yarn.
** Please note: I’m a crocheter, but most of these tips apply to knitters and other fiber artists as well!
What to pack:
The first time I traveled with my crochet, I was so paranoid about taking metal hooks on the plane, that I purchased a set of wooden hooks from Amazon. These Knitters Pride Hooks are great for travel. However, I’ve since taken my metal Boye hooks on the plane, and have yet to experience any issues. Currently, the TSA allows crochet hooks, knitting needles, sewing & tapestry needles, and scissors with blades less than 4 inches from the pivot point. All the basics, right? You really have no need to worry.
But, if you’re like me and live in the “better safe than sorry” camp, you can ensure smoother travel with a few changes to your tool kit. Like I said - grab a set of wooden hooks that is perfect for travel here. You may not want to bring any of your expensive tools no matter how much you love working with them. Regardless of what the websites say, there is always the risk of items being confiscated, broken, stolen, or destroyed in transit. You don’t want to lose that gorgeous handmade hook that was a present from your favorite Aunt.
Also while you want to bring ALL. THE. YARN., and no one would tell you not to, perhaps take a moment to consider if you really need four balls of super soft yarn that cost $40/skein. You never know when you might hit turbulence and spill your coffee right onto your project. The horror! Bring yarn you know you can both enjoy and replace.
Invest in travel scissors. Seriously. These mini folding Fiskars are ideal. They are TSA approved, cheap, and fold up so the blade is covered and won’t stab through your case. And grab a mini tape measure because you may not realize how happy you will be not to have to convert the metric system!
BONUS PRO-TIP: PACK BOBBY PINS. Ladies, you know you have a million of these lying around! Bobby pins have gotten me out of all sorts of jams while crocheting on the plane. I was working with chunky yarn and didn’t have a tapestry needle with an eye large enough for the yarn. Enter the bobby pin! Sewed up my project with ease. I had a set of really cheap plastic stitch markers that magically all broke at once. Enter the bobby pin. Didn’t have any knit clips to hold my two project pieces together. Enter the bobby pin! A few strategically placed pins, and my project was neatly lined up. GET BOBBY PINS!
Download or even Print your patterns. Having a hard copy on hand to refer to will save you so much anxiety. Nothing’s worse than running out of battery on your phone or computer or not having WiFi to access the file. Plus, hard copies are easier to mark up so you can follow along or make notes or not lose your place when you get distracted and run off to the ocean while stitching on the beach.
Where to pack:
How much yarn I bring is dependent on my Baggage Allowance. You can bet that if I have one free checked bag, that’s where all my clothes are going, and my carry on will be full of yarn. I like having my important items close at hand. Clothing is replaceable, but yarn, and the hours I spent on projects, are not.
Here’s how I organize my packing:
Carry On: Extra yarn for projects. Extra yarn just in case. All the yarn. (and a change of clothes if it fits).
Personal Item: I usually take my large laptop bag as my personal item. It’s the perfect bag to house my current WIP, supplies, and patterns.
PRO-TIP: Use a pencil case. It fits all my crochet hooks, scissors, tapestry needles, bobby pins, and tape measure. It also leaves a bit of room for pens and highlighters for marking up patterns. I also carry a nail file to make sure I don’t snag any yarn with rough edges!
Checked Bag: Like I said, I will check my clothes and trip items. The yarn comes with me!
What not to pack:
But, I thought you said it’s good to over-pack!?
Unfortunately, you can’t pack it all. Leave that third-favorite, fourth-, fifth, etc. at home. I suggest one current WIP project in your personal item, and two back up projects and yarn in your carry on. This way, you’ll almost invariably have room to buy more yarn at your destination! Because you WILL want to buy that local yarn find, you know you will ;)
I hope this helps you pack for all of your adventures and travels. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has used a common item in an interesting way while crafting on-the-go as well like my love for Bobby Pins. Comment below and let us know.
And where ever you go... always have your yarn! See all the places I bring my yarn on my Instagram here. And you will see why I am called the Wandering Hook.