Saturday, December 19, 2009

For Crocheters on the Go

One of the nice things about crochet is that it is easily portable. Even easier than knitting since hooks are shorter and don’t have pointy ends to bust through plastic bags. Of course the portability depends on the project. A scarf is easy to take with, a big afghan - no.

I usually grab something to work on at the last minute. However, just taking a work in progress and a hook really isn’t enough, something I ‘ve discovered at 35,000 feet. What if you finish and want to weave in the ends, or find that you’re losing a stitch because you can’t tell where the last stitch is supposed to be and would like to mark it? It’s nice to have the basic stuff you need with you. I finally made up a small bag with an assortment of tools and always take it on the road. It occurred to me that a small kit like that would make a great last minute crafter’s gift.

I started with the thick plastic bag that a six pack of underpants had come in. It was doubly nice. I was recycling and the shape of the see through plastic container was just the right size for a travel kit. I bought some children’s rounded edge scissors. Short scissors are allowed on planes now, even if they have sharp points. Still I don’t want to take chances and have stuck with the kids shears with the lady bug handles.

I keep some hooks in the bag in case something comes up and I need them. For a gift, I would probably stick in a J and a K sized hook. A small ruler is convenient to check gauge. I carry a tape measure in mine, too. It comes in handy when you’re trying to determine the final size of something.

I always carry at least one blunt needle and a needle threader. I remember laughing at the concept of a needle threader. Not anymore. I use mine all the time and am grateful for how easy it makes getting thick yarn through the eye of a needle.

There’s some little junk at the bottom – some safety pins and some stitch holders. I like having a pencil and a small pad of paper. I use it to keep track of foundation chains. Say something calls for 108 chains. I make a mark for every ten and then for the last eight. Much easier than trying to keep track of where you are in the chain, particularly when the fasten seatbelt announcement interrupts your work.

The on the go kit isn’t fancy, but it sure comes in handy. I would have loved getting one before I figured out to make my own.

There are probably some other things that would go well with the kit. Any ideas?


Camille Minichino said...

That's a great idea, Betty. I have a little "travel kit" for my miniature knitting also.
But I never thought of making up one for a gift.

My pouch also has odds and ends like rubber tips that you put on the ends of the needles when that announcement comes! I'm going to add a ruler, thanks!

Mason Canyon said...

What a wonderful idea for a gift, not just at Christmas but for a birthday or maybe someone retiring that you know enjoys knitting or crocheting. Thanks for the suggestion.

Terri Thayer said...

I have a travel quilting kit, too. Right now it's got yo-yo's in it, along with needles, threads, snub nosed scissors. There are adult scissors you can buy that will pass through security, by the way. They might be sharper than the kids' version.

Just because you have a to-go kit doesn't mean you'll actually use it, though. Those yo-yo's have gone thousand of miles without me adding another one to the pile.

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm glad to hear the idea works for more than crocheting. Camille, when you mentioned your travel kit for miniature knitting, I kept seeing teeny tiny needles and balls of yarn.

Mason, good idea to take it beyond Christmas.

Terri, okay what are yo-yos?

Camille Minichino said...

I use 6-inch 000 needles and embroidery thread for my mini afghans and scarves. Everything fits nicely into a small fabric zippered bag, about 4" x 8"

I have small cosmetic scissors that are very sharp but always pass security. Go figure.

I want to know what yo yos are also!

Terri Thayer said...

Here's what they are

This is what I've been making for a year

Janel said...

That is a wonderful idea for a present. I always use a row counter and how about some scraps of contrasting yarn to also use as stitch or row markers?

Betty Hechtman said...

Good additions, Janet.

Terri, so that's what yo-yos are. I loved the Santa. I looked at the yo yo instructions. It seems like they would take a long time to make. Is that true?

Terri Thayer said...

Each yo yo only takes a few minutes. But you need quite a few.