The one crafty area where I think I have really developed a bit of expertise is crochet on the move. I’ve hooked on buses, trains, boats, and aeroplanes; and in airports, stations, cars and hotel rooms… I’ve crocheted in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America as well as on my daily commute. So, here are my tips for travelling with crochet.
The first thing you need is a good project bag. Sewing is not within my skillset so I had to buy a bag (www.stringofhearts.co.uk/) and I chose this because I love the colours. The drawstring top means that the yarn can sit securely in the bag with the string pulled tight; you really don’t want your lovely clean yarn rolling all over the floor of the train or plane! This bag came with a handy little zip purse to hold all the little bits and bobs that find their way into the bag (which you also don’t want on the floor). The bag is lined too, which stops it from being too floppy.
Many people think that you can’t carry scissors on a plane but you can, provided that they have round/blunt ends and the blades are less than 6cm from the fulcrum. Baby nail scissors fit the description perfectly! In addition, they are cheap and you can buy them all over the place so it’s not a disaster if they are lost or confiscated (see below).
Hooks, of course, are crucial for crochet as are needles for darning ends and sewing up. I have mild arthritis in my hands for long sessions I like swap between different hook types. I also carry a needle threader (for those yarn ends that are just not quite long enough) and stitch holders so that I don’t lose my working stitch when the bag bumps on my back as I run for the gate. A carabiner is really useful: I can use it to clip the scissors to the drawstring or to attach the drawstring to the straps of my main bag. I have been known to leave things on trains and buses (I left my lunch on the bus last week) so a carabiner helps me to keep my belongings with me.
Although scissors, crochet hooks and darning needles are all permitted on planes, airport security officers are allowed to confiscate anything they perceive as dangerous so I am always a little anxious when my bag rolls into the x-ray machine. I’ve taken my project bag through airport security innumerable times and never had a problem but, just in case, I carry a little backup kit with a bamboo hook, a plastic needle and a pair of baby nail clippers (part of a set with the scissors). I really don’t want to sit empty-handed on the plane!
Eating and drinking on the move can be a sticky business and I don’t my work to get grubby so I always keep some wipes in my bag (better than a spray because they don’t need to go into the liquids bag for airport security).
How could I forget my work in progress? This is to cover a little decorative hoop but most of the time when I am on the move I am working on granny squares…
…just like these! This lightweight packing cube holds spare yarn on the outward journey and completed work on the way home. By the way, I like to darn in the ends as I go so that when I get home, the squares are ready to add to the blanket.
Finally, but so important – an audiobook! At the moment I am enjoying ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ by Paul Torday which I downloaded ages ago and forgot. Long airport delays can become unexpected hours of pleasure when accompanied by a good audiobook and a bag of crochet!