Travelling with crochet

Crochet at the bus stop

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.

Project bag and purse

The first thing you need is a good project bag.  Sewing is not within my skillset so I had to buy a bag ( 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 and needles

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.

Backup bits and pieces

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!

wet wipes

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).

Work in progress

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…
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.

Phone and headphones

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!

Daft crochet: pea-stick tie

Pea-stick tie So… my  father gave me some young sweet peas and I planted them into tubs with bamboo canes to climb. I was going to lash the canes using the tripod lashing that I learned as a Girl Guide but then thought: why not add some colour? So here is a slightly colourful crochet tie to hold the canes together.  the only thing is… I have no idea what colour the sweet pea flowers will be so it could be that they will clash horribly.


These coasters are a birthday present for a friend who is very keen on putting little mats underneath coffee cups.

Coasters displayed on table

The mats are made from Wilko Yarnfair DK on a size 4 hook. On the small coasters I really like the irregular effect that the self-striped yarn creates but I don’t think that it works as well on the large mat. The way that the colours change in the middle of each row seems clumsy and it also does not show the different stitches. For example, in the second to last row, two-thirds of the row seems to have a curved pattern whilst the rest does not but, of course, the stitches are the same all the way round the circle. The next time I make a set like this I will use a single colour yarn for each row; this would highlight the stitch variation beautifully.

The two yellow buttons on the large mat are attached to a drawstring. When the drawstring is pulled then the sides of the mat come together to form a little bag to keep all the coasters tidily in one place.

Coasters wrapped into bag

“Shades of red” coin purse

At Christmas my son received a ‘Mighty Wallet‘ made from  a material called ‘Tyvek’ which looks and feels exactly like paper but is much stronger and seems impossible to tear.  The only problem is that it has no fasteners so whilst it is great for cards and banknotes, the wallet does not hold coins.  He has asked for a coin purse but I hadn’t been able to find one that was suitable until…

Closed red coin purse Coin purse open

I realised that I didn’t have to buy a coin purse for him!

The yarn is Wilkinson’s ‘Yarnfair’ DK in ‘red and cranberry’. I really like working with this yarn; it’s 75% acrylic / 25% wool but very soft, doesn’t split and the stripes emerge clearly.  With this particular shade the difference in colours is more subtle than the (no longer available) shade that  I used for the phone sock and webcam cosy but I still find the variation pleasing.  One thing that I’m not so happy with, though, is the finishing.  Sewing up  has never been my strong point!

Phone sock

Phone sock My husband likes to keep his phone in some kind of case so I knocked this up for him. It took about an hour and half and is double crochet throughout. I used the foundation chain as the top edge so that the opening is a little narrower in order to hold the phone securely.Phone sock

Coffee cosy

Cafetiere Cosy The pink and lime yarns were sitting next to each other in my scrap yarn box and I thought they looked good together.  The lime is also an exact match for my cafetiere so I added some leftover blue and made this coffee cosy.  I didn’t use a pattern; the only pattern I’ve seen is from a book by Nicki Trench but it is for a cafetiere with a handle attachment point in the middle of the jug which allows the cover to button above the handle.  On mine, however, the handle attaches at the top.  The cosy is made with double crochet throughout (DK yarn with 4mm hook) and this has produced a fairly stiff  fabric which supports its own weight.  If  I originally planned to use poppers rather than buttons which is why there are tabs for fastening: they were an afterthought!


Baby ripple: the photo

Baby ripple blanket So… it’s a bright sunny day, the spare bed is extended (waiting for the sheets to be changed) and here is a photo of the complete baby ripple blanket.  It’s made with the Neat Ripple Pattern from Attic24.  I blocked it which has evened up the edges and generally given a neater finish.  The blocking is not perfect as I did it in sections on the ironing board but it has still made a huge difference.

I’m in the middle of marking so I guess I’d better get on with that before changing those sheets!

Baby ripple blanket

baby ripple in progresssThe baby ripple blanket is finished although I am not happy with the photographs that I have taken so this one of the work in progress will have to do for now. The light in my house is not very good for photographs and the pictures really don’t show the colours well. Although I love the colours I found that I got bored with the stripes. Next time, maybe I will use more colours but although it’s a good make for a baby, I don’t see myself making an adult-sized ripple blanket. However, I have plenty of yarn left over from the world-traveller blanket which I think would ripple into a lovely cushion. Next time I make striped crochet I will use a larger-sized hook for the foundation chain as the chain was a bit tighter than the first stripe. The border was a bit of a problem and I tried three different designs before settling on a row of lime trebles followed by a row of teal doubles with a row of pink doubles to finish. I had rather a lot of ‘help’ from Rosie whilst making this blanket so it needs a wash before going to its new home.

The blanket is made from three 100g balls of Wilkinson’s ‘Yarnfair’ acrylic DK (with very little left over).

Amaryllis: it’s here!

amaryllis flower Over the weekend the flowers opened completely to brighten my Monday morning!  There’s only one flower stem but it is topped by three spectacular flowers: vivid, scarlet and silky.  I’ve never before noticed that the amaryllis has a smell but it does: a delicate, but definitely floral, perfume.  There is also the first tiny leaf bud poking through the soil at the base of the flower stem, ready to start feeding the bulb for next year.


2014-03-31 13.43.21amaryllis lead bud 2014-03-31 13.42.23