I am in full vacation mode. This is the most relaxing trip I’ve taken in years. My family and I are spending lots of time at the pool, lots of time at the beach, lots of time taking meandering bicycle rides from town to town. I’m also doing my fair share of knitting – because knitting is my first oasis of relaxation and it goes everywhere with me. Knitting at the pool or at the beach is like icing on the cake. For me, it doesn’t get more chill than that.
I’ve got my Mariechen project with me. I referenced this in last week’s blog: an Isabell Kraemer top-down sweater project knit up in the new Kokon Merino DK is pure knitting joy. Kokon Merino DK is a round, bouncy yarn with tons of twist that flies off the needles effortlessly. Mariechen has just enough going on to keep me from feeling bored. I memorized the texture pattern easily and I feel engaged with it, but I can get distracted without it throwing me off. I’ve just finished the body and am about to start the sleeves. While I’d hoped to finish it on vacation that seems unlikely – and I’m ok with that – because I’m on vacation!
When it comes to vacation knitting, knitters probably want to choose something a bit more portable. One or two balls of yarn won’t take up much space in your luggage or your travel bag. Pick something in which you aren’t tied to the pattern for every single row. Travel does involve interruptions and you’ll feel more relaxed on a pattern that is forgiving of mistakes or easy enough that you can altogether avoid them. That said, here are some of my picks for vacation stitching.
Socks – particularly, ZF Cohen’s “Your New Favorite Toe-Up Sock Pattern.” I fell in love with this sock recipe last summer. Gauge isn’t critical and you can adapt this sock recipe for various yarn weights (as we did for our toe-up worsted-weight sock class). My favorite hand-knit socks are the pair I made with a skein of Baah La Jolla and I’ve been craving another pair for months (they’ve held up beautifully to tons of wear). Nothing beats a 1 skein project (with one set of needles) that you can try on as you go. Or, make a pair for someone unknown love in your life and give them to the person they fit! Other awesome sock yarns worth checking out include: Edition 3 (get 2 balls), Cascade Heritage Prints, Huasco’s Hand-Painted Sock Yarn, OnLine’s Supersocke Merino, to name a few. By the way, I recently learned a new stretchy bind-off that is perfect for toe up socks like these. This tutorial comes to you from Andrea Rangel and you should definitely check it out!
Hats. I’m a hat-knitting fiend. I make a hat and give it away as a gift later. They are perfectly portable projects and like a pair of socks, you can give it away according to whomever it will fit. I brought along the components for a Skipp Hat (a new brioche ribbed beanie from Brooklyn Tweed). I’m a brioche-lover and this will make for great knitting on the plane, so I plan to cast-on tomorrow so I’m ready for stitching for my return on Saturday. I’m doing mine in a single color brioche, watch-cap length in a new marled color way of Loft called Caraway. I’m hoping to finish it by April 27, to participate in Brooklyn Tweed’s #skippKAL, and I also hope to wear it at LYS that day – despite that it’s spring time!
If you aren’t a brioche-lover like me, check out Mawson. This is another great ribbed beanie that is knit up in a simple rib stitch, and can be knit in a DK-weight yarn like Arbor or Kokon Merino DK, or a worsted-weight yarn like Shelter, or any other wonderful worsted-weight yarn out there! I happen to be obsessed with ribbed beanies. If you are too, I can send you a plethora of ribbed hat patterns.
Shawls are another great travel project, especially if you pack up a fingering-weight project. I personally like my shawls made with two or more skeins of fingering-weight yarn – for me bigger is better. One of my favorite travel knitting projects from last year was my Kline shawl, which I knit up in two colors of Madeline Tosh Merino Light. I’m on a Stephen West kick right now, and I think his Dotted Rays shawl is the ultimate travel-knitting project. You can make it with one color (or as many colors as you like, if you check out some other projects for this pattern). It’s made in garter stitch with easy short rows that give it its modern, unique shape. These short rows are totally forgiving, which means you don’t have to worry if you’re off by a few stitches on them, and you don’t have to pick up any wraps. There are so many beautiful yarns out there for Dotted Rays – check out Anzula’s Squishy or Serenity, Baah’s La Jolla, Tosh Merino Light, Shibui’s Birch – just to name a few!
Needlepoint just happens to be a great travel project, and it’s not something I dwell on much on our blog. Truth is, nothing beats needlepoint for portability. I like to bring smaller projects like key chains, cuffs, ornaments or eyeglass cases. That’s because I’m painfully slow when it comes to needlepoint, and I can actually complete a project like this on a trip (or on a trip with a couple extra weeks of stitching)! We have just received a ton of needlepoint projects, with tons of belts, ornaments, eyeglass cases, key fobs, not to mention other great canvases that happen to be a bit bigger. Since we have so much great new needlepoint in store and online, I’m going to give you a little preview of what’s new!
I particularly love the new canvases from J. Child. Preppy pieces like belts and brick covers are timeless pieces to be worn or put into service at home.
A fresh crop of new arrivals from Pewter & Pine always suits me. I love the quirky charm of her ornaments and the bold lines and colors of her bigger pieces. We have some animal canvases that are modern and stylish, plus some new textile-inspired pieces that will make beautiful pillows, framed pieces or even zippered bags!
New arrivals from Melissa Shirley include designs by Vicki Sawyer, classic hand-painted canvases and whimsical piece of birds. Plus new arrival from Alice Peterson includes everything from new Stitch & Zip kits to children’s pieces to ornaments perfect for shopaholics.
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