Let’s face it. The best part of travel knitting is the travel.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot this year, and while I’ve had knitting and crochet in my bag the entire time, I know that won’t be the first thing I think of when I remember Zurich. That’ll be the church tower we climbed, and the view from the top.
I’ll remember climbing a hill, and staying with Chris, and how it rained.
I know when I think of Montreux, I’ll remember our amazing hotel (take me back!) and swimming in the crystal-clear lake that’s cold enough to take your breath away.
And of course I’ll remember seeing these superstars perform.
Still, knitting does add something to a holiday. It just does. It’s more than just something to fill in spare moments (although there can be a lot of those on planes and trains!). It can be a link to something familiar when you feel far from home. And an excuse to step out of a holiday for a few hours. (Who would ever need a break from holidaying?? When I felt unwell and needed a night in, I could say, ‘You go out without me, I’m happy here with my book and my knitting,’ and everyone – including me – knew I meant it.)
But enough about my holiday, let’s look at some socks.
I didn’t bother using a pattern for these simple socks: I just cast on in blue from my big ball of plain West Yorkshire Spinners yarn. This was helix striped with a ball of luxury sock yarn (I’ve lost the ballband, but I remember it said Luxury Sock Yarn!). This created a sock which looked more impressive than it actually was. The heel was a fish lips kiss heel, which is one of my favourites, and reminds me of travelling, because I first bought the pattern in a bar in New Orleans.
Although it was really an accident – I didn’t plan to knit these yarns together – the colours worked together beautifully.
I usually don’t even do anything as complicated as stripes for travel knitting. The whole point is to keep things simple.
Everything you need to create the perfect travel knitting socks:
Circular needles (let’s not risk losing a DPN!)
That’s it. You don’t need scissors, or scrap yarn, or even stitch markers. You need the most basic of basic equipment to get something amazing.
But helix stripes aren’t much more trouble than plain knitting. It’s as simple as adding a second colour to your knitting, working a round, then picking up the first colour again. The TechKnitter explains it very well, so I won’t bother!
Anyway, not long after our trip, the socks were done. They only took a few more hours on my usual commute and they were blocked and ready to be given as a gift, an anniversary gift for my fiancé (yes, he’s lucky and he knows it. I’m lucky too, to have knitted gifts so well-received! Imagine if he didn’t like handknits).
They’re definitely fraternal rather than identical. But that’s okay: they still look like a pair.
And before you ask, they are the right size! I know they look a funny scale. The recipient keeps shrinking his socks in the washing machine. He’s requested less complicated socks – no more cables! – to cut down on knitting time, and I’ve knit these slightly looser, to leave room for felting. I know! I know.
But I don’t think I can realistically insist he hand wash socks. I don’t hand wash my own, after all: I condemn them to an early death instead, preferring to knit more socks than hand wash the ones I have.
And I know exactly how long it takes to knit socks.
It takes two planes, two trains and a few commutes. If all sock knitting was travel knitting, and all socks were as fun to make as this pair was, I’d sign up to make a pair every month for the rest of my life.
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