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  • There's Nothing Crafty About Airport Security

    As a knitter I always wonder when I travel, “can I bring my knitting needles with me?” That’s a question that maybe you ask yourself too.  My co-worker Sarah wrote this post which offers some helpful tips for traveling with knitting and what handy dandy tools we're allowed to use. I always use it as a guide, and this past trip I traveled to Montego Bay, Jamaica with no reason to worry, but I guess who doesn't worry a little about getting their needles taken away from them.

    Well now to the tale...

    As I mentioned, I was just on vacation in Jamaica and  I stayed in beautiful Montego Bay. Of course, being who I am -- a diehard knitter --  I brought my knitting along as I always do. I love to knit on the beach. I find it creates an ultra-calming feeling; the ocean, the knitting, no way to be stressed! I was working on my sweater and a gift for my friend. Everything was great.

     

    But then it was time to go home.

    I was going through security in Jamaica and I usually never have a problem with my bag, but this time I did. She asked if she could check my bag and I said, “of course.” What do I have to hide? But then as she went through my make-up and other bags inside, I realized "MY NEEDLES!" I started to get really nervous, not only nervous, but a slow-motion anger was building inside my belly!

     I thought I was going to need to fight someone!

    Thank goodness I didn't have anything on my needles, but she was looking at them in question, like “what are these?” She then went to her supervisor and asked if they were "ok?" I felt like she was talking about my children. I mean she was holding at least $60 worth of needles in her hands ... needles I hold like they're new borns!! I was standing there thinking, “How could she be treating them like this?!” Not to mention the fire in my belly that was growing faster and faster.... These are my identity! Don't you .... And then she threw them back in my bag and attempted to be neat, but wasn't. I closed my bag up and it took about five breaths to bring me back down to this planet.

    Tell me I’m not the only one!

     I know I can't be the only one who has been through this scare. Have your needles or crochet hooks ever been taken away from you? What did you do? How did you feel?

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  • 9 Travel Tips for Knitters and Crocheters

    The holidays are here and that means that it's travelling season! For some of us, packing knitting or crochet for a trip can be as important as bringing clothes! Travelling can provide some of the best opportunities for uninterrupted knitting or crocheting time. But these crafts involve a little bit of planning to take the show on the road. Here are some tips for travelling with your knitting or crochet!

    knit crochet travel tips
    1. Consider Your Project
    While over the river and through the woods may give you enough time to stitch up a whole sweater, it may not be practical to work on complicated colorwork or bulky blankets when you're packing light. Projects that are worked in pieces like granny square afghans or single skein projects such as socks are great for travelling because they don't take up a lot of room in your luggage.

    2. Keep it Simple...or Not!
    When deciding on the complexity of your project, each trip is different. Ask yourself a few questions about your travels: Will you be able to devote your attention to intricate cables or should you stick to a stockinette stitch project? Will you be bored working on a simple scarf or will it allow you to chat with family and friends? Do you want to bring two projects so you're prepared for different situations?

    3. Know What You Need
    Now that you've picked your project, it's time to prep. Do a gauge swatch in advance so you bring the right needles or hooks. Take time to ensure that you've got everything you need for your project because you won't able to pop into a craft store if you're boarding a trans-continental flight! Read over your pattern so that you understand all of the techniques involved. Be sure to pack all of the yarns and notions required to complete your work.

    4. Leave the Good Stuff at Home
    Even if you're careful, things happen! Losing something you've worked hard on can be heartbreaking but it's even worse if your favorite set of needles or antique scissors go astray as well. Your time and effort is irreplaceable but those handmade crochet hooks cost a pretty penny. Plan for the worst: Bring less expensive supplies and yarns, just in case you become separated.

    5. Make a Travel-Sized Notions Case
    Use an empty tin (like the ones those famously strong mints come in) to store notions. Fill it with a tape measure, tapestry needle, stitch markers, and whatever else your pattern calls for. This kit is a great size to fit in a small project bag or even your purse and everything is together in one place.

    6. Dental Floss is the Traveler's Best Friend!
    A travel-sized dental floss can be incredibly handy on the go. The blade can be used to cut yarn and the floss can become an improvised stitch holder or even a stitch marker in a pinch!

    7. Carry Extras
    Back ups are key! It's always a good idea to pack away an extra crochet hook or set of knitting needles just in case one goes on its own adventure. You won't regret printing out a second copy of your pattern, either! If you like to keep your patterns on your smartphone or another electronic device, bring a printed version in case you run out of battery!

    8. Knitters, Use Circular Knitting Needles
    Circular knitting needles may not be your favorites but their flexibility makes them perfect for packing. You can use them the same way you'd knit with straight needles but you won't bump your seatmate's elbows. For projects knit in the round, the magic loop method can save you from bringing double pointed needles on your trip. Those double pointed sock needles love to run away!

    9. Locate Your Nearest Local Yarn Shop
    While you may not need to make an emergency trip to the yarn store, it's always fun to pop into the local shop when you're traveling. For a list of stores where Lion Brand is carried, search here. If you're somewhere unfamiliar, a local shop can give you a feel for the scene and the regulars are sure to have recommendations for places to visit in the area. Besides, it doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can always connect with a knitter or crocheter at the yarn shop!

    What are your favorite patterns to make on the road? What tips do you recommend to make travelling easier?

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  • How to Knit Jogless Stripes

    How to Knit Jogless StripesHave you ever knit stripes in the round only to find that they look a little lopsided? It's not just you. The nature of circular knitting causes stripes to jog, which means that they don't line up. The good news is there's a technique for knitting stripes in the round that straightens up your stripes. Best of all, jogless stripes are just as easy to knit as regular stripes, so they don't slow down your knitting at all! Are you ready to take your stripes to the next level?
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