JF's Notebook
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Notebook

Penned by Jared Flood

Hello and welcome! I'm a knitter, photographer, designer and the creative director at Brooklyn Tweed. I use this notebook as a space to record inspiration and write about my creative work both inside and outside of BT. Thanks for reading, and don't be a stranger—I love hearing from you!

Vacation Knitting

April 10, 2010

I travel a lot, but rarely for the express purpose of vacationing. My considerations for travel-knitting, in general, are designs that are in-process works that are at a point where a significant amount of mindless, or at least not-difficult-to-record knitting is in store. This way, I get ‘work’ knitting done without having to sit in front of Illustrator or InDesign, activities which I prefer to do only on the Homefront.

So, when a true Vacation came along I thought my travel knitting should reflect this change, and I decided to bring simple, 100% pleasure-knitting that required no pattern, no notes, and very little brainwork. I wanted projects that were geared towards my hands and allowed enjoyment of the simple act of knitting. And oh how wonderful it was!

I took small amounts of two special yarns that were both worthy of a special occasion. First, one beautiful skein of Buffalo Gals Yarn — a very special 2-ply Bison/Merino yarn, hand-dyed by Fiber Sage Judith MacKenzie McCuin — which I was fortunate enough to acquire directly from the source (Judith’s hands) and have been savoring ever since. The other, my recently spun Romney 2-Ply, which is as light as a feather and wonderfully woolly.

I fell deeply in love with Judith’s dye work, and this rust orange skein stole my breath. Bison, as it turns out, takes dye incredibly well and this skein seemed to almost shimmer with some other-worldly presence (again, I attribute this to Judith’s sage-like energy.)

Buffalo Gals

Armed with one beautiful skein, I threw a prized set of Ebony needles into my luggage and started thinking of the possibilities for something luxurious and simple. A feast for the fingers! I ended up deciding to knit a top-down hat in a simple waffle-stitch pattern. The yarn is a sport weight and creates a beautiful, light-weight and butter-soft fabric. A perfect companion for being in the passenger seat of a car for miles of Italian Autostrade.

Romney Kerchief

Alternatively, the skein of Romney created just enough variety to keep me constantly entertained, bouncing between two projects from day to day. For this, I began work on a simple, almost-garter-stitch triangle. Because I had limited amounts of both yarns, I decided to work both projects from the top down (in the triangle’s case, from top-center, opposite of Triangle Tip) and work mindlessly until I used up all of my yarn. I love working in this way — armed with a simple kitchen scale, you can always be sure of using as many yards as is possible without having to spend the last 20% of your knitting time biting your nails, wondering if you’ll have enough yarn to finish.

I didn’t complete either project on my trip, which was a good lesson toward learning that I often need less yarn than I think I will while on the road. I have, since being home, just about finished both projects with very satisfying results.

Also, upon return, I was stricken by an incredible urge to have some Unspun Icelandic yarn back in my life (this is what happened the last time), and ordered yarn for a new lace project in this lovely stuff. It reminds me of a chocolate layer cake.

Layer Cake

Unspun Icelandic Wool ranks high on my list of favorite yarns, largely because it is so unique and unlike anything else out there for knitters. The majority of the yarn is air, after all!

So, it turns out that I ended up learn something important from vacationing — keeping it simple, even though my instincts were screaming to bring more yarn, was absolutely the perfect choice for enjoying knitting every day and savoring every stitch of these special yarns.

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17 responses to “Vacation Knitting”

  1. What gorgeous yarns–I can't wait to see the finished projects! I have my own will-there-be-enough-yarn? top-down shawl on the needles right now, and I can corroborate–knowing there will be *something* when I run out of yarn takes a lot of stress out of the knitting!

  2. I love the yarns! They look so beautiful, can't wait to see the finished pieces.

  3. Have you ever tried Finnish unspun wool? It's much like that Icelandic though I don't know about the softness…

  4. Beautiful traveling yarn. I can't wait to see the finished knitting. I am using Un-Spun Icelandic now for the first time making a Ribwarmer vest…I think I love both! You always choose so well.

  5. gorgeous yarns and stitches. Important question: when traveling the last few years have you had any troubles with your knitting goods. Do you pack them in checked or take in your carry on, aside from scissors what do you leave out. I ask this as i used to work for the airlines just after 9/11 and know they have started relaxing a little. Back then no needles were allowed and i would freak out if they tried taking my kit from me! (lol, so not cool!) I will be traveling with hubby next month and his is for work so i will want to take some knit work with me. Thanks for any input!

  6. I like the "keep it simple" thing. I often rush and rush to knit a project, and it takes the fun out of knitting. I realize that, even if I can see the end of the project, I don't have to rush myself (usually this happens very late at night). I just need to take a good night sleep, and finish the garment the next morning or afternoon. The finishing is waaaay more enjoyable this way. So, this is my way of keeping simple. Keeping it fun!

    http://www.fallingstitches.blogspot.com

  7. One of the best pair of socks I ever knit was the Icelandic unspun in combine with a worsted weight classicly plyed wool yarn… no nylon, but they were, by sock wearing standards, bullet-proof!

  8. You have just answered a conundrum for me. I have unspun Icelandic in my stash and have been pondering what to do with it. I am booked on your shawl session at the UK Kint camp – I could get out the EZ books but think I will wait.

  9. Beautiful yarns and gorgeous projects. Are you going to make the hat pattern available for sale?My knitting group in Central PA is knitting hats for the homeless shelter and for the food banks for the needy to receive for free. I would love to do some top down.

    http://socklover54.blogspot.com/

  10. curse you! i am trying mightily to finish some projects and here you go tempting me AGAIN. i love love love blankets and i have the unfortunate tendency to want to knit them with fingering weight wool. i've also been wanting to try the unspun icelandic. sigh. i forsee one more wip in my future.

  11. Can't wait to see what the chocolate Icelandic becomes! I too always bring too much yarn on a trip, 'just in case'.

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