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.)
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.
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.
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.