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I’m back! I am still in the process of integrating my new blogger lifestyle with my existing stay at home mom status, so when it came time to get ready for our trip to Colorado, let’s just say the blog had to take the back burner to get it all done.
Colorado was so beautiful, however, there was a lot of flying, and a lot of driving involved. If you are a fiber crafter, you ache for this down time. Being stuck on a plane or as a passenger in a car is the perfect excuse to crochet or knit without anyone wishing you were doing something else. Unless you are traveling with kids…
Hack Numero Uno: The Hat Trick
Problem: I am flying, I know I will have lots of down time, but the kid takes up all my yarn space. What do I do?
Don’t worry, I’m here to help. I accidentally discovered some great ways to smuggle your yarn in items you already have to bring for your kid. Not only does this cut down on the glares you will get from your travel partner for filling up the suitcase, it cuts down on all the little nonsense YOU have to keep track of.
One of the biggest problems when traveling with yarn, is finding a way to keep it all together while you are on the move. This is only tripled if your usually dedicated crochet space (your lap) is occupied by a sleepy infant. Enter the baby hat.
No matter where you are going, or what time of year it is, odds are if you are traveling with kids you will have at least one child size hat packed along. If you are me, you have several. Rather than just having all those hats floating around, not earning their keep, put them to use! Hats make a great way to keep your yarn under control.
Tuck the whole project in when you are between modes of transportation, and use it to wrangle unruly balls of yarn while your little one snoozes sweetly. Because trust me, you don’t want to have your only source of mindless entertainment stuck up under your seat. No one wants to have to choose between fetching their yarn, and disturbing the sleeping monster in their lap.
Hack Numero Dos: Become the Scavenger
Problem: Oh no! I am mid flight and I really need a stitch marker. I don’t want to have to count all those chain spaces all over again. But my stitch marker is tucked away in my carry on. How do I go on?
Not to worry, just activate your inner MacGyver and you will be back to crafting. This exact problem occurred while I was working on one of two sweaters that I have yet to finish. Keep an eye out for the first of those posts soon. We’ve all been there. You are happily crafting along when you suddenly realize you don’t have a vital piece of equipment. In my case, the often ignored but always needed stitch marker. Fortunately, if you are a puzzle loving problem solver (or are reading this post), this will only be a minor inconvenience.
A hair tie makes a perfect stitch marker in a pinch. Just loop it through the stitch, then back through itself and pull tight. It stays put and it won’t flop around, fall off, or get caught on anything while you are working. Yay! I always have at least one hair tie on my person, and now that my little babyzilla has longer hair, I have been wearing tiny hair ties on my fingers too.
But don’t stop there! Bobby pins can make great tapestry needles in a pinch, as long as they still have their rubber ends, and wallets make great places to pin down your wandering crochet hooks. Especially if you have a nice large one like the travel wallet I recently purchased for this trip. It is super cheap, and is quite honestly the best wallet I have used to date. Check it out here. It even comes in a variety of awesome colors!
Hack Numero Tres: Packing Patterns
Problem: Unlike all the best fictional spies, cops, and adventurers, I don’t have a photographic memory and will probably need a pattern at some point during the trip. But how do I handle all that paper?
Inevitably, you will need to refer to a pattern while you are without internet access, or are in that dreaded pinned position where you can’t really maneuver. This is why I am so happy that I finally got off my high horse and bought a kindle. WAIT! Before you run off to the comments to hail the wonders of reading on paper, hear me out.
I actually have two kindles in my arsenal. The first, is my Kindle Paperwhite. This was something I got a while back when I wanted a way to read off a screen without that obnoxious glare that comes with reading off of a traditional tablet or phone. Eventually, I discovered that amongst other amazing uses (ask me about how to use airplane mode to your advantage) it is fantastic for crafting patterns.
I can send PDF’s to my special Kindle email account and have access to them anywhere, anytime. The battery lasts forever, I can highlight sections so I know where I left off, and add notes if I need to remind myself of a change. It is honestly a game changer. It was perfect, until I had a kid.
Kids demand a little more out of their parents’ devices. Especially on long flights. Thus, we added a Kindle Fire Kids to our digital family. I know, I know, I am supposed to limit screen time. But, my kid falls asleep on every flight, and I have had at least one comment about how she is such a good flyer each and every time. The beautiful thing about the Kindle Fire, is that you can set up user profiles.
This means, that I can download videos for my little monster to watch on the plane (thank you Netflix) but also have my own profile where I store, you guessed it, all my patterns! Now, when your little one falls asleep, you don’t have to go digging for a second device to remind yourself just how many stitches you are supposed to have in that row. Just a few quick swipes and BAM! You aren’t pulling out twenty minutes of work because you realized you missed a stitch three rows back.
Also, if your kid goes full babyzilla and manages to damage the Kindle while it is in its special kid proof case, Amazon will replace it for free for two years. Two YEARS!
Now, if you are one of the lucky few who gets no flack for bringing a special bag just for your craft work, I have a recommendation for you too. This awesome bag was waiting for me when we got back, and it has made trekking my projects up and down stairs for nap-time a breeze.
Instead of tangled yarn, dropped hooks, and multiple trips up and down, I now have this fantastic little tote that does it all for me. Bonus: it’s even kitten proof. Take that little yarn ninja.
What are your favorite travel hacks? Let me know in the comments!