This week I am taking a vacation! I am headed to Stitches Midwest August 7 -9 and meeting up with some of my best friends. As a list maker, I have had a running list for weeks of things I need to take. Most of it is what you would find on any trip: clothes, deodorant, toothbrush, flipflops... As knitters, you know that the most important item to pack is your knitting, but don't forget to take a second look at your notion bag!
Project selection can be very important. You all know about choosing simple projects for knitting in public when you are likely to talk and knit. I don't have to tell you that choosing projects to suit all of your predicted moods of the trip can leave your travel partners lifting their eyebrows in disbelief that you could possibly need ALL of those bags. No. You already know all of that.
What I want to talk to you about is your travel notion bag. Having your pile of projects is all well and good, but you have probably found yourself without waste yarn or a badly needed stitch marker at one time or another that has stopped you in your tracks. A well thought out notion bag can save your travel knitting.
You might already have a notion bag. I have a small notion bag filled with essentials for every bag and add additional notions as needed. But take a second look! You are away from home and when you first packed your notion bag you may have thought that the need for one item or another was far off and could be grabbed next time you headed to that area of the house (never to be remembered again). You may not have read through your pattern and therefore didn't realize that you needed waste yarn or additional stitch markers.
Here is a list of things I carry in my notion bag:
Crochet hook for emergencies
Locking Stitch Markers
Paper & Pencil for notes
Length of Waste Yarn
You might also consider adding items like instructions on the Kitchener Stitch or a card laminated with your favorite sock heel. What about a list of yardages for projects in your size so that when you stop at a yarn store and fall in love with some amazing yarn you know exactly what the yardage will get you. I also like to keep a small candy for celebrating little knitting victories. Chapstick is essential for me because when I am concentrating I rub my lips together like a little kid just learning to make my letters. Maybe chewing gum helps you think.
Ok, so those are the essentials, but what if you forget something despite all of your planning? I have one name for you. MacGuyver. The guy escapes certain death with the old jet ski in a coffin trick. He can make a bomb out of paperclips and gum. So if you find yourself in a knitting emergency think creatively. No stitch markers? Use some waste yarn to make loops. No cable needle? Unbend a paperclip. Need to cut yarn without scissors? Use the yarn to cut itself! Forget your needles? Use chop sticks or pencils. Forget your yarn? Cut up strips of your clothing. Then when your travel partner returns and asks you why your clothes are in tatters you can explain that this is what happens when you don't stop at an LYS on the way!
What do you keep in your travel notion bag?