Travel knitting: The why and how

Apart from short errands around town, whenever I leave the house, I nearly always have my knitting in hand. A few stitches here and there really add up over time, and if I'm ever in a position where I'm waiting, I would prefer to occupy my hands with some knitting, rather than mindlessly scrolling my phone.

I've knit in all sorts of places: at the dentist, in waiting rooms, in the parked car waiting for grocery pickup, at airports, on buses, and in the passenger seat while Nicholas drives.

And when we do any sort of traveling, I certainly plan ahead with my project(s) and setup for knitting on the go. There are a few criteria I have for a project to make it suitable for on-the-go knitting:

  • Compact. Sock or hat or cowl projects, working from one ball of yarn. They pack up small and can squeeze into my diaper bag or a tote bag.
  • Mindless/straightforward. I prefer to bring projects with simple stitch patterns that I don't need to constantly look down at or need to reference a pattern
  • Established (already cast-on)

Typically, if a project meets the above criteria, it has potential for being brought along.

We just got home from a trip to Michigan with family. It was a sweet three full days in a cabin, spent hiking and making fires, drinking coffee, and going for bike rides, and of course, managing two little boys! I'll write more about it in a separate post, but I wanted to use this trip as an example of my travel knitting setup.

Projects I brought along:

  • My habitation throw: I've knit the first half of this and now I am decreasing every other row. The first half is scrappy, but since I've used up all my scraps in complementary colors, I'm knitting the second half in a single yarn. I already wove in all the ends, so it was no longer a "messy" project. And the rows are mostly long, garter stitch.
  • My self-drafted marled cowl: This is plain stockinette stitch, just knitting round and round. I barely need to look at it, and it's lightweight and has only one ball of yarn attached. I reached for this most often on the trip, since I could knit on it and still look out the car window (Nicholas drove) at the scenery.

I brought two projects, so I had options, depending on my mood. To my knitting tote, I also added my notions pouch (with tapestry needles, snips, stitch markers, etc). And I wrapped up my cowl in a bento bag, so the two projects wouldn't become entangled. I also like to add a stitch marker at the beginning of a trip or a block of knitting to indicate my progress, and it's fun for me to see the extent of my vacation knitting.

On this vacation, I knit the most on the drives to trailheads in the passenger seat and also while keeping the boys company (particularly Finn, who is decidedly not a fan of the carseat) in the backseat.

And that's it! There have been trips where I've barely knit, and trips where I've reached for my projects a lot. I'm just content to have it along for the ride, whenever a quiet moment arises.