To start plotting road trip knitting, right?
I have a nearly 14 hour road trip coming up. And that’s 14 hours EACH WAY. This is not to be undertaken lightly. Planning must occur. Decisions must be made. Something so important as what projects to pack can CLEARLY not be left to the last minute. Oh no friends, this is the most critical decision making process in the whole road trip concept. No question about it. Right?
It used to be travel reading was my biggest concern. At about 2-3 weeks out, careful consideration had to be given to the current read and the likelihood that I would finish it before trip time. I’d have to start choosing what was up next. I hate traveling with hard cover books so I knew the next one would need to be paperback. But do I pick something quick that I can finish before the trip or do I go long and juicy so I can be in the middle of an enjoyable read with plenty of pages to go before finishing? And what to pack as my spare. Cuz I could absolutely NOT leave home without a spare book. I could be 2 pages in to War and Peace and I would HAVE to pack a spare because clearly the 5 hour plane ride was going to be so boring I’d read ALL of War & Peace before we’d left the gate and I’d need to have a spare or oh my God I’m going to die of boredom right this minute! ACK!
Yeah… So lucky for me the Kindle came along and I’ve never again had to worry about packing my reading material. I can leave home with confidence and a much lighter bag because I have 52 spare books on the hard drive of this magical little device I will never be without again. Seriously. I love my Kindle so much I have a spare in case of emergencies.
But now my knitting has taken the spot that the books used to hold. What to pack. How much? Do I put the spare yarn in my carry on or in my suitcase? Oh my gosh what if I don’t take enough. ACK! I’m going to die of boredom if I don’t have just the perfect amount of knitting accessible at all times!
Are you noticing a pattern here, or is it just me?
Anyway… Next month Mr.Me and I are headed out to Maryland for the 150th Anniversary reenactment of the battle of Antietam. We’ve been planning the trip for over a year. With the 150th anniversary cycle of events, Mr.Me wants to do more of the national reenactments. There is a special sort of something to these events that just doesn’t come from living history or even battle events here in the midwest. So off we go. With another reenacting friend in tow. The good and bad of this trip is it ends up we will not be towing a cannon with us. Fun to have our own but it just wasn’t in the cards so we can lighten the load and maybe gain a little ground speed. And a LOT of gas mileage. But it’s still most of 14 hours in the car without accounting for the inevitable traffic back ups that happen any time one passes through Chicago. And me with a lot of time on my hands means I NEED sticks and string. Need them like food and oxygen.
But the trip is an interesting one. There is need for several different kinds of knitting. Because if you are a knitter, you know not all projects are created equal.
First, there’s the in the truck knitting. This can be virtually any project I choose. Sock, scarf, hat, sweater, it ultimately doesn’t matter. I can use any yarn, any needle, any technique I wish. I usually try to keep it to something pretty straight forward. Bouncing along in a Ford Excursion, you don’t want to be working on a complicated lace pattern as it’s too easy to drop a stitch or lose track of a pattern element. It also tends to be something I can leave in the truck and not worry about for a few days. For this event, not being a tow vehicle for moving the cannon around on the battle field, this is less of a concern. Normally I need to be careful that whatever I choose for truck knitting is something that can handle a lot of getting tossed around in the truck when guys are getting in and out all weekend long or it needs to be something that can double as in camp knitting.
In camp knitting is the second category. AS we will be participating in a Civil War event, I need it to be something on straight needles (UGH. I HATE straight needles. The only good part about straight needles in camp is that I don’t have kittens trying to gnaw on the ends of them.) and it’s best of the straights are made of wood or steel. Steel isn’t so easy to find, so it’s usually wood. I dislike wood. Not sharp enough. Not slippery enough, but I will make do in order to keep my hands busy when I am not spinning (As God as my witness, my wheel WILL fit in the truck). It also helps if the yarn is of a natural or naturally occurring color as chemical dyes were just in their infancy during the War and certainly would have been a luxury item I wouldn’t have afforded. It helps, too, if my pattern of choice is something that could pass for period, but I allow myself much more leeway here than maybe I should, but for real, I’m already using wood and boring yarn, at least give me the pattern…
Finally, the essential third type of knitting this trip will require- portable. We have a couple of extra days where we plan to do the tourist thing so I need something small that I can take with me. It turns out if we do museums, I do well to bring a small project along to knit while touring. I read much quicker than Mr.Me does so it helps to busy myself while waiting for him to catch up. This is the sort of place where socks are my very best friend. I can hook a project bag around a belt loop and knit away quite easily. I’ve used this technique at EAA’s Airventure with great success already. I’m sure it’s going to be stellar for museum tours, too.
So the first step is complete- I’ve identified the types of knitting I need. Now what to take as projects. Obviously truck knitting and camp knitting can be combined. I’ve done this by knitting onto my wooden needles from my beloved circulars when it’s time to move from one to the other. I still haven’t decided if I want to do so this time, however. So I figured I’d start with the projects and decide from there.
Right now I have 3 suitable projects queued up on my Year of Projects list. There’s Charlie’s Chevron Scarf, Pagona and Whippoorhill. They are all flat knit so I can work them on straights or circs, which as some definite advantages. Right now I’m leaning toward the scarf (easily memorized, just pay attention to the color changes) as my truck knitting project. I don’t expect it to take terribly long, but it should be interesting enough to keep me entertained for several hours at a crack. And since I know I’ll have leftover yarn, I can be a smart knitter and take the correct sized DPNs or a 16″ circ along to work on one of the 3 remaining fish hats on my YOP list. Didja see what I did right there, planning double duty for one of my projects? I am a smart cookie, right?
Whippoorwill is looking good as my in camp project. I’ve opted to use MadTosh lace weight held double for this one and chose three colors that are more or less natural. I don’t really want to have to knit the whole thing on straights, but since I don’t do near as much knitting as spinning in camp anymore, I figure I could easily knit onto circs for the return trip if I finish the scarf (and hat?).
Project #3 is obvious- socks. The only real question is whether I will start a fresh pair and what pattern I’ll use (plain vanilla for my FIL for Christmas maybe) or if I will have enough left on the ones I’m working on now to take along. That part will be a game time decision I imagine. Not too worried about it either way. Luckily I’ve knit enough socks now that I don’t really need a pattern and I can always use my Kindle or iPhone to find something if necessary. This is the easy part.
So I think I can handle this trip with a mere 8 balls of yarn. 5 days. 8 balls. That’s totally normal, right? And just in case I run out, I’m taking my wheel so I can always make more! Yep… That right there is some genius problem solving.
Why do I see Mr.Me’s eyebrow creeping up?