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Friday, 28 February 2014


There is no such thing as a wasted moment when you're a knitter! Annoying delays at airports, time spent waiting for appointments, train and coach journeys and even those few minutes in the car waiting for kids to come out of school all present the perfect opportunity to add a couple of rows to your latest project.

Of course, the project needs to be portable and NOT a complicated lace shawl which requires focused attention or the need to finish the row. You have to be prepared to pick up and put down your knitting in a heartbeat, which generally means stuffing it hastily into a bag, hoping that your stitches will survive the manhandling!

 Happy to be on the train and wearing my Vanessa Cable Cardigan finished just in time to wear at CHSI, and my portable Nils project

You can create the perfect travel project with just a little bit of preparation. Circular needles are great because they take up less space in your bag and will prevent inadvertent elbowing of the person sat next to you on a train. A row counter can help to remind you of roughly which row you are on (or at least the last row you last completed), and a small project bag will keep it all together, and your yarn from rolling down the length of the carriage/footwell/surgery floor.

Tools for knitting on the go

Choosing the optimal project is also key to successful knitting on the go. I nearly always have a pair of 'vanilla' socks on my needles, just because I have knitted so many pairs now that I don't need to follow a pattern (less to force into my project bag) and are knitted entirely in stocking stitch. For the same reasons, a small, simple baby garment is also the perfect travel companion.

I cast on the Nils Stripey Top just before I set off to CHSI a couple of weeks ago, knowing that I had at least a couple of hours on a train to get to Birmingham on Sunday and another two to get back home on Tuesday evening. It may sound a little odd, but I was actually looking forward to those precious hours of enforced sitting and knitting. Interruption free, guilt free knitting with my earphones in listening to a knitting podcast (as it happens, aplayfulday) - what could be sweeter?

I didn't finish the pieces for my Nils on my trip to Birmingham, but I had completed the front and started the back almost entirely during my traveling time - such a satisfying result from what could have been hours of dull journeying. Another evening saw the sleeves finished and as soon as it was blocked I knitted on the bands and seamed it.

This lovely garment is the second part of my gift for the April baby - knit in cobalt and putty grey to match the Smilla Hat. I managed to get both items out of 2 balls of each colour and took such a short time to make that in knitting terms it provided instant gratification!

I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to indulge in some travel knitting, and planning another small and simple project to stow away in my bag. It's only just March so there is plenty of time to fit in another tiny gift before April . . .
(posted by Max)


  1. Replies
    1. Thankyou! It really is the cutest set to knit - hoping to share a pic of the brand new baby wearing it when he arrives!

  2. I love it! I have a brand new little niece due in April so I will definitely have a go at the Nils top. I'm half way though the Smilla hat and it's looking good so far! :)

    1. Ooh - we'd love to see a pic of it when it finished!