Just a knitter, packing for a trip.

I recently went on a road trip. We don’t have kids and didn’t need a lot, since we were staying in hotels, so I happily brought a large selection of wool, needles and tools. This allowed me to improvise a much needed Kindle case and choose my next project on the fly.

We are about to fly to Japan where we will be taking many trains and backpacking (only in the literal sense; we’re staying in hotels). This means space is limited and I can’t throw in my stash and tools willy nilly.

Everything I need for knitting on vacation.
Everything I need for knitting on vacation.

Planning is needed and here is my checklist:

  1. Decide on a realistic number of projects. This is hard. I only finished two pairs of sock and a kindle case on the road trip (2 weeks), but I didn’t have two 10 hour flights. I’ll bring three, just in case.
  2. If you’re flying, don’t forget to check the countries are you flying to/from/through to see if knitting needles are allowed. Then, check the airline, since their rules can be more stringent than the country.
  3. I don’t really trust that security will follow their own rules. I’m honestly surprised any country allows knitting needles in this day and age, so I won’t be surprised when the day comes and a TSA agent takes an initiative. This is why I always bring a plastic tapestry needles and a long contrast colour piece of yarn, so I can sit at the security gate and move the project off my needles and onto the lifeline. The only time I have needed to use it (my fault, I didn’t read the rules), the agent apologized profusely. At least they didn’t get my Addi’s.
  4. Consider a set of bamboo or wooden needles. I love my metal Addi’s, but I prefer to travel with wood or bamboo just to avoid a hassle at security.
  5. Don’t resort to your teeth, bring a cutting utensil – all airlines have restrictions on blades and razors. Most will allow a small blade or scissors, but not a circular cutter.
  6. I like to have a paper copy because I can’t always charge my phone or iPad, especially since we only travel with one charger. Make sure you have charts and chart keys (made that mistake before). Finally read over any patterns first to see if you need to save offline tutorials, extra tools, etc.
  7. I have an kindle copy of Cast on, Bind Off. This way I can choose a cast on or bind off method when I need it, not before and I’m not limited to my knowledge base. It’s only $3, so well worth it, especially since I can read it on my phone, iPad and Kindle.
  8. I learned to cable without a needle! No more cable needle that will fall down between the seats every few stitches.
  9. I always keep my standard tools in a pencil case. This one is big enough to hold my needle gauge, crochet hook, pencil, measuring tape and more. I prefer to fly with a pencil instead of a pen, because I’ve had one too many explode on the plane.
  10. Ziploc bags! We try to use reusable containers in our house, but yarn is an exception. All of my yarn is kept in ziploc bags, and there is no exception when I travel. I pack one for each planned project plus a spare.
  11. The thing about knitting needles and ziploc bags, is that one destroys the other. I never use tip guards on my needles, so I punch holes in the bags as I take them in and out.Whatever my current project is gets a fabric bag. I made this Japanese Knot bag just for this trip. It closes safely so my project won’t fall out, but lets me feed yarn through as I work. It is also super easy to knit and walk with this bag!

    Just big enough for a single ball and pencil case of tools
    Just big enough for a single ball and pencil case of tools
  12. These cardboard tubes. I haven’t used them yet, but I bought two off Knitpicks for my upcoming backpacking trip. The first will hold and protect my wooden DPN while I’m not using them. I predict good things will come from this.
  13. Personal preference: I don’t like bringing projects with colour work on a trip. My balls get tangled and the tension requires extra concentration. Lace and cables are great, though.
  14. I bring these lockable stitch markers to help mindless knitting, picking up stitches and even as a cable needle. I know I said I prefer not to use one, but some cables just require help.
  15. Technically not a knitting tool, but moisturizer. There is nothing like dry hands to make me put down my needles.
  16. Parrot inspector. ‘Nuff said.

It looks like a lot, but once packed up, it doesn’t take much room. Happy trails.


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