Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Travel Knitting

I have not talked about travel knitting yet. Yes there was travel knitting, though not nearly so much as I thought there would be. I am, it seems, an inordinately good sleeper when flying. There were many times, where I'd wake up and the needles were in the stitch waiting for completion. Mr. Needles has kidded me that I knit in my sleep and it seems he speaks the truth.

I had planned to knit on the marvelous little Topsy Turvy Moebius pattern from the Rainey Sisters while traveling. It didn't happen. It wasn't the pattern that made it not travel knitting. The pattern is absolutely perfect for hours of plane knitting. It wasn't the yarn. The yarn, a bright yet beguiling green Mini Maiden is perfection. Not these things. No.

It wasn't travel knitting because I just could not get used to the feel of the bamboo needles with this yarn. It felt as if I was murdering the softly spun Mimi Maiden with every stitch. I started on bamboo, switched to metal and planned to go back to the bamboo for travel, but discovered the 4 stitch error in my thinking. The 4 stitches left at the halfway point that I assumed were a cast on error, were not, in fact an error, but were half of the 8 of the 'cast on multiples of 16 plus 8' of the pattern. 4 stitches at the halfway point equals 8 at the end. Silly me.

I shed a few tears, accepted I was out of time, and left this lovely project behind.

So I pcaked up a pattern and some yarn I had ready as alternate knitting, and tossed it in the bag. This is the marvelous Aestlight Shawl from the Shetland Trader

I'm using a really fantastic deep rich fingering weight yarn from Tanis Fibre Arts, the deep sea colourway, I think, and a ball of a no longer produced colourway of Sea Wool from Fleece Artist. It is so richly blue. It really deserves to be knit on a Caribbean beach while sipping mojitos and nibbling on exotic fruits. Since life did not take me to said Caribbean beach (it wasn't in the plans), knitting this while on a trip to exotic Kyiv was good. This rich hot deep blue inspired dreams of a beach in the Crimea, which but for the long plane trip, is not a bad idea for a beach holiday. I do have this on bamboo needles, but the needles did not bother me with this crisper, more tightly spun yarn.

I tossed in a sock project too but I really did not like the bamboo needles for knitting with Australian Merino. The incredible bounce of the yarn kept getting stuck on the needles. Not good. Needs metal. I might do better with a nice slippery alpaca sock yarn on small bamboo double points.

This adventure planning the travel knitting gave me a valuable lesson. While I prefer metal over all, and while I like wood needles over 4 mm in double points, (metal in those sizes is just too heavy), bamboo needles have their place in my tool kit. I can happily knit with bamboo needles so long as the yarn is a good match.

The other thing I learned about travel knitting is that 'Up' is a wonderful movie to knit too once you accept the fact that you will cry for the first 10 minutes of the film each and every time you watch it. I know. I watched it 3 times on the way back. Cried like a river each time. After those 10 minutes, its all a charming adventure.

Which is what things should be if you are traveling to Kyiv, unexpectedly, for a wedding, in the middle of winter.

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