Tag Archives: travel

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

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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!

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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. 🙂

On the hunt for locally made yarn…

Ever since I began this obsessive fibre arts period of my life, I have enjoyed visiting local yarn shops when I travel.

I usually take the time to hunt them down before we arrive so I have a sense of where they are in the city.  That also means that I can manipulate our plans to bring us near said shop and then say something like “Oh, look!  There’s a yarn shop over there!  It’s a sign from the universe that I should check it out! Can you pull in? I’ll only be a minute!”

Cue the sigh, the raised eyebrow and my partner B pulling out his book as he lowers his seat back and settles in for a long wait. 😉

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“But I want to stop in to the yarn shop. I’ll only be a minute! I promise!”        “NO.”

I have to say though, that over time, I have been able to somewhat shorten my visits … well… depending on how talkative the shop owner is!
Part of the reason for this is that I like to look for local items when I travel.  I visit the local yarn shop and the moment I enter, I ask if they carry anything made by local artisans.  My logic is that, generally speaking, all the other mass-produced yarns can be found near my home.  So if I’m going to stuff my suitcase full of lovely skeins to bring back with me, they had better be unique and one of a kind.

My most recent outing was to Port Elgin, Ontario.

We were visiting friends at their cottage and a few of us decided to head out for some needed groceries….and a chai latte!  It’s always time for chai!

Anyway, I digress.

As we drove through the downtown portion of Port Elgin, it occurred to me that perhaps I could convince the driver, our friend John, and B to pop by the local yarn shop….assuming there was one.

At a red light, I googled yarn shop + port elgin and came up with Doc Knits.  I excitedly mentioned that there was a yarn shop somewhere nearby and could we maaaaaybe go find it.

B looked up, pointed to the left and said “You mean THAT place?”

We were stopped at the light in front of the shop.  It was the universe saying that I should *definitely* visit! 😉

They didn’t open for another half hour so we did the shopping first and then the guys parked the car and gave me some time to poke my head into the loveliness that is Doc Knits.

One of the first things I noticed about the shop is the sitting area in the back, beyond the front desk.

Gorgeous cozy sitting area in Doc Knits
Cozy sitting area in Doc Knits

 

The second thing I noticed was BUTTONS!

How I LOVE wooden buttons!
How I LOVE wooden buttons!

It was at that point that I stopped looking and headed to the counter to ask about local yarn.  The woman working there was lovely and quite friendly, I’m sorry I didn’t get her name.
She pointed me in the direction of their ShantiKnits yarn.  The yarn itself wasn’t local, but the dye job was done nearby in Southampton, Ontario.  Good enough for me!

I really liked her choice of colorway names!

IMG_3549 IMG_3550 IMG_3548There were many skeins to choose from but I went with Chantry Mist as it seemed to be the most interesting and unique of the bunch.

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Cannot wait to work with these two skeins!


Once I had decided what I would buy…I couldn’t help but look around a bit more.  Just to see what they had of course!

I came across this lovely cowl, which turned out to be a free pattern off Ravelry!  I liked the look of it, so I took a shot so I would remember to find it online.

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AND the other item I found that excited me was an alpaca/bamboo blend yarn!

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I am always on the lookout for yarns that are natural fibres, warm, and NOT wool as so many folks who order shawls from me specify that they don’t want wool of any kind.

We could get into the discussion about wool and how there are so many different kinds, treated so many different ways that it’s hard to say that all wool is the same: itchy, scratchy, rough, uncomfortable.

BUT

I absolutely love working with alpaca and I am completely  happy to search for an appropriate yarn to make a custom order!  It can be hard to find a heavier weight so this yarn that I came across made me happy!

Heavier weight alpaca, wool-free and chain-constructed. Perfect for those heavier winter projects I want to work on!

I didn’t buy any…I just took a picture for later! 😉

So in the end, I was in the shop for about 15-20 mins and only bought two skeins of locally dyed yarn!

That’s a success in my books!