Posted on Leave a comment

Letters from Iceland: Hiking (and Knitting) with the Elves Pt 1: The Group

This past July, I spent 10 days in Iceland. It was my second trip to Iceland after an initial 4-day stopover last January, on our way home from Europe.
This time though, I signed up for a structured pre-planned trip. The majority of my 10 days were spent as part of a hiking and knitting tour created and run by Hélène Magnusson called “Hiking with the Elves“.
I have been meaning to blog about the trip ever since I arrived home.
I want to record my experience, but I also want to share it with others who are considering a similar trip in the future.
Unfortunately, this has proven to be such a difficult post to write.
Part of the challenge is to try and capture the experience without writing for pages and pages. I’m sure that you, my dear readers, have better things to do that sit in a comfy chair,  with a glass of wine, snuggled up to your computer screen while you read through the novel that is my Icelandic blog post.
The other difficulty comes from the fact that the experience was so tremendous.  How can I ever hope to capture the magnificence and grandeur of it with mousy little English words?
Continue reading Letters from Iceland: Hiking (and Knitting) with the Elves Pt 1: The Group

Posted on Leave a comment

Knitting Tour in Iceland – Hats, Scarves & Wool! Oh my!

IMG_5473
Many of my friends are aware that I’m headed to Iceland next week for a hiking/knitting trip.
*****pause blogging*****
OMIGODS I’m so excited!!!!
*****re-engage blogging brain****
Ahem…as I was saying…next Friday I head to Iceland.  I have joined this Hiking with the Elves tour, hard decision to make as Hélène Magnusson, the tour guide, offers numerous knitting tours throughout the year and they all sound fabulous!
I chose July as my tour because B and I were in Iceland in January.  We loved it but I wanted to experience the country in summer as well.
It’s going to be extra interesting as we will be focusing on lace knitting.  Not only do I have next to no experience with lace knitting, but I am also fairly new to charts.  It’s my understanding that one doesn’t need to have loads of knowledge and experience to take part in these tours.  We shall see.
In between work and my obsessive crochet/knitting/spinning hobbies, I have been slowly prepping for my trip.  (This has included numerous trips to Mountain Equipment Co-op as I had next to no proper hiking gear!)
I decided early on that I wanted to knit or crochet myself a few items to wear while hiking.  A hat and a scarf specifically.  The temperatures are supposed to be approximately 7-13 degrees Celsius so either item will likely come in handy.
As of today, I have completed both projects!
Continue reading Knitting Tour in Iceland – Hats, Scarves & Wool! Oh my!

Posted on Leave a comment

Traveling with Crochet Hooks & Knitting Needles…it's doable

I recently went on a European trip from Canada.
Before I went, many friends warned me that I would likely have my crochet hooks and knitting needles confiscated if I brought them.  So initially, I started packing without any projects to work on.
But the more I thought about 6 hours on a plane with no yarn and no crochet, the more annoyed I got. 🙂  I wasn’t willing to bring along my lovely wooden knitting needles as they are fantastic (and were expensive!).  I also wasn’t willing to bring along my handmade ergonomic crochet hooks as I order those from the states and they too aren’t cheap.
So, I put together a small traveling crochet pouch with new bits and pieces as an experiment. Throughout the trip I went through four security checks in three different airports (Pearson Airport in Toronto, Ontario Canada, Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris France & Keflavik Airport in Iceland) and not once was I questioned or stopped.
Of course, every airline, airport and every security employee is different so there is no *one* way to ensure that you’ll never be asked about your hooks and needles, but I though I would share what I did because it seemed to work….in January 2015 at least 😉
First of all, I researched each airport for security regulations.  Some were easy to find and others were a bit harder.  I also asked my airline via Facebook what they allowed on their airplanes.  I was told 2.5mm and smaller were acceptable which didn’t work for me as all my projects were  on hooks and needles 5mm or larger.
So instead I created this pouch….

Traveling crochet pouch
Traveling crochet pouch

I went out and bought plastic hooks and plastic needles, as well as the smallest pair of scissors I could find.  Initially I was looking for scissors for children as I figured they would be even less threatening but I came across these for quite cheap and figured I’d try them.
I also purchased a replacement set of circular knitting needles for a project I was working on.  These are aluminum:
Aluminum circular needles size 8
Aluminum circular needles size 8

The key to all of this was that I made my purchases with the knowledge that they all could be taken away and I was okay with that.  If I had lost my plastic hooks or scissors…they hadn’t been too expensive and I still had my preferred ones at home.
Prior to going through any security, I pulled a string through the stitches of my knitting project along the needles and tied it together. Every time.
I only had one knitting item with me….so if you have a few this could be annoying BUT you just KNOW that the one time you think “I haven’t had a problem so far, I’m sure it’ll be fine” is the time when someone will decide that your needles are not acceptable!  😛 So do it every time!
IMG_2882Of course, if they had decided to confiscate the needles, I may have lost the project as well…I have heard of that happening before….but this way, if I had been given the opportunity to keep the project, the needles could have been easily pulled out and all the stitches saved.
Lastly, each time I went through security, I purposely pulled out the crochet pouch and the project with the needles in it and put them in a tray to go through the scanner.  That way they were clearly seen and could be checked easily.
Four security scans later, I wasn’t asked once about them.
So there you go! 🙂  Hopefully this helps my fellow fibre freaks out there who also like to travel with their yarn art!
NOTE: One additional note….I was also working on a project with 15mm needles.  Mine are plastic and I assume pretty non-threatening but I didn’t chance them due to their size and always put them in my checked luggage.
ANOTHER NOTE (Later…same day):
I had to add another note to share some of the awesome ideas that are being shared with me on social media!
One person suggested taking along small nail clippers for children instead of scissors and another person suggested floss…because floss packaging  usually has a small sharp edge to cut floss…or yarn!
Brilliant!
How do you travel with your needles and hooks? Leave a comment. 🙂
Would love to hear more ideas and suggestions. 🙂