Vacation Yarn Packing Report

By Kay Gardiner
August 8, 2019

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  • Oh, I so get it. Cruising for 2 weeks around the British Isles, and all I can imagine is that I will finish that long forgotten second sock before the 8 hour flight home from Bergen, Norway !!! On the other hand, we are in Wales headed for Scotland. Perhaps I’ll find some lovely wool in Invergorden? Edinburgh? Maybe even Bergen???

    • This was so funny and so very true. Thanks Kay, for the morning smile. Packing is perilous enough but when you are a knitter? Whew… that’s all just whew!

      • You speak for all of us. I brought 1 sweater 3/4 completed, another to start, a baby gift (finished), 2 socks half done and one to start just in case. For a month trip. And to a yarn festival (stitches Midwest) Now I have to either send my clothes back home via USPS or the yarn. I think it will be clothes because those are easier to replace if it all gets lost These are the travel worries of a knitter. Thanks for making me feel I’m not the only one with yarn travel issues.

        • My friend did that very thing while visiting her parents for two weeks. She visited a LYS and had to ship back some clothes to make room for her yarn she bought. The yarn was too precious to ship.

    • Check out Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh. An American expat owns it. Her tiny, but wonderful, shop was featured in an issue of Vogue Knitting a couple years back.
      If you have an Android phone, download KNITMAP. This app lists yarn shops all over the world. It’s marvelous and dangerous. You might find yourself shipping yarn home, like I’ve done…many times!
      Happy yarn shopping!

      • Read your reply and immediately clicked over to Playstore to get the app without realizing I hadn’t finished reading the other comments! I’m excited to use it!!

    • Shipping yarn back from Scotland is SOOOOOO easy! Just go to a post office (the ones I used were open 7 days a week) and they have everything you need. And the people who work there are so very helpful.

  • Sock knitting is the best for traveling, esp. in tight spaces because, if you are using circulars ( magic loop preferred) one of your DPNs isn’t rolling under the plane seat in front of you, the smaller arm movements required with circulars means you are not jabbing the person next to you, the 400 yd skein takes up next to no room in your bag, and if you get tired of knitting socks (which IMHO, is hard to do; cuff boring? Oh look it’s time to turn a heel!) two or more skeins of aforesaid easily packable yarn is nice for a lacy shawl.
    That said, you knit way faster than I do, or you have a clone that takes care of the rest of you life, so I am guessing unless you are suddenly unable to knit, you need more yarn.

    Just sayin’

  • Oh my gosh this is so me! I was just away for a month….can you imagine my angst deciding which projects to take?

  • Loved the UPS-ing the yarn to your destination!

    I did a couple hundred mile bicycle ride and Fed Ex’d clean clothes to each hotel / inn we stayed over at and packed the Fed Ex box w the sweaty clothes to be mailed home.

    We leave our home in the Outer Banks for two months every summer when the tourists are heavy. Yarn is the first thing planned and packed and the two month stash stays with me in the front so I know right where it is while the rest of our items and clothes are expertly packed like a puzzle by my husband and older son in the Jeep’s cargo space.

    • Love your screen name, but I have to sing it: “Hey Kerrianne, what’s your name, now, can anybody play?”

      • Loved the Hollies…and the Byrds…..

        I’d include Hey Carrie Anne on all my **cassette** party tapes.

        • My name is Jude. Imagine my life.

        • Or Maria born just before the release of West Side Story. I still occasionally have strange men sing to me when they find out my name. Of course they are now septuagenarians so it’s a little less weird in some ways and much more weird in others.

      • And my name is Dixie…….sigh. I won’t even go there.

    • I’ve left my interchangeables at home. Then realised that the Aran I was working on is miles too big. Wool winder- at home. I’m currently making a totally inappropriate shawl out of a crazy zauberball. It’s far too prickly for this! I want UPS!

  • I must have arrived to the party late. Please, what is a sock blanket? I seem to want one!

    • It’s a sock blank. See Ann’s Letter posted 6/11/2019 “Blanking Out”. That was new to me too 🙂

      • If you are not into dyeing your own, Gales Art dyes up beautiful sock blanks…single and doubles. They are very fun to knit with..and to just look at!

    • They’re SOOOOO cool!! KnitPicks has them, and you want to remember to order the double-stranded sock blank. That way, after you have done the dying part and treating the sock blank afterward and it is completely dry, you can wind the double strands into two different balls of yarn, you can knit them into identically striped or dyed socks! Really cool. I’m starting my second sock (no, not the second pair, the second sock OF my first pair), and I am so pleased.

  • Even though I hate driving long distances ( prefer flying), I would rather drive and have more room for yarn. Even better if hubby goes on the trip. I can knit while he drives. I knit a shawl driving home from Nevada to South Carolina. Shout out to Sin City Knits in Las Vegas!

    • Love Sin City Knits. Only been there once but they saved my multi-colored socks by giving me a baggie full of plastic bread twists to use as bobbins. Thanks

  • How timely as I am packing for a four to six week trip and keep revising my yarn and pattern packing list. It was causing me as much anxiety as the thought of traveling with an overly anxious, geriatric German Shepard until I read your post. Now that the yarn packing dilemma has been resolved, any suggestions about the dog.

    • I am just finishing up a two week trip through Canada and this really gave me a chuckle. I brought three different sweaters to work on, plus two different skeins of sock yarn, in case I all of a sudden become the speediest knitter in the world. I then bought more yarn at Espace Tricot in Montreal. Sigh… I am sitting at the airport waiting for my return flight home and still working on the first sweater. Bon Voyage

    • My late, great, Cocker Spaniel, Billy, was an anxious traveler. I used to give him Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic Bach Flower tincture available from most health food and vitamin stores. I used the “people” version, not the “pet” one. The pet version didn’t seem to work. We also gave it to him during thunderstorms and when fireworks were going off (a pretty common summertime occurrence on the lake where we lived). I would either soak a cookie with it, or simply shoot a dropperful into his mouth. He was smaller than your doggy, so you might have to give him more. But check with your vet, of course.

  • Socks are my favorite travel knitting. My #mdkwandering socks went with me to Chicago last week for a 2 day business trip. Of course a second skein of yarn went too, because my flight could get delayed and I could be stuck in an airport for hours. One must have knitting for such situations.

  • I am a yarn rep on the road all the time AND I have 2 suitcases full of yarn to show and I still panic that I may run out of personal yarn…

    • Dream job.

    • haha (hi Gilda!)

    • I had to take a moment to digest these 2 words used together. Yarn. Rep.

      yarn + rep = mind + blown

      Where did I miss this calling in life? Now I’m asking myself why I’m out there working as a medical sales rep selling CT scanners and MRI systems?

      I need to sit down and update my resume. These are transferable skills, right?!

      • Because medical sales reps make lots more money than yarn reps!!!!!

    • Wow! I am in the midst of trying to change careers. Something there I need to look into. That would be an awesome career change!!

  • Before I started knitting (again) I was stuck in the Baltimore airport for 4 hours! Luckily there was a little spa and I got a pedicure. I also did many Duolingo lessons in Italian. Now I don’t have that problem as I always bring socks to knit. Good suggestions on using magic loop instead of DPNs on a plane.

  • When I was finalizing my packing at 2 AM, 4 hours before departure, I realized I could not fit another thing in my suitcase. I even momentarily considered having my fur kid share her carrier space with my latest project (after all, my most precious cargo could ride together), With clarity that only the sleep deprived can muster, I made an executive decision. Why take any yarn??? I could survive the 2 hour airport wait (I still read, right?) the 4 hour plane (more reading), and that still allowed me 3 hours to get to the LYS to pick out a new project. New needles, new yarn and another project bag. Brilliant! It’s all a matter of timing. .

  • Obsessed? Who’s obsessed? We have a two week trip to Mexico in March. I’m already planning my projects. There are a number of long bus trips involved as well as the flights.

  • Three years ago, I went away for 5 weeks…no joke, I packed a FIVE FOOT LONG DUFFEL BAG full of yarn to take with me. In my defense, a lot of it was super bulky yarn (so it took up a lot of space), and I knit up about 70% of it while away. (Before you ask, I drove to my destination, and the duffel was in a roof bag on top of my car. For flying, I tend to stick with sock/fingering weight projects.)

  • Oh, Kay! I adore every word you write! I laugh! I nod in agreement! I think, “Well, of course!” Please never stop writing what we all know to be true about ourselves! At least then I know there are others out there who are exactly like ME !!!! xoxox Dixie Myers, happily knitting for 60 years!

  • It doesn’t have to be a long trip! I’ve often taken two small projects to the hair salon when I have a haircut and color! Who knows? I might get bored with one and if I have another I won’t be sentenced to reading outdated copies of People. My projects are usually socks, mittens or gloves, or a shawl. It all has a separate knitting bag and each project is in a large baggie. Oh, I have a haircut next week! Time to choose my projects!

  • I made a weekend trip to the Northwoods of Wisconsin last weekend, a good 10+ hours spent driving, and I packed four projects. One of those projects made it out of the car! I’m so excited to see every single one of those things become something!! xoxo

  • One way to less packing space: thinner yarn, thinner needles.
    Project CERTAIN to take longer than 2 weeks.
    Second solution: needlepoint project (on #14 canvas); always takes same (small) space,
    pretty certain will take more than two weeks.

    • Ila, Good for you If you are able to follow your two prong packing rule!!! I venture to say that unfortunately Or fortunately (depends on your point of view), most of us folks feel that your words of wisdom are definitely way to Hard to even think about, let alone be able to put into practice…
      Happy Knitting!!! ; >

  • Ohh, very very yummy needlepoint pillow! You want to get that finished on this trip. And actually, it looks like you will.

  • I find that even if I pack knitting on a trip, I rarely end up knitting. I love my kindle; reading is easier than hauling out needles, yarn, and pattern on a stopover or a bus ride. Besides in a new place I can’t give enough concentration to my knitting to avoid having to rip out many mistakes afterward. I salute you multi-taskers! But taking a knitting break a la Ann’s trip to Iceland is a good idea too.

  • So much fun to read your travel knitting report and all the comments. Makes my heart beat just a little bit faster to know I am not alone.
    I believe that magic loop was invented by someone who dropped a double pointed needle on an airplane I know that’s when I started using magic loop. Time to go pack 2 or 3 projects for my trip to the grocery store!

    • This made me laugh out loud! I look longingly at my sock project bag anytime I leave the house – even when, logically, I know there won’t time to do any knitting!

  • Well, since I am in the middle of two small projects currently with a blanket repair staring me in the face and a baby blanket needing to be started I can totally relate! I did however just finish a sweet baby blanket for our granddaughter who is due to arrive around Halloween!

  • OK, so I’m not nuts, a little crazy around the edges, but not nuts…thank you! I have issues just getting in the car without my little bag with project/s. Going to a family reunion and a couple days antiqueing and I am actually going through many bags of projects, deciding which to take on a 3 day trip….and believe it or not…taking yarn to match at any yarn shop I can find along the way…..

  • Loved your article – I can SO relate! I always take pre-printed shipping labels with me so I can mail home the stuff I cannot get back in my suitcase(s).

  • LOL! You should have seen what I packed to come to Shakerag, where I’d be surrounded by yarn AND projects!!!

  • But Kay, what about the anxiety over lost luggage? .. what if the 3 projects in your carry on dont last until the checked luggage shows up?? AND the stress of new shinny vacation yarn missing in a lost carousel somewhere is enough to induce the need for a new vacation!

  • Add me to the list of socks-for-travel-knitting camp. Small, compact & since they take a ton of stitches, I won’t finish them before I get home. Bonus points for patterned socks. They take a hair longer to work on than plain stockinette.

    • I am at this camp! If I finish the sock while on the trip I get to find new sock yarn even if from a thrift shop. A practical souvenir!

  • Always a dilemma! I am going to Portugal for three weeks in October – a walking tour for half of that time. Recommendations for yarn shops there? I have Thea Colman’s “Widow’s Kiss” in mind for a lovely woolen spun yarn. That should fit in my backpack, right? (With a couple pair of socks on the needles too…)

  • Goodness! Packing for vacation is SO stressful! I took a 5 day trip to California to visit famdamnly, and took 3 projects. A sweater, shawl and a pair of delightfully yummy socks. I finished the shawl on the road there and back. (Note to self; a beaded shawl is not a great choice in the back seat of the car while the son drives on bumpy roads. 3 weeks later and I am still finding loose beads rolling about!) Socks were never started and are still glaring at me from their project bag. The sweater (For hubby, we call him Mr Gigantic) is half finished. On a brighter note, there are LOTS of wonderful yarn shops there! Plenty of stowaways for the trip home!

  • Currently in the process of packing for 2 weeks away. So far 3 shawls in various stages of completion, another to cast-on, 1 Sweater that was just cast-on, a king size quilt top that is about halfway done, and fabric to make 2 mini quilts. Concerned that’s not enough…. maybe I should print off a few patterns in case I go to a yarn store….

  • Okay glad I’m not the only one lol I dog sat for my mom 15 minutes away I parked ALL my WIPs… 2 – 27 gallon totes a backpack and a small duffel bag! My husband asked if I was leaving him, my mom laughed and said you know you’re not going to get to all that right? She didn’t point out (thankfully) that I’m 12 miles away from home, and 4 blocks from Hobby Lobby AND JoAnn’s not to mention the box stores and I’m sure a mom and pops I don’t know about…I have 2 projects sometimes more in my 2 go bags as I try to limit my need for packing my WIPs… Thank God I didn’t hit my stash too lol

  • I have to email this to my sisters. They think I’m the only one. Remember the panic when it looked like you may not be able to take knitting on a plane? I spent days trying to find needles that would not look threatening.

    I have to pack now for a week trip and am agonizing on what to take

  • I just got back from a 2week road trip with my husband and 17yr son, non-stop driving to Illinois then back west on Rt66. Sounds fun, right? Well, my dears there are no yarn shops on Rt66 and few off I-40! I packed minimal yarn thinking I would get a chance to pick-up more, which was fine because I was obsessed with the sock I was working. Then the unspeakable happened… my flexi- needle broke! I remember thinking as I was packing my yarn bag, that I really didn’t need to take a back-up circular because I could pick one up at one of the many yarn shops I would visit. Fool! We found a Micheals, they had 1 set only of dpn in the correct size, and when I got back to the car my lovely husband and son had a latte waiting for me!
    100% road trip with them again!

  • I’m getting ready for three week trip- just me! Plan to bring one scarf, one pair of socks and sweater to work on. Will be within walking distance of LYS and have multiple LYS enroute from airport to destination. I will probably be mailing dirty clothes home (again). Hoping to bring an almost empty carry one with me so I have room for yarn! We’ll see how that works out!

  • I will share my favorite cautionary tale. While my sister was living in Europe, she and her DH had a week’s trip to Spain. DH would be working so my sister brought ONE knitting project that she was determined to finish. And forgot the needles. She couldn’t find what she needed in Spain and had no backup project. Can you imagine the horror? I always bring one or two backups now, just in case.

  • Silly Kay! Haven’t you learned to plan your vacations around the yarn shops, spinning mills, sheep ranches, etc. that you want to visit? (PS: That needlepoint may not be a cushion yet, but it is an antique by now.)

    • ALWAYS!!!
      know where the next wool zupplier is located … I encountered an amazing mountain of wool in a market in La Paz, Bolivia…if I could have i would have packed up all of it…as it was… only bought ten skiens and sent them home …no room in backpack … along with some alpaca …oh to be there right now!

  • lol lol lol! I literally drove my kid to camp two weeks ago (okay hubs was driving but I digress…) and though I better bring yarn I am about to turn the heels of these current socks. Camp was 2.5 hours away. I wish I could apply knitting goggles to the rest of my life! HA! (Also, those socks got done 2 days later!)

  • I am going to stay with my daughter in another state for about 10 months to help her with her kids while her husband is deployed. I am more concerned with packing yarn and tools than clothes. I do keep all my knitting patterns and knitting tips in a folder on Drop Box, so I never have to worry about printing them up.

  • Only New Yorkers will get this, but I just spent an hour this morning agonizing over what project to take for Alternate Side Parking—at most, 20 minutes sitting in the car. Happens several times a week.
    Travel suggestion: You can wear several outfits at once on the plane if you need extra suitcase space. Won’t work for shoes of course, but you can layer most other things. Also offers excellent body shielding if you happen to be seated next to D. Trump.

  • Wow love the cushion. I once spent at least 15 years completing a needlepoint project so completely understand how that can happen. Its a “between projects” project. Don’t be in a hurry to finish it

  • I have some beautiful pink lace weight yarn simply because a friend ran out of knitting on a road trip to visit family across the country! She swears only true desperation would have caused her to buy pink yarn…. Luckily, she did find a yarn shop and got plenty to last the rest of the trip. And the aforementioned pink lace weight, that she unloaded after she got home.

  • Socks are the perfect knit-on-the-go project…small, wearable, giftable … traveling to WoolWeek on Shetland in September already choosing my skeins!!

  • On a trip to Mexico I had a hitchhiker shawl (over 100 stitches) on my circular needles in my carry on. The security Guys wanted to confiscate my needles. I asked for a scissors and cut the needles off and kept stitches intact in the cable. crazy

  • I always try to pack one (1) simple project.
    I did wish I had extra needles when my grandson chewed my needle I half!

  • You are so spot on! I generally pack clothes with little effort, but spend hours on which knitting projects and how many, and what collection of notions will I use in the long 67 hour days that I will have to knit in. I’ll have nothing else to do except maybe sightseeing, eating and visiting. . . .

  • Oh I loved this one! I hope you’re having a blast!

  • Just returning from a 4 day trip and packed a pair of in-progress toe-up socks, and started a simple shawl in case I reached the heels of the socks and couldn’t pay attention while navigating for the driver. I resisted the urge to add a set of interchangeable needles.

  • We just got to the hotel for a weekend getaway – departing Sunday. I brought a sweater that needs half the lace repeat at the bottom and two sleeves to go, and a baby romper. I’m stressing that I will finish both and not have any knitting but too much time left.

  • Delightful and sooo true. Just returning from California also having brought only sock still but still limited clothing choices. I will have socks !!! And new yarn of course

  • This is so totally true!! I resumed knitting in 2002…for the first time since age 7, decades prior. Since then I’ve made travel knitting and yarn souvenirs a highlight of each trip…and yes, I’ve UPS’d my dirty laundry home so my Travel Yarn could fly home with me!

  • I have run out.of yarn on Vacation. Its horrifying. Its too funny I’m going away for a long weekend and I just printed out patterns and waiting for new yarn to arrive. Like I dont have enough projects that need to go on vacation.

  • I bought so much yarn on holiday last year I had to post it back home as it wouldn’t fit in my case. Unfortunately it arrived home before I did, so hubby saw what I’d done! (I have a knitting holiday for a week without him, once a year)

  • Dear Kay, I enjoyed your Vacation Knitting Packing text! You have everything including friends for wonderful vacation. Hope you had wonderful vacation. Your text was inspiration for my upcoming D.C. vacation with best knitting friend. Yarn goes in suitcase before clothes, lol! I’m taking sock yarn and an unfinished project, Close to You, Shawlette. Happy Knitting, Anne

  • Currently trimming down the weight in my backpack……quilt/ditch the sleeping bag, only one chg of clothes for 5 days ( this includes nightwear), etc., but taking the Rosaries vest project!
    Susan…off to the Eagle Cap

  • Lleft town last week for NOT EVEN 24 HOURS and packed an extra project “just in case.” Hope springs eternal…..

  • OMG I love MDK . I always thought I was the only one who did this. What is in our DNA that compels us to do this? I always pack something (or maybe 2 things) to knit
    on the plane and then fall asleep. Another packing trait is that I always bring my knitting to my doctor appointments hoping I will have a long wait and then get annoyed when there is no wait. Yes, I guess I’m sick :)))))

  • Did I write this in my sleep and somehow sent it to you via that dream-sharing that all knitters have? Oh, my gosh! Thanks for making me laugh and LAUGH!!! With such recognition and appreciation. Such a happy dilemma, isn’t it? How much yarn to take….that eternal question.