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Top tips for holiday knitting

May 19, 2017

I'm abroad this week, and getting away from it all, which got me thinking about a friend who was recently told she couldn't take a crochet hook on a flight to Europe. As she was only taking hand luggage, this left her without anything to make for a whole week - very depressing!

Happily, knitting needles and hooks are permitted on some airlines, including the one I flew with, so I spent the seven hour flight beavering away on my Louisa Harding Marmo scarf. I think you'll agree the yarn is a great match for the scenery!

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Knitting and hot weather holidays aren't always an obvious match, so here are my top tips for making the most of holiday knits...

Stay cool with cotton or silk

I love knitting with wool, but it's  not the best choice when it's sweltering. Last year I took a barely begun alpaca shawl to a sub-tropical country with a plan to complete it while I was away. Needless to say I didn't manage more than a few rows before completely overheating!

Silk, cotton and linen are perfect for hot climes. Try Louisa Harding Marmo, Debbie Bliss Sita, or just about anything by Noro. Pick a bright fresh colour to match your surroundings and you can craft a holiday souvenir that'll last longer than the cheap gin you picked up in duty free (or is that just me?!).

Check the rules before you fly

Each airline has its own rules about what you are allowed to take in hand luggage on a flight so check before you fly. British Airways allow knitting needles, crochet hooks and short scissors, as do many other operators but don't leave it to chance.

Some airlines allow wooden needles, like those by Brittany, but not metal ones. Others will only let you put your pointy sticks into checked baggage. Airport security get the final say, and they can overrule if they think something looks like a threat. Scissors often get confiscated so try round-ended baby nail scissors or dental floss (use the cutter) instead.

If you're still not sure whether you can take needles and hooks or not, bring a self addressed envelope with you. If it comes to the worst and you find out at the last minute that you can't work on your project in the cabin, you can pop it in the post back to yourself!

For the same reason it's a good idea to run a lifeline through your work so that you don't end up with running stitches if you decide to take it off your needles.

Take a towel

I don't normally pack a towel when I go away, as they take up so much room in the suitcase and I usually stay with friends. A towel can be very useful though, as you can pop it on your lap if you're crafting away by the pool to avoid getting sticky sun cream on  your work. A pale towel is also useful if you decide to take a lace project, as you can use the background to help you see what's going on.

Keep it simple and don't overpack!

I am terrible for going away for two days with about five projects, three books and assorted magazines. I never take many clothes but I'm a maximalist when it comes to project packing!

So don't copy me - think less is more.

Avoid bringing anything too complicated either. Lighting on planes can be dreadful so a project that requires a lot of concentration is not the best idea.

A pair of easy socks or a one skein shawl is perfect. A giant and complex cable sweater not so much!

No pressure

Finally, don't feel bad if it turns out you don't make as much progress on your project as you'd hoped.

If there's time to knit or crochet, then great, but if not don't beat yourself up!

Holidays are for kicking back and having fun. Happy travels!

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