You’re listening to YarnCraft. [music]
Zontee: Welcome to YarnCraft. It’s episode 68 on June 8th, 2010. Thanks for joining us today. This is Zontee.
Liz: And I’m Liz. And we are the hosts of YarnCraft.
Zontee: Stop by YarnCraft.LionBrand.com for more information about the patterns and products that we talk about on today’s episode. And while you’re there, you can also leave your comments. Or give us a call and leave a voicemail at 774‑452‑YARN, that’s 9276.
Liz: As usual, we’re here at the Lion Brand Design Center in New York City. But today’s episode will feature interviews from the San Francisco Bay Area from our trip to Maker Faire at the end of last month. We talked to our friends at CRAFT Magazine, artists focusing on plushies, spinners and fiber enthusiasts, and more.
Zontee: And on today’s “Stash This: Ideas for Your Crafting Life” segment, we talk about making and packing a yarn crafting kit for you or your child as you head out on the road this summer for travels.
Liz: Stay tuned for interviews and insights, next on YarnCraft. [music]
Zontee: As usual, we’re starting off our episode with a quick update of our projects and follow‑up comments from you guys from our last episode.
Liz: Our first comment was from Abby a.k.a. SpitfireSNC. She clarified how to pronounce that username since she went to St. Norbert College, and her nickname has been Spitfire. So she put them together. Thank you, Abby. And you may remember Abby’s making a wash‑inspired sweater from the Firefly TV show for her dad for Father’s Day. And I wanted to know if that was a special inside thing between her and her dad. She says, “Actually, no.” Her dad doesn’t really know about the whole Firefly angle, but that she and her mom watch it. And the Firefly aspect is just making it more interesting for her to knit. She’s still in progress on the sweater even though it’s 90 degrees out. So let’s all send good thoughts to Abby for her to get that knitting done even through the heat wave. [laughs]
Zontee: Yeah, good job sticking with the project in the hot weather. I find that sometimes it can make me feel like I’m dragging. But sometimes you really do need to just power through and, if you’ve gone with a good mental place about it, I think you can.
Zontee: We also got some comments about the socks that we talked about in the last episode. So Sharon said that another idea for socks, especially during the summer, is that she hates going through the airport security barefoot. And, actually, I hate that, too. And so, in the summer, I always have this problem because I wear sandals or something and then I have to go through barefoot. And I feel like I don’t know who else has stepped on that ground. I’m just going to be honest, it’s not so pleasant. Anyways.
Liz: I never really minded till now. But now I completely mind [laughter] and am very upset.
Zontee: Sorry, Liz. But she says that she used Sock‑Ease to make herself a pair of bright striped socks that she keeps in her carry‑on. So once she gets to the airport, she puts the socks on and walks through the checkpoint. And then she can go on her merry way. And I bet you they’re really comfortable on the airplane as well so you can kick off your shoes.
Liz: Yep. And I think the bright stripes are really the key. Because I don’t know if most of your carry‑on bags are like mine but, basically, it’s a black hole with just so much stuff in it that, if they’re not brightly colored socks, I’m not going to find them in time at the checkpoint. [laughs]
Zontee: It’s true. My bags usually look like I’ve packed for the next 20 years or something.
Zontee: I try not to but…
Liz: I think it’s all the Lost watching. I’m definitely prepared to keep myself entertained for three years if I end up stranded on a beautiful tropical island.
Zontee: Mm, that’s a good idea. And you can probably build yourself a radio or something to signal people.
Liz: Yes, absolutely.
Zontee: [laughs] And, finally, we got a comment from EL who just wanted to ask us about the crochet sweater blanket, which she didn’t see on our episode show notes. But I have added that link. So you can find the crochet sweater blanket on there, and make one for a loved one in your life.
Liz: So now a quick update on what Zontee and I have on our hooks and needles. Why don’t you go first, Zontee?
Zontee: Sure. I just finished that South Bay Shawlette that I did in the Sunbeam color. I’m really happy to have it off my hook. And you can see photos of it on my Ravelry page. So I’m pretty happy with that. It’s very exciting.
Liz: Have you worn it yet in our 90 plus degree weather? [laughs]
Zontee: Sadly, no. Because I can’t figure out how I can get away with it without being burning hot. [laughs]
Liz: Yeah, right.
Zontee: Since it’s a small shawl, I thought I could wear it more like a scarf or something. But then I just thought to myself, “I’m going to be really warm.” Because even though it’s a super fine yarn, Silk Mohair is a very warm blend.
Zontee: It was warm even when I was working on it. So I’m just thinking to myself that I may not get so much use out of it until I go on vacation somewhere cool or something.
Liz: Oh, that sounds fun though. [laughs] It’s already hot enough here that I’m like, “Oh! Vacation somewhere cool!”
Liz: Let’s go north. [laughs] Head north.
Zontee: Yeah. And so now that I’ve finished that project, I’ve decided to work on a new crochet project which is going to be a little cropped cardi. And you’re going to have to wait to find out more details about it because I’m going to be writing about it for the Lion Brand Notebook, our official blog. So I don’t want to give away too much here. But let’s just say that I’m taking a concept that we’ve talked about here on the show, about resizing, and taking a pattern that I like and then making a cardigan that’s all my own.
Liz: Very cool! I can’t wait to hear more about this. This is new information even to me.
Zontee: So what about you, Liz? What have you been working on?
Liz: Well, after taking the excellent Cat Bordhi sock workshop at the Studio, I’ve been just playing around with different sock ideas and doing lots of little bizarre blobby swatches. But now, after hearing Sharon’s comment about the security checkpoint socks, I am really going to need to get going on those, like as soon as we stop recording.
Zontee: [laughs] It’s going to be OK, Liz. You’ve lived this long, right?
Liz: Somehow, somehow. Just through luck.
Zontee: [laughs] [music]
Liz: At the end of May, Zontee and I and other members of the Lion Brand team were lucky enough to head out to San Mateo for the fifth annual Bay Area Maker Faire.
Zontee: It was the fourth time that Lion Brand has been a sponsor of the show. And we were really happy to be there, to be in the booth, and teach people knitting, crochet, as well as kid’s crafts.
Liz: Every year, the show itself gets bigger and bigger, and I think our booth gets more and more crowded. It’s really exciting to see how many people want to learn about yarn crafting.
Zontee: Definitely. Because, while the show is called the Maker Faire and it is about showing off the things you and other people who are makers have created, it’s also about passing on that knowledge and showing people how to make things.
Liz: That’s something that’s been really exciting for me to see in the four years I’ve attended the show is how much the emphasis has shifted from the show part of show and tell to the tell part. People are really teaching people what they know about all sorts of different subject areas from robotics all the way down to spinning yarn. And just the opportunities for people to interact are always increasing.
Zontee: Oh definitely. And of course, if you’re interested and excited about the things that we’ve talked about just now, the website is MakerFaire.com, and that’s F-A-I-R-E-dot-com. And they have a show coming up in the Detroit area, and then there will be one in the fall in New York. And we’re going to be excited to go to the New York one since it’s in our hometown. So if you’re lucky enough to be able to make that one, please come out and stop by the booth and say hello.
Liz: While we were there, we were able to interview a lot of very passionate people demonstrating and teaching in a lot of different fiber‑related areas. Sometimes we actually had to wait in line behind the people who they were teaching just to grab them for a moment for a quick interview. But we think they were fascinating, and we hope you enjoy listening to the interviews. [music]
Zontee: Liz and I are here at Maker Faire with our good friend, Natalie Zee Drieu, editor at CRAFT Magazine. Hi, Natalie.
Natalie Zee Drieu: Hi, ladies.
Zontee: So tell us about this year’s event. This is your fifth year?
Natalie: Yes, it’s the fifth year.
Zontee: And how has the attendance been and what have been some of the highlights that you’ve seen? And tell us a little but about the CRAFT booth and what you guys have been doing there?
Natalie: I feel like it just has gotten crazier every year. And so there are so many cool activities and new crafters to meet. I love seeing the passion people have when they come over and show me things they’ve made, sewn, or even just stuff they made just sitting and needle felting at the CRAFT booth. This year we have lots of stuff going on. In addition to our hourly workshops, we have Xyron working with one of our editors, Brooklyn, on just doing a bunch of crafts with them, kids and people coming over who want to make cool things.
Zontee: That’s fantastic.
Liz: I heard a rumor that Cookie A was doing a sock workshop. Is that true? [laughs] Was that true?
Natalie: Cookie A, actually I wanted her to do a sock workshop, but she came actually to do topological knitting.
Natalie: And showed people how to work on this Klein Bottle Hat. And we were talking over emails and she really wanted to sort of showcase the mathematics that goes behind knitting. It was fascinating. I wish I really could pay attention more. I had to work and talk to you at the booth, but it was…. She’s amazing.
Liz: I think that’s the really great thing about the Maker Faire. Is that it’s not just people doing text stuff and people doing craft stuff and totally separate. It all relates together, it all connects.
Zontee: Definitely. Obviously this Maker Faire is wrapping up today, but you have two more events coming up this year. Can you tell us a little bit about those?
Natalie: Yeah, we are really excited to take Maker Faire on the road. We have Maker Faire Detroit happening this summer July 31 to August 1st at the Henry Ford Museum, then also in the fall, September 25 to 26 in New York.
Zontee: That’s great that’s going to be in our hometown, we can’t wait.
Liz: We’re so excited.
Natalie: Definitely. We can’t wait to see you guys at the Maker Faire New York. I hope that you guys have a great rest of the day here.
Zontee: You too, thank you. [music]
Liz: Zontee and I are here with Christina Ward all the way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She’s part of the Etsy Plush Team, and she’s going to tell us what that is and what they have been doing here at the Maker Faire.
Christina Ward: The Plush Team is actually a guild of makers who make stuff creatures of all kinds. From realistic to not realistic, we are all over the world. We’ve got about sixty members: Australia…every continent is covered. We’re thrilled to come together; we work as a support group…for sharing ideas, designs, and issues. Really to help educate people that plush is a variable and real art form as well as something that is just fun. Fun, you’re never too old to carry something soft and squishy around.
Liz: That’s great. What have you been–I see that you a demo area here–what have you been helping people do?
Christina: We got a series of classes going on. Cover both the sewing and amigurumi, which is the yarn-based plush and right now we’re doing some ice cream cones. We’re teaching people how to crochet ice cream cones and throughout the day we’re doing a recycled sweater…how to turn an old sweater into a creature. We’re doing fake fur and how to do more designs with arms and legs and articulation. We’re doing a design…how to make a bag, essentially. A stuffed bag and we’re going to free for all. We’re doing some nature inspired stuff, taking your cues and designs from nature and making stuffed leaves.
Liz: Excellent, is there a centralized website on Etsy or elsewhere that people can find more about the Plush Team.
Christina: Actually you can go to www.plushteam.com, and you can learn more about us, and it links to individual challenges; we do specific challenges to help us grow artistically and technically. You can see some o those results of those challenges on there, as well as individual links to some of the members shops.
Liz: Awesome, thanks so much.
Christina: Thank you…We have a book out too.
Liz: Cool, what’s the book?
Christina: Get Stuffed.
Liz: Excellent, Thanks so much. [music]
Liz: Zontee and I are here with Renee. Whose with the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, they have a booth in Maker Faire’s Bizarre Bazaar area and they have been teaching all sorts of stuff.
Renee: We have been. Today and yesterday, we were teaching basic knitting. We have a stitch n’ bitch area and we’re also teaching people how to make pocket buddies. Which are little hand sewn plushies filled with beans. You can carry them around; they’re comforting, or else you can give them to your cats. My cats have several and we’re also teaching people how to make duct tape wallets. And recycled paper strip woven wallets. We’re recycling and we’re crafting and we have all the buzz words.
Liz: Now Maker Faire is just one part of the craft education and events that the Museum of Crafts and Folk Art does, why don’t you tell us about some of the other events you guys have going on.
Renee: We have a monthly workshop with Etsy, that’s called Craft Bar. It is designed to teach people the joys of making things with their hands. We don’t just want people to come to the Museum of Craft and Folk Art and look at things. We want them to take something away, have a skill and also just to have fun. So we do these workshops, they’re the first Thursday of every month. It’s five dollars. You get admission to the gallery. You also get delicious refreshments, it’s a good time to meet people and drink a lot of beer. It’s very inspiring, drunken crafting. Every month we have different guest crafter, we actually had Katy Kristin Bowen last month. She taught everyone how to make plushies out of old sweaters and this month we are doing a special craft with giant robots. So we’ll be doing robot plushies. Hipster robots plushies with mustaches and scary antennae. We’ll also be doing our knitting circle, as always, which is super fun. Last time we had about 300 people and maybe 150 of them were knitting and crocheting.
Liz: Wow, what a great crowd.
Renee: Yeah. It is a good crowd. We have a very small museum, so to have that many people in that space is incredible. You can just feel the crafty energy.
Liz: That’s so great. Where can people go online to find out more about the Museum of Crafts and Folk Art?
Renee: You can visit us online at www.mocfa.org.
Liz: So, if you’re in the San Francisco Bay area please be sure to check out the museum. It sounds like such an inspiring space. Thank you so much.
Renee: Thank you. [music]
Zontee: We’re here at the Spindles and Flyers spinning group booth, here at Maker Faire, and we’re here with Amy, who is one of the volunteers. Hi Amy, can you tell us a little bit about the organization?
Amy: Hi. Well, first of all, they got us all labeled incorrectly. We’re actually a guild, which is a noble tradition from the medieval times. We’re a group of men and women. We meet once a month. We are basically a spinning guild that is what everyone has in common. Many member of the group…knit, crochet, but we are a spinning guild. We do lots, and lots, of these kinds of demonstrations and teaching events to try to get new spinners into our world. We go to farmers markets, we go to botanical gardens. We were at the Dia Museum, a couple of weeks ago doing a Friday night demonstration. It was very cool.
We have meeting once a months, ten months out of the year. We have programs, we have demonstration, we have just general camaraderie and show and tell for inspiration.
Zontee: That’s wonderful. Tell us about your booth and your spinning lessons. I see that you have drop spindles made with dowels and and CDs.
Amy: Right. It’s any inexpensive way to get spinners spinning: a couple of CDs with a grommet, a dowel stuck through it with a little couplet at the top. Our guild members bring in whatever they’re not going to spin. Big piles of stuff, and we have a carding party once or twice a year. Where we put together little balls of fluff, so that people can by pick up a spindle, pick up a ball of fluff. We teach them how to spin and then they can either walk away with it for five bucks. Or they can just leave it and walk on and we keep teaching. We probably get 10 new members in our spinning guild each year from our demonstrations like this.
Zontee: Wow, that’s incredible.
Liz: Have you noticed that a lot of people are already weavers, knitters, crocheters who come and get attracted to spin or are there a lot of people were they never really thought about fabrics at all. And they just see the shiny fiber and the shiny spindles and get hooked?
Amy: I think there are the people who see the shiny fiber and go, “Oooh”, and they’re not really usually the ones who would stay. The place where we are getting huge numbers in our…the 20s and 30s-ish people who have learned to knit in the last five years or so, and there are thousands of them out there–it’s just a huge renaissance in knitting–and what’s happening is they have now knit every kind of yarn. That is in their local shop, all of their friends have knit exactly the same yarn in their local shop. Their eyes get very big when you say; you can spin yarn that is exactly what you want. In terms of fiber, in terms of color, in terms of thickness, and in terms of sparkle that you add to it–whatever you want to do–and all of a sudden it’s a whole new dimension to their knitting. We get a little of that from weavers, but weavers are people who have already really immersed in the fiber world. Knitters to a great extent, in their 20s and 30s, it’s the first time that they’ve ever knitting because they didn’t learn it at home from their mom.
Zontee: Great, it there a place online were people who maybe be in the Bay Area can learn more about your group?
Amy: We have our own website called spindlesandflyers.org. You can also, if you’re in the Bay area, but not in the San Francisco area. You can Google “spinning guilds” and there’s at least five in the Bay Area. That are not specifically… There’s Serendipity in the San Jose area, there’s Spindles and Flyers in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are there guilds that are more of a weaving orientation, but they also have spinners in them. There are guilds everywhere and they are big web presence.
Zontee: Great, well, thank you so much for talking out to us. [music]
Zontee: We’re here at the TNNA booth at Maker Faire, with Frederica, who is one of the volunteers who taught yesterday. We just wanted to know what it’s been like introducing people to the world of needle arts?
Frederica: It’s a lot of fun. I did this last year too, and it’s just great seeing the excitement in people’s eyes. When they finally get the stitch or whatever…It’s great.
Liz: Have you had a good mix of people, ages, boys and girls, men and women?
Frederica: From five years old up to probably seventy‑five.
Frederica: Mostly kids and women, but a fair amount of men yesterday, so it’s been nice.
Zontee: That’s great. Do you feel like it’s fun to come up to these kinds of events where people are really interested in learning new skills and sharing that with them?
Frederica: Yes, I do. I’m a wholesaler, so I don’t really get to interact with consumers very much. I don’t teach on a regular basis, and so it’s really fun for me.
Zontee: Great. Well, thanks so much for talking to us today.
Frederica: Thank you. [music]
Liz: We’re here in the craft area of CRAFT Magazine with Brooklynne, one of their editors. Hi, Brooklynne.
Brooklynne: Hi, guys.
Liz: So, tell us what you guys have been doing over here.
Brooklynne: We have a lot of different things in one square area in the dead center of the hall. We have a quadrant with a stage, where we’re running demos every half an hour with a million different kinds of projects from soft circuits, to knitting, to screen printing, to learning how to drop spin–spin with a drop spindle made from a recycled CD. Then around the corner we’ve got all of our craft projects laid out on a table where you can actually touch the things that you’ve been seeing on our website and pick up patterns. Then around the next corner we have a fiber free for all called the needle felting playground. We’re letting people just create anything they want and learn to experience the alchemy of needle felting.
Then right next door to that, we’ve got one of our sponsor areas and there’s Xyron. Xyron has set up their sticker making machines, and people are turning everything from computer chips, to recycled cereal boxes, to fancy lace into stickers.
Zontee: Wow, that’s incredible.
Brooklynne: Yeah, it’s a lot.
Zontee: So, you just came off of a demo, and was it of your new book, Feltique?
Brooklyn: I did a giveaway for Feltique, but I actually was demoing how to make stationery. My current obsession right now is gluing lace to things ‑ to everything ‑ to my clothes and to my stationery. So, I did some gift boxes to pretty them up for cheap.
Zontee: That’s very fun. That’s such a great idea. How are the crowds this year compared to past Maker Faires?
Brooklynne: There are a lot more people here than past years, but I think that as we grow we learn ways of keeping everyone creative and inspired without getting mobbed. It’s just like everyone’s so patient and so kind, and everyone wants to do the projects. People are really gracious about taking turns. Despite the fact that I think we’ve got even more people than last year, it’s just a really good scene.
Zontee: That’s great. Well, one of the things that’s always fun about the craft area is that you have this lounge set up with your own furniture. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Brooklynne: Yeah. I have an eight‑foot green velvet couch with buttons all set into it and a matching arm chair and a footstool. I bring them every year to the Maker Faire, because it is a major scene. There’s so much going on and you have to be on. I need a spot to relax. So, I can work on my own sofa, and there’s an Asian rug out, and it sets up this space where people can really feel comfortable. This is where we craft at home anyway. Everyone is on their sofa, so my sofa is a traveling couch.
Liz: Will you bring it all the way out to New York for the September Maker Faire?
Brooklynne: I think it’s going to Detroit and New York.
Liz & Zontee: Wow.
Brooklynne: I know, I know. My parents bought it 25 years ago, and she’s going to go out to pasture as part of the MAKE props this year. So, it will be in the shipping container, and everywhere that Maker Faire is, the couch will be there.
Zontee: That’s fantastic. Well, we can’t wait for those two events.
Brooklynne: I am so excited about being in Lion Brand hometown in New York.
Liz: Can’t wait to see you there. Is there anywhere online where people could find out more about you and your Feltique book?
Brooklyn: Yeah, my book has a website, which is www.feltique.com and I am writing every week: I do a new project on Craftzine.com.
Zontee: That’s great. So, thank you again so much for talking to us today.
Brooklyn: Oh, you’re welcome. I’m glad to see you again. [music]
Liz: Summer time is upon us here in the New York City area in full 90 degree force, and that means summer vacations. So, on today’s “Stash This” we are going to talk about some tips for traveling with your yarn crafting. This is something that we’ve talked about before, but we’re going to reiterate the basics, and then give you some souped up suggestions so you can be a super traveling yarn-crafter.
Liz: An idea I really like is to try and make yourself a complete kit for every project or type of project you want to take with you. That’s really going to vary depending on how long your trip is, how you’re traveling, and what you think you might want to work on while you’re there.
Zontee: I agree, and I like the idea of any individual project having its own case, or carrying bag, or project bag, because I think that what that allows you to do is feel less like you have to search for things and everything is all in one place. So, what I would suggest is that you have your yarn in there, your needles or hooks that go with that pattern, and the pattern itself–preferably laminated.
Liz: Or in a plastic protector sheet.
Zontee: Yeah, exactly. Put it in some kind of protective sheet so that it stays clean. Here’s a bonus tip for you, which is to have a second copy of that pattern if you are the kind of person who misplaces things, and keep it in a separate location so that in case you lose the first one, you’ve got the backup one, so you can keep going.
Liz: I do this all the time, because I have left a pattern book–not just a pattern–the entire book in the backseat pocket of the airplane seat, you know the pocket wear in the seat in front of you–yeah. That’s was on the way to the trip, not on the way home. It was very sad.
Zontee: That is really sad.
Liz: So, ever since then, I’ve never taken a book with me. I always make a photocopy…you’re allowed to make a photocopy for your own personal use, just for you. So, I make one to keep with the project and a second copy to keep in a separate piece of luggage.
Zontee: Yeah, and it’s interesting, because that has always been a tip of identification. They always say that you should have an extra copy of your ID photocopied and put somewhere in a bag. I’ve done that for years, but I never really thought about the pattern thing until really recently, but it really makes sense because stuff does get lost.
Liz: Bonus, bonus tip, take a photocopy of the back of any credit cards that you’re bringing with you on your trip, because if you lose them, you need to call that customer service number to have them canceled. If you don’t have a card, you don’t have that number.
Zontee: That’s clever. That’s a good idea.
Liz: I learned that tip from David, our CEO’s wife, Barbara. She is a savvy traveler.
Zontee: Yeah, she is a great traveler.
Liz: I think the first step when you’re getting ready for your trip is to take a minute and think about what projects you’re going to work on in the different phases of your trip. Generally, most of the travel I do is for work, so my projects break out into one small but interesting project for the plane. Usually something sock related. One larger project for the hotel room, maybe a sweater or shawl in progress. Then one really, really, really simple project that I can do when I’m exhausted and requires no thought whatsoever. That’s usually like a scarf.
Zontee: Yeah, I think that makes sense. I think that in some phases of your trip you’ll want a challenge and some you won’t. I like to have a really mindless project for when I travel for business. I’m often going to the consumer shows all over the country and meeting you lovely people. When I’m there, I like to knit or crochet in the booth, but it can’t be something really complex, because I also need to talk to people, show people things, point stuff out to other people. So, I try to bring along something with a really simple stitch pattern that’s repetitive that I can whiz through without staring too hard.
Liz: Think about what you’ll be doing on your vacation. If you’re going to be traveling in the car and you’ll be the front‑seat passenger, you may want to consider taking a crochet project, because there are sometimes concerns with needles and air bags. If you’re going to be on a plane, you’ll definitely want to take a crochet project or something on short needles or circular needles so you’re not elbowing your seat mates. You also want to check the airline regulations about needles if you’re doing any sort of international travel.
Zontee: That’s right. Within the U.S., if you look at TSA regulations, you’ll see that knitting needles are perfectly acceptable, but because each country’s regulations are different depending on where you’re traveling to, you’ll want to double check their regulations. I know that people have experienced some difficulties traveling to European countries like Italy, France, and England.
Liz: And Germany.
Zontee: Oh, and Germany.
Liz: The Germans have lots of my needles.
Zontee: Oh, well that’s a shame.
Zontee: Tell them to send them back to you.
Zontee: I have heard a good tip that if you are worried about your needles getting confiscated, to have your project on waste yarn first, and have the needles separate. If they do say that you can’t bring them onto the airplane because you’re traveling internationally, to have a self‑addressed, stamped envelope with you. So that you can just pop your needles into that envelope and post it right from the airport. That way they go back to your house and you don’t have to feel like they just confiscated your favorite needles.
Liz: Another tip is–definitely have your padded, self‑addressed and stamped envelope–but I’ve heard that if you have needles and you can kind of put them in a pen pouch with all your other pens and pencils, all your other things that are long and thin and maybe have a little metal in them, they tend not to raise the same flags they do if they’re sticking out in all directions in a bag. Something worth checking out.
Zontee: [laughter] That’s a good tip.
Liz: And related to this, I always make sure that for whatever when I’m bringing in my carry-on, I have a backup pair of that size and type of needle in my checked luggage. So if they do get confiscated, once I get to my destination I can still pick the project back up.
Zontee: That’s also a good tip.
Liz: And I think that is all a good reason to maybe consider bringing a crochet project as your carry along. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a crochet hook being confiscated.
Zontee: I’ve not had problems either way. Of course try to pick a project that it’s not so bulky that you have to shove it in to your bag uncomfortably, or that it takes so much room in your checked luggage that you can’t bring home souvenirs. Try to pick things, maybe on finer yearn or something that folds up nice and neat.
Liz: Yes. And that’s the classic projects: hats, socks, wrist warmers, cowls, small things. And then think about where you’re going to end up. If you’re going to the beach, you may not want to bring a sweater. But it’s a great time to work on some washcloths, market bags, produce a lot of things that can go into your gift box for later in the year.
Zontee: That’s a good idea.
Liz: But if you’re going to that rustic Canadian cabin on a brisk lake that I think we’re all envisioning right now, what a great time to work on beautiful sweater.
Zontee: So earlier we talked about having your yarn, your hooks and needles and your patterns in its own project bag for each project. The other essential tools that I think you’ll really want to have with you in case you finish your project or you need to do any repairs or anything like that are a darning needle, or tapestry needle, however you want to call it, scissors or a yarn cutter…some people prefer the yarn cutters because they can wear them as a pendant on the airplane and then they won’t be confiscated.
Liz: I’ve heard that sometimes they still can be confiscated, though, they’re definitely not airline safe. So don’t count on that for sure.
Zontee: A measuring tape is always a good thing to have with you, because lots of patterns tell you “knit or crochet until you have this many inches.” If you don’t have a tape you won’t know you have gotten to that many inches will you? And for knitters, I would suggest bringing a crochet hook for any dropped stitches or any repairs that you need to do. I think that that’s really important.
Liz: I think it’s also helpful to read ahead in your pattern, and double‑check that at no point do you need to use a different size hook or needle, for an edging or for a ribbing. Check and see if you’re going to need a certain type of stitch marker or a quantity of waste yarn or a cable needle. Any of those little extras that make crafting so much more convenient.
Zontee: I definitely always carry stitch markers in my central tools because I find that, for instance, with a crochet project I use one of the ones that opens to hold my place. So that I can take the crochet hook out, so that it’s not just dangling off of my project. I don’t have to worry about my stitches unraveling.
Liz: So I recommend putting everything that relates to a certain project into its own bag, and that includes if you know you’re going to need a cable needle or a certain type of stitch marker, such as for a crochet project versus a more general open‑ring stitch marker. But all those really general things, like scissors and tape measure and a needle hook gauge, those sorts of general things, I recommend having in one individual pouch. Because there’s no need to bring duplicates.
Zontee: Yes, exactly. Those could go in a pencil pouch lot or whatever.
Liz: And I like to get a little creative with what I consider my essentials. In addition to the basic stitch markers, tape measure, crochet hook, I also like to throw in Band‑Aids, in case I get any small cuts, paper cuts, on my fingers, I don’t want that to stop my crafting.
Zontee: Good tip.
Liz: Hand lotion, pen and pencil, to make notes on my pattern, little Post‑it notes, again, notes on the pattern, or mark a place on the pattern and lip balm. Because I have learned that I get really distracted from my crafting if I have chapped lips and I don’t know why but it works for me. I need the Chapstick.
Zontee: It’s good to know what you need to male your crafting comfortable.
Zontee: And I’ll tell you that I learned the hard way that if you don’t read ahead, you’re not necessarily going to have all the tools with you and then you’re going to feel frustrated. Because one time I had to use a plastic spoon as my cable needle. And you know, just use the handle part of it to hold my stitches? It actually worked out OK. But it was really odd because people would walk by and be like, “Why is there a spoon in your scarf?”
Liz: Oh, a Nintendo DS stylus makes an excellent replacement for a cable needle on finer gauge yarns if that need should happen. Not that I have had to steal a grown man’s, not a child’s, a grown man’s DS stylus to find this out. [laughter] Another fun tip is that I find that vacations and travel is a great time to teach people knitting and crochet. You’re crafting in public more often than in your daily life and you’re around other people who have the leisure time to say “Oh hey, that looks like fun. I’d really like to try that.”
But you’ve made these organized project kits for yourself hat are all very tailored to things you’d like to make. Maybe you don’t want to totally break one of those up to get out some yarn and needles to teach someone. Why not bring along an extra ball or two of yarn from your stash and an inexpensive pair of needles or hooks so if someone does express interest, you can teach them to get them started and let them keep the yarn and the hook to keep practicing?
Zontee: That’s a great idea. Finally, now that we’ve talked about how you can make your yarn crafting experience neater and more efficient for travel, let’s talk a little bit about how you can do the same thing for your children. I think that having an all‑in‑one craft project for your child to make on vacation, can be a good distraction on the airplane when they’re feeling bored. Or if they’re not sleepy and you are and you’d like them to do something else. Or honestly even if you’re just going to the family cabin or beach house and you want them to have something else to do other than be outside. For those occasional rainy days, it’s good to have a craft project prepared.
And like I said, my tip of that is with kids it’s best to have an all‑in‑one project where again, all of your tools are packed, or for smaller kids, you’ve pre‑cut everything and all you really need to save is the glue or the components or very few things to bring with you.
Liz: Absolutely, and this again is where reading through the pattern thoroughly is going to save you frustration down the road. And look for small, travel‑friendly things, look short, baby scissors, maybe a glue stick rather than loose bottled glue.
Zontee: That’s a really good tip. I also think that if you’re doing yarn projects where you’re using multiple colors, instead of bringing the entire ball, reel some off onto its own bobbin so that you’ve got just small balls. Or you can use anything else to put it on and make your own little balls and pack those instead of bringing entire large, 100 gram balls of yarn with you. That’s just not necessary.
Liz: Exactly. And it is fun for kids to have lots of colors to choose from. And so they’ll appreciate that you’ve made that effort for them I am sure.
Zontee: Definitely. And if you’re packing for multiple kids, the other thing I think is good is to actually make the packaging itself fun. Turn it into a project where they recycle a coffee can and decorate the outside and then the inside is all of their craft tools and all of their craft essentials, so that when they bring it with them, it’s Billy’s craft kit and he feels good about it because it’s his special thing.
Liz: As long as you have the basics, yarn, safety scissors, glue, you can use items that you find at your location to craft on. When we were at the Maker Faire we were using paper plates, paper cups, Styrofoam balls and kids were making unbelievably creative craft projects with them. So really you only need the very basic requirements to have a whole lot of fun.
Liz: And one last thing I would suggest is maybe some hand‑wipes in the craft kit for the gluing.
Zontee: Finally, if you are taking a really last‑minute trip and you still want to have craft project with your kid but you’re not able to have the time to assemble all of these different components yourself definitely check out our Amigurumi kits. They’re called the Amigurumi Friends. They are all‑in‑one stitch-and-stuff kits that make small stuffed animals, stuffed animal shaped purses for your kids, or even pillows that the can take to bed with them. And they’re really cute and they’re in fun colors and they’re available in select craft stores and chains around the country as well as on our website. Again they’re called Amigurumi Friends.
Liz: We hope you guys are all excited about all the potential that summer crafting entails, and we’d love to hear all about your yarn crafting adventures. Please give us a call or leave us a comment on our blog. [music]
Zontee: We want to thank all of you for joining us today, and we want to thank those who spoke with us at Maker Faire. Please be sure to visit the blog for our episode guide and links to the various websites. And of course we want to thank those who have shared tips, questions, and comments on our blog by emailing us, or on our Ravelry group.
Liz: Join us again in two weeks when we share ideas and tips about starting your own yarn crafting group in your area, or just promoting the one that you belong to so that you can get more members. Just like we asked in last episode, we want to know, do you belong to a yarn crafting group of some sort? Tell us about your experiences, what you’ve learned, made together, and even why you enjoy yarn crafting with others. Leave a comment on our website, YarnCraft.LionBrand.com on Ravelry, or by voicemail it 774‑ 452‑YARN, that’s 774‑452‑9276.
And as usual, our music was “Boy with the Coin” by Iron & Wine from the Podsafe Music Network.
For more information about the patterns, links, and products discussed on this episode, please see the episode guide.