By Erin K.
meet the maker
Hey there! My name is Erin and I just recently taught myself to knit during lockdown in 2020, despite having inherited my great-grandmother’s needles years ago. I am an engineer by day and have found that I crave a creative outlet, which knitting was quick to take over. I live in upstate South Carolina with my husband and our rescue pup and one of my favorite hobbies is traveling.
It’s summer, and after two years of canceled or adjusted plans, traveling is finally starting to look normal again. Whether you’re hitting the road, flying across the world, or taking a staycation, I’m here to convince you to make yarn a part of that trip (like you needed any convincing, right?).
Personally, I have never been one for souvenirs, tending to prefer remembering my travels with photos, but lately I have gotten into making a memento of each trip out of yarn. One of my favorite things to do now when I’m planning a trip is to seek out any and all local yarn stores in the places I’m visiting.
Buying yarn while on travel serves two purposes: I get a skein (and future project) to forever remember my trip and I also get to support a local business in a new city. I usually even try to buy a locally dyed or sourced skein rather than something I could get at my own local yarn store to hopefully make a bigger impact on the community.
Searching for local yarn stores is one of my favorite things about planning a trip. If you have a Google account, you can create a customized map with Google My Maps in your drive. I usually create a map for each city I plan on visiting a few weeks ahead of time and pin all of the places I want to visit onto it.
Last fall, my husband and I took a trip to Maine. I visited KnitWit Yarn Shop in Portland and was particularly impressed that they made a point to specially label all of their yarn that was locally dyed, including their own in-house yarn. I scooped up two of these locally-dyed skeins and since visiting, I made some Coffee Bean socks with yarn from On The Round. I will now forever be happily reminded of that Maine trip when I wear these socks.
When traveling, I do recommend setting some purchase limits for yourself before the trip, depending on how you’re traveling and how many shops you plan on visiting. When I’m flying and have limited space in my luggage, I tend to stick to one or two skeins per yarn store, and I usually prioritize one or two stores. If you’re driving, you have a bit more space to buy what you want.
You may want to start knitting with your brand new yarn while you’re still on your trip, or maybe you just like to knit while traveling in general. Contrary to what you may think, the TSA does in fact allow needles in your carry-on luggage. One of the best ways to kill time while traveling, whether it’s waiting for your flight at the terminal or sitting shotgun on your road trip, is pulling out your current project and adding a few rows.
As far as traveling projects go, I prefer patterns that are small, simple, and don’t require many notions like cable needles or multiple scraps of waste yarn. Top-down socks with an easy-to-remember stitch pattern and gusset style heel that only need one color (and are usually simple enough to let a variegated yarn shine) have been my go-to. Some sock patterns I recommend for traveling are the Mermaid Tail socks by Kalley Reedy, the Hearth & Home socks by Lindsay Fowler, and the All the Frills socks by Summer Lee Knits. If you grabbed a DK or worsted skein, Kalley’s Willow or Cozy Coffee Bean socks are great options too!
I hope I’ve convinced you to make yarn a part of your summer travel plans! I look forward to seeing all of your summer projects.
To keep up with Erin and what she’s making, follow @knitting.with.erin on Instagram!