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Knitting to Travel With

Jun 30, 2014

When I travel, I always take a knitting project. On my recent trip to New York City, I took a shawl, which was a great travel project. It was knit from the tip upward, so it started out small; I got a lot done on the plane rides, but the shawl never got too big to deal with in my tiny plane bubble.

Amy Keefer's Crustacean Shawl
from Interweave Knits Summer 2014
Many people take socks on trips, and I understand that—they're nothing if not portable. You can fit them in a tiny bag, stow them in your purse, and take them out to work on in the most cramped of spaces.

However, I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not much of a sock knitter. I admire the heck out of knitted socks, but I don't particularly love wearing them. They're just too thick for me, and no matter how tiny my yarn and needles are, I can't get them thin enough. I do occasionally knit socks, though—sometimes I can't resist a beautiful pattern or yarn. They sit in my drawer until I give them away. Which is fine.

My point is, I don't travel with socks!

Scarves and shawls are my go-to projects, and depending on the travel mode, length of the trip, and the weather, I'll even take a sweater.

With the travel season coming up, I thought I'd recommend a project for you to take along wherever your journey takes you.

I present to you, the Crustacean Shawl (and we've got it kitted up for you, too!)

Tie the fronts together for
a blousy shrug effect.
Throw the ends around the back of your
neck to show off the pointed mesh tip!

Since the shawl is knit in triangle sections and then sewn together later, it's perfect to take along with you, because you can work on one triangle at a time. The simple mesh pattern is easily memorized, too—another good aspect of true travel knitting. It's hard, for me, at least, to have to look at a pattern all the time when you're traveling. I lose my place easily in the car or on a bumpy train or plane ride.

I love this shawl. The lace pattern evokes the barnacle species of crustacean, and the winglike shape makes me think of sea creatures moving gracefully through deep water. Very soothing.

When you buy your kit, you'll recieve the Summer 2014 issue of Interweave Knits and four balls of Filatura di Crosa Tempo yarn in color number 3, Sunset (the color shown in the photos above). It's a bright and rustic blend of colors often seen in a summer sunset.

Get your Crustacean Shawl Kit today so you have it in time for your next trip!

Bon Voyage!

P.S. What's your go-to travel project? Leave a comment and share it with us!

Featured Product

Crustacean Knitted Shawl Kit

Availability: Out Of Stock
Was: $64.99
Sale: $62.00


Knit the popular Crustacean Shawl from the Summer 2014 issue of Interweave Knits magazine with this simple kit complete with Filatura di Crosa Tempo yarn.


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on Jul 6, 2014 8:39 PM

Recently I traveled with my knitting to Mexico. On leaving Mexico City, they would not let me board the plane with knitting needles. Sadly, I left 2 Addi turbo circular needles behind.

on Jul 6, 2014 8:39 PM

Recently I traveled with my knitting to Mexico. On leaving Mexico City, they would not let me board the plane with knitting needles. Sadly, I left 2 Addi turbo circular needles behind.

Lizin port wrote
on Jul 5, 2014 10:38 PM

I have always traveled with my knitting and needles (internationally and domestically) with no problem.  Scissors handled differently.  4" blades ok EXCePT for returning from Uruguay now the owners of my beloved small scissors. Go know!

Lizin port wrote
on Jul 5, 2014 10:38 PM

I have always traveled with my knitting and needles (internationally and domestically) with no problem.  Scissors handled differently.  4" blades ok EXCePT for returning from Uruguay now the owners of my beloved small scissors. Go know!

marychance wrote
on Jul 5, 2014 10:10 PM

DonnaH@2 and sewandsewon -

I wonder if the socks you were knitting just weren't of a small enough gage, or the right yarn.  I love the socks I knit for myself.  Silk, wool, bamboo, acrylic and many blends of the above.  I've knit socks with large needles size 4 and up but prefer socks knit on size 1 or 2 they make a thinner smoother sock.

marychance wrote
on Jul 5, 2014 10:04 PM

I love taking socks for knitting on a trip.  They always are good for a conversation starter.  On long trips I'll pack the yarn and needles (if different size) for a complete pair in checked bags and work on the second sock of a pair on the plane.  I can usually finish the second sock before I get tired so have a warm cozy pair to wear  while I sleep.

regarding needles on planes.  You can never know just what will get through, domestic or foreign.  I've knit my way to Ireland and Japan, but was only able to knit my way back from Japan.  I've passed the airport security with ease to have the airline personnel say they (and bottled water purchased in duty free after screening) weren't allowed.

Laura903 wrote
on Jul 5, 2014 12:52 PM

That thing is ugly! The colors are a muddy mess.

cherylshope wrote
on Jul 5, 2014 10:58 AM

How do you ever travel by plane with your needlework?  Airport security always wants to take my needles away from me!

Giddygigi wrote
on Jul 5, 2014 10:51 AM

On domestic departures and international departures from the US I have had no problem with taking my metal circular needles on board.  However, that is not the case for departures from many European and South American countries.  I have encountered problems in several cities when I had forgotten to switch over to my wooden needles.  Security would not allow the metal needles on board when the needles were detected in my carry on luggage.  Wooden or bamboo needles were never detected so were never a problem.  Pack the metal needles in your checked luggage for any international departures.  

agmccoy wrote
on Jul 5, 2014 10:40 AM

I always check the TSA site before flying and have been advised that the country of origin of the flight determines what is permitted in carry-on luggage.  On domestic USA flights, I always take knitting and have never had a problem; likewise on an international flight to the British Isles I knitted without trouble.  When returning to the USA, I could not find Great Britain's regulations, so I packed my circulars and other knitting supplies in my check-through baggage as I didn't want to lose my Addi Turbo Clicks.  Great way to pass the time before and during flights; good conversation starter, too!

on Jul 5, 2014 10:20 AM

I commute to work on skytrain every day an hour each way and started knitting about 8 months ago. I knit or crochet dish cloths, potholders, hand towels, and start projects like baby blankets until they get too big for travel. Since doing my knitting I actually look forward to the commute part of the day rather than dreading it. It baffles me that I have only encountered two other "brilliant" women on my commute. I say put away the technology and pick up your needles!

on Jul 1, 2014 3:43 PM

I've taken knitting needles on planes, both on domestic flights and on overseas flights, and I've never had a problem. I think I've packed metal and wooden needles in my carry-on, plus a notions bag. Not a single problem with the TSA folks.

Old Red Wolf wrote
on Jul 1, 2014 3:24 PM

I have taken metal knitting needles on a commercial airline flight, but not from a major city. I would not have if I had been thinking it through, since it would have been annoying to lose my needles half way through a project, I have tried to remember to pick projects for air travel where I am using one long circular needle with plastic tips, and not interchangeable, so that it is least likely to be confiscated and not too expensive if it is. This also influences my choice of yarn, since I do not want to use a grabby yarn with plastic needles. But that still leaves a lot of choice. If I am checking a bag and expect to knit when I arrive, I put any other needles I am bringing in my checked bag, and I have never had problems with metal needles in checked bags. I am not a frequent flyer, and so my experience may not be typical. Most of my needles are not super expensive ones either. So having a single pair of straight needles confiscated would only be mildly annoying.

Old Red Wolf wrote
on Jul 1, 2014 3:00 PM

Depending on how I am traveling and for how long, I will take along almost any type of knitting projects. I learned to knit cables, and how to knit cables without a cable needle, during one recent trip, making a scarf out of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick, 4 balls, for a very warm and cozy scarf. But on that trip I was travelling by train with a sleeper for two days, so there was plenty of space and uninterrupted time. Other times I am simply knitting scarves in garter stitch in a pretty yarn, or stockinette edged with garter stitch to help it lay flat. On the recent train trip, I actually had four projects along, finished the one I was working on when I left, and finished the second project, and got more than half way through the cabled scarf, but never got to a section of sweater (the back) that I had also started before I left. If the cabling had proved too difficult to learn while travelling, I probably would have finished the sweater back which was in stockinette and ribbing in the same yarn, with drop shoulders, so there was no shaping except binding off at the neckline. So it was suitable for the same part of the trip, and something I knew I had the skills for. The rest of the trip was too noisy crowded and distracting for either of these projects.

I took plastic knitting needles on my flight portion of the trip, and checked the bag with the rest of my knitting needles and yarn. But I almost wished I had kept more knitting with me, since  there were major delays on both portions of my flight and I arrived almost 12 hours later than scheduled. I was ready to bind off when I finally arrived, but the project did last the whole trip.

I had several sets of 14" metal needles in my checked bag when I flew, since I had not done a gauge swatch yet on one of my projects.

I traveled by car, foot, hotel shuttle, interstate bus, intra-city bus, commercial airplanes, business class AMTRAK train, AMTRAK sleeper train, AMTRAK hired charter bus, and had expected to travel light rail at one point but found an alternate that was easier at the last minute.  Two days of travelling half way across the country at the start, three days of traveling back at the end, and a week and a half locally in between.

Old Red Wolf wrote
on Jul 1, 2014 2:28 PM

The colors in the Crustacean Knitted Shawl are way too realistic. Crustaceans are beautiful to look at live, they are yummy to eat, they are an important part of the ecosystem, but they stink when they are uncooked and out of water! I could never knit with that yarn. It so perfectly captures the beautiful shimmering hues that even just looking at the pictures I can almost smell the aroma of uncooked seafood. Sorry, I almost never have anything negative to say about a knitting project worse than saying that a color just isn't quite the right color for me. So I hope that no one else has the same reaction, and that lots of people enjoy knitting with this beautiful yarn. And the net like design is an excellent choice to match the name of the project. And it looks fun to knit and easy to take along, and many other great attributes for a yarn and a knitting project. But it is not a good choice for me.

on Jun 30, 2014 7:17 PM

I've traveled with both metal and wooden knitting needles with no problems.  They were in a work in progress, don't know how they would be received otherwise.

Elisabeth77 wrote
on Jun 30, 2014 5:14 PM

I love this story, thanks for sharing!

Maybe it is possible to bring your knitting looms with you on an airplane, then you won't have difficulty at customs. There are enough patterns for loom knitting.

Jeanine50 wrote
on Jun 30, 2014 1:18 PM

Has anyone ever had any trouble getting knitting needles through the security checks at the airport?  I'm always concerned that they are going to confiscate them.

Jeanine50 wrote
on Jun 30, 2014 1:16 PM

Have you ever had trouble getting knitting needles on an airplane because of the security checks?  I haven't tried it because I'm afraid they will take them away.

aweinh25 wrote
on Jun 30, 2014 10:39 AM

I love knitting shawls and have recently discovered that the Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi Shawl is, as Elizabeth said, a perfect travel project.  Easy pattern (after the first few rows), circular needle, wads up easily, last for the whole trip and then some! I love wearing handknit socks (inside out so they are smooth against my feet), but don't love knitting them, so it's the Pi Shawl for me when we hit the road!

sewandsewon wrote
on Jun 30, 2014 10:38 AM

I don't like socks either.  My knitting project right now is using up the scraps of the yarns by making a square piece which later will be joined together for an afghan. Of course I have to have more than one going, so I also tote along knitted dishcloths, pot scrubbers, and face scrubbies, the final item is mug rugs. All easy, quick and giftable.

DonnaH@2 wrote
on Jun 30, 2014 9:54 AM

I'm so glad to hear you say you don't like to wear the socks you make. I feel exactly the same way. They are just not smooth enough. My feet don't like them. I went through a craze of sock knitting. I just had to learn how to make them because to me they meant I was an experienced knitter. I knitted a bunch and I think I wore them once or twice and then put them in a drawer where they still sit. But you're right. They are the perfect traveling project. I'm now knitting shawls and Shawlettes. Right now I'm making Lynne Ann Banks' Claire shawl. A light, wispy stole in Rowan kid silk haze. It's a lace pattern of just one row repeat. Even as it grows, it's still easy to handle on a crowded commuter train. (The pattern is available on Ravelry)

sweetknits wrote
on Jun 30, 2014 9:50 AM

I love the Crustacean Shawl. Unlike Kathleen, I love to knit and wear socks and so does my family, so I used to take socks as my travel project. I said "used to" because after a recent trip to Scotland I was knitting socks on the plane, dropped one dpn between the seats, never to be found again and was left with no knitting project!  Also, I do not like to use straight needles on a plane as I have been known to poke the person next to me by accident....So, now I also knit shawls or scarves but with circular needles.  

althee wrote
on Jun 30, 2014 9:15 AM

I love the look of your shawl.  I take whatever I'm working on along; but always have something that is super simple, like a dishcloth, or something.  I give them to everyone in my family; and to the church mission works sales.  I am a huge fan of knitted socks; and so are my family members.  We have circulation problems; and have super cold feet, especially in the winter.  I started raising sheep because, at the time, I couldn't find the 100% wool I wanted to make really thick socks.  I'm asking now which grandkids want socks for Christmas!