Nearly every week, I take the position of trying to convince the entire world that everyone should learn how to knit. It's true, I really do feel that way. Or at the very least, I strongly feel that everyone should experience the process of creating something slowly by hand, at least once. It's incredibly rewarding, not just for traditionally "creative" types, but also for those who are more analytical. It's creativity-oriented, but it's also process-oriented. I've written about my love for slow processes and my (slow) blog before. Although that's not my entire point of writing this particular post. I'm hoping, that with enough persuasive evidence, here and there, you all might want to learn either how to knit, or have the desire to make something slow. Nicholas' version of this? He recently built a mechanical keyboard from scratch (soldering and all the other fiddly bits! I helped him with a few of the steps and it was a blast).
For me, my case in favor of slow processes/projects: the joy of traveling with a knitting project. We travel a fair amount, mostly because both of our families and many of our friends live out of state. Naturally, holidays, summers, weddings, and celebrations usually merit a flight. I like to travel, because I find it enjoyable to live out of a suitcase (within reason) and every time I pack, it's an excuse to pack a mini capsule wardrobe. However, the joy of travel is also in getting to the destination. Generally, I spend more time thinking about my packing list of travel activities more than any other portion of my list.
This September, we are taking two trips, and I've done am embarrassing amount of planning regarding which work-in-progress knitting projects to bring, and what completed knitwear to bring with to wear (in order to stay warm in the Canadian rockies).
My activities of choice for flying involve knitting, reading, and napping. Oh, and snacking. The snacks! Nicholas is right when he says, "When we go on trips you go way overboard with the snacks." That's entirely true. With few exceptions, airport food is wildly disappointing and expensive for what it is, so I want to be prepared with the best alternatives. This week, we leave early, early Friday morning. It's of little importance that I'll likely sleep during the flight, because I'm always hungry on planes and five mini airline pretzels (while surprisingly delicious) and orange juice aren't going to cut it. Some of my favorite recent plane snacks include plantain chips, bananas, Larabar bites, and almonds or other nuts. For this trip, I've already prepped one of our favorite fika treats to bring to Ohio to share with family. Snacks to be eaten after arrival to our destination absolutely matter too.
Now, as for activities, books and magazines are perfectly suitable for travel, as they are interruptible. That is, if you arrive to your gate with 30 minutes to spare, you can sit down, pull out one thing, and be entertained, and then when it's time to board, it doesn't take long to get everything situated in your personal bag/carry on. To prepare for all potential travel activities, yesterday, I made a trip to our public library.
And then, of course, there's the knitting. I choose my knitting projects by these qualities:
- straightforward directions—which don't require constantly referencing
- "conversational knitting" where I can knit and talk to Nicholas or anyone else at the same time—i.e. no kitchener stitch, or lots of counting
- something I can easily set down in the middle of a row, if I want to take a quick nap
Why travel with knitting? It's productive and engaging. Plus, It allows me to be occupied without closing myself off from the world (see above paragraph about being interruptible). Basically, I'm not bored, but I'm not avoiding the world by being engrossed in my phone or headphones. There's nothing wrong with that choice of activities, but I don't like to wear headphones for long periods of time, and goodness knows I already spend too much time on my phone.
With a little planning and a lot of excitement about the actual process of travel, trips are more fun, productive, and memorable. I knit a hat on a flight to Florida for a friend's wedding. Whenever I wear the hat, I think of her and her husband. I'll make a case that hand knits are far more than just the stitches, they are "life-markers" for events and accomplishments and memories. Knitting, in that way, is an act of preserving. And of course, it's a whole of lot of fun.
What are your travel activities of choice, and why?
P.S.—Car knitting is another joy! So many of my above feeling apply to long car trips.
This particular project has been on my needles since March of this year. At the very start, it felt like a mindless, but very uphill project. I knit it on size 2 needles, and at first, I had to look down a lot as I knit, and it just felt slow. But bit by bit, I picked it up and worked on it.
Each year, I enjoy glancing back and making note of what knitting projects I worked on and completed throughout the year, noticing trends or patterns in my making. I've noticed that my creativity or how my creative pursuits "serve" me in a given season can vary widely depending on life circumstances.
Over the last several months, I've been working on several Christmas crafts—both sewing and knitting. Some are for our own home as decor, and most are gifts. Since some were mailed off relatively early or opened at early Christmas celebrations, I can now share them here, just in time for Christmas. The links with the knitting projects are to project pages which then include pattern links.