Vacation Knitting: Here are Some Thoughts & Ideas
What are your plans for the upcoming holidays? Go someplace overseas? Stay at home for 2 weeks? Learn a new skill? Or perhaps give more time to your favourite hobby?
More and more people now prefer to focus on their favourite hobbies such as knitting. After all, this gives them a break from the chaotic and fast-paced lifestyle of this modern world. This is their way of getting a breath of fresh air and somehow acquiring a new perspective about life (e.g. knitting can be mentally therapeutic).
Also, we’re now seeking to do and create something tangible. This gives us a higher level of satisfaction because of the tangible and “real” accomplishment. It’s especially the case with knitting wherein it’s not just about making time pass. This is also about creating something tangible that you can use yourself or share with others.
Why try vacation knitting?
If you chose this path of giving more time to this productive hobby, it will be a wonderful journey. Whether you want to catch up with your “project portfolio” or you just made up your mind to focus on knitting, vacation knitting can be a good way to really get a vacation and take a break from the demands of the modern world.
It’s also a good way to slow down and improve your mental focus. Although you can semi-automatically perform the knitting motions once you’ve got enough experience, knitting is still a good way to improve mental concentration. It’s a curious thing how we humans are able to focus more and take more satisfaction from doing a craft. After all, for much of human existence and history, the activities of humans had revolved around using the hands to build something tangible.
A week-long vacation is enough time to create several tangible objects through knitting. For example, you can completely knit a scarf within just a few days even if you’re only knitting 2 hours a day (given that you already have the supplies and some experience). For smaller projects such as baby beanies and socks, you can finish a few or several of these things depending on your speed and time commitment each day. This applies similarly to projects such as small home accessories and clothes for toys and pets.
You also don’t have to focus on a particular type of project. You can add a high level of variety to your projects by completing one baby beanie, a cushion cover and a cute dog coat for your lovely pet. Or, you can take on an intimidating project such as a full adult sweater or a full-sized knitted blanket.
Many hobbyists prefer to take it easy by choosing small projects and completing each one at a comfortable pace. Some hobbyists though choose to tackle huge and intimidating projects because the challenge motivates them. Also, the vacation could be their only time to do these projects that they’ve been putting off for too long. Perhaps while at the office they’ve been always thinking of completing a very challenging knitting project of their own.
In either case, the vacation (or even if it’s just a long weekend) is a perfect time to catch up on knitting or stay productive. There’s not much pressure in this in contrast with our careers or businesses. The goal is to slow down and focus on the experience. After all, we’ve chosen knitting in the first place because of the unique experience it provides. Whether you’ll be staying at home or travelling, the experience is what we always seek.
The knitting experience during travel
Planning to travel but you still want to have that knitting experience? Most likely you won’t be outdoors or all over the place 24/7. There will be times that you have to stay at one place for a few hours (e.g. right before bedtime). You will get the most out of your vacation because you get to visit new places while creating something new during your “downtime.”
But travel presents a unique challenge to knitters. That’s because they need to bring the knitting supplies with them. For first timers, it could be hard to figure out which ones to bring. Most of the time they don’t know how much yarn to bring. For most travellers, the goal is to travel light. There should be a minimal number of things to bring when going away for a while.
As a result, the common option is to eye for small knitting projects. This way, you’ll only bring the least amount of yarn and other knitting supplies. It’s especially the case if you’re on the road or in motion for most of the time. You just have to bring what you think you can finish during the vacation. For example, bring only the needed yarn and supplies to finish a baby sock, a tablet or phone cover or a dog coat.
It depends largely on your scheduled activities during your travel. It’s recommended to start with the minimum so you can complete something given the limited time. For instance, if you can dedicate 2 hours each day for knitting, you can finish a 150-centimetre long scarf before the weeklong vacation is over.
Ideas for beginners
If relatively you’re still a beginner, it’s recommended to focus on small and easy projects such as knitted home accessories. These projects often have a low level of complexity as opposed to clothing items that have sleeves, collars and pockets. Many knitted home accessories are pretty straightforward to complete because the patterns are relatively simple.
You can still take on more complex patterns. However, it could be very challenging especially if you have very limited spare time during your vacation. More complex patterns might also discourage you from completing or even starting the project.
But if you think you’re ready for higher level projects, you can go for knitting clothes and clothing accessories. These require precise measurements and extra attention to the pattern. If you’re now confident about your skill (or you feel that you can adjust if you see the pattern is difficult), it’s good to expand your comfort zone as soon as possible. This vacation might be your only chance to take on higher level knitting projects. After the vacation, you’ll realise it’s all worth it and you have increased your skill level. This is a huge motivator and will urge you to further expand your comfort zone.
Aside from taking on bigger knitting projects, another way to become more confident about your knitting skill is by adding more variety to your portfolio. Perhaps you only got used to knitting home accessories and your mastery on them made you very quick and productive about the craft. And perhaps this is also the right time to explore other patterns (e.g. baby and children’s patterns, clothing accessories).
What are the things you’ve never done before? Those things are often reserved for spare time and the first few months of a new year. Your next vacation is the perfect time to test the waters and explore new worlds. This is possible with knitting if you choose to explore new patterns and accomplish new projects you’ve never tackled before.
Keep it light and slow
Take note that this is a vacation. Most probably knitting won’t consume most of your waking time. Perhaps it’s just 2 or 3 hours for the entire day. You don’t even have to finish a project. You just have to start and take your time. After the vacation, you can always pick up from where you left off.
Also take note that knitting is a hobby. You don’t even have to accomplish something. If you’re like many hobbyists out there, you still continue on knitting because of the unique experience it provides while doing it.
Creating something tangible is more of an extra reward than a requirement. It’s true that knitting is therapeutic because of the required focus and the accomplishment thereafter. But the experience of knitting something (especially during a vacation where there are no external demands) is truly satisfying in itself.
So for your upcoming vacation, just keep it light and slow. Take on light and small projects you can complete in a few days. If you have a long vacation and you want to take on a new challenge, choose knitting projects that you’ve never done before or you feel that are too complicated for you. This way, you’ll explore new horizons and you’ll bring your knitting skill to an entirely new level.