The grey spring here in London has got me thinking about, or should that be longing for, a vacation. We’re going to Wales, which, I admit, is not known for its sunshine. However, it can’t be as bad as a wet week in the Lake District with a fractious toddler and rain every day. Can it?
We’re not going for another five long weeks, but I’m already dreaming about holiday knitting projects. And the gulf between my knitting fantasies and reality.
1. Perfect packing Fantasy: A few carefully selected projects, neatly packed with just the right amount of equipment. A simple linen shawl for cafe knitting. Socks or mitts to tuck in the glove box or my bag. Something lacy or cabled for the evenings. I admit I got quite close to this last year when I put Lazy Summer Scarf in the car glove box and had Spice of Life Cowl to knit in the evening. I pulled this off because I’d knit about a third of each before I left, but still had plenty to do. It’s possible I had one extra skein knocking around my suitcase somewhere – in case I knit the 900m I had already lined up on the needles.
Over-packing Reality: It starts off like the fantasy, and then descends into me shoving in random extra yarn/needles/patterns “just in case.” And maybe a few gifts I’ve just realised I need to make, like three baby hats and a shawl. Maybe I need to be more realistic when I start packing and take up the recommendation that I pack a complete selection of interchangeables. The list of reasons for justifying a tablet also grow daily; it would give me unlimited pattern access whilst away. Although a whole set of needles and a tablet sounds like a lot, it would probably actually result in less luggage than the usual mush of “flexible” knitting ideas, plus attendant skeins of random yarns.
2. Travelling Fantasy: On my own in a quiet train carriage. Plenty of room to spread out my pretty knitting project. Spare seat next to me so I can even stick out my elbows to knit in comfort. Adding beads is probably optimistic, but lace is completely feasible. Lots of time to admire my even tension and the beautiful design as it unfolds. Hot coffee/tea.
Travelling Reality: Motorway traffic jam with family. Trying to concentrate on garter stitch while supplying hot and cold running snacks to the fractious kids and equally stressed driver. Forget anything that involves counting stitches – including casting-on. Feel glad that we’re in the car because at least I can knit something; going by train en famille prevents knitting entirely.
3. Discovering LYS Fantasy: A great LYS where I can buy a lovely souvenir skein of yarn from a local Indy dyer. I believe this is possible. I’ve even managed to do this a couple of times – in Wales, no less, so that bodes well for this year. I’ve had sock skeins recommended and I can see how this would be idyllic – cosy winter socks that remind you of a week of sunshine.
Unearthing LYS Reality: There are several ways the ideal LYS experience can unravel. Occasionally (usually in France) I encounter an LYS where you’re not allowed to touch the yarn, just look. I’ve been treated like a total weirdo for wanting to know how many metres/yards were on a skein, rather than just the weight. More often, my problem is buying more yarn than is wise given my the size of my budget or suitcase. The thing is – like everything else – yarn is expensive in London. This means that even good-but-ordinary-yarn looks like a total bargain anywhere else. I have several sweaters-worth of yarn bought on holiday for this very reason. Maybe I should try the single skein of sock yarn idea…I bet it would help me get more enthusiastic about sock knitting too.
4. Time-machine Fantasy: Loads of knitting time, relaxing in the sunshine. Glass of wine and good local food on tap.
Real-time in Reality: The same amount of slightly rushed time, snatched whenever I can – just like at home. Only a little bit warmer. Hopefully.
5. New pattern Fantasy meets Reality. With all my travel dreams in mind, I’ve got a new pattern out. Raymi mitts are a tiny travel project. A ray of sunshine. They need just 37g of yarn. Even better, I realised you can make Raymi and Leave these to Me (above left) out of just one skein of 4ply. Yes, both projects from one skein. They’re even the same gauge. Perfect packing and a choice of easier/more difficult project. They’re not socks, but a sock knitter might like them too since they’re in the round and equally portable. No big hot projects in your lap.
When I realised this, I thought a vacation offer was in order. So, you can get Raymi for free with offer code holidaymitts when you buy Leave these to Me (either singly or in the Leaving ebook). Past purchases count, so if you already own Leave these to Me, just add Raymi and the offer code to your basket.
If you just want little Raymi, get a launch discount 25% off with code sunray until the end of June 2013.
Tell me…how does vacation knitting work for you?