This is just a quickie.  I’m changing planes in Vancouver, with one more flight to go before I arrive in Seattle, meet up with Debbi (and a surprise) and then we’re off to Port Ludlow for the Lace Retreat that starts tomorrow night. I’m a little nervous, but mostly very excited. Planning these is no small amount of work, and I’m so looking forward to watching it all come together.  (This assumes that it is going to come together, but I think it would take something nobody could plan for to derail us at this point. I’ve got contingency plans for my contingency plans. It would have to be something like a herd of bison stampeding through the classrooms, although honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Debbi had an electric stock prod in her trunk – just in case.)   I’ve planned this thing to pieces, I think Debbi’s worried just as much, and last night I packed and got ready in general – and then lay down in bed and realized, just as I was dropping off, that I hadn’t planned my knitting.

I suppose that if something had to fall off the scale, the knitting is a good one, since I’ve got lots of knitting stuff to sort it out with, so I reached over, set my alarm 15 minutes earlier, and resolved to get it together in the morning while I drank coffee.  

In the morning, I realized that I should be referring to that moment as "mistake number one" because a) I cannot make a single decision in the morning before I’ve had a cup of coffee, and b) 5am is not morning, it’s still night, and c) I’ve never made a decision about what I’d like to knit in 15 minutes or less. Never, and that’s even when fully caffeinated and the sun is up.  I ended up largely panicking, throwing kits and needles and yarn into my suitcase, operating on the premise that if I took a lot, I’d at least have choices I could make at Port Ludlow.  (We will see later if the needles go with the yarn or if it was all way, way too random.)  Better too much than too little, I thought.

I stuffed it all in the suitcase, then added a skein of sock yarn as insurance (never mind that we’re having that awesome Community Market at the Resort Saturday and that there will be yarn there) and then tossed my current project into a bag, and tossed it in my carry-on – noticed that I was almost out of yarn, tossed in another ball and jumped in a cab.

Just now, I took out my pattern, patted myself on the back for remembering to bring it, and promptly realized as I read my next steps, that I have brought the wrong yarn, and this project is now luggage.  When this ball is finished, I’ll have to stop.
Stop, and think about how next time, it would be a great idea to plan this sooner.  In the meantime, I’m knitting slowly until I get my luggage back.

63 thoughts on “Briefly

  1. Um. Part of my brain is going, “It’s a knitting retreat. How can there possibly be a yarn shortage there?”
    Another part says, “Didn’t this sort of thing happen once already this year?”
    and most of me says, “Yup. the knitting is the most important part to pack. How could she have missed it?”
    Rhinebeck Sweater?

  2. Everytime you whisk through Seattle, I think, “Hmmm, if Stephanie acually knew me and knew I lived here, she would definitely want to hang out.” Wish I could be at the retreat.

  3. You don’t have much yarn, and you’re going to a knitting retreat with a yarn market. Sounds like you picked the right emergency at the right time. I vote for something for your Christmas list. Hope the retreat is fantastic.

  4. There’s fibre on them there bison.
    Stephanie – I can’t help it I have to revive a post from 2009 that I JUST discovered when I googled “carding on a drumcarder” and the first thing that came up was your post on putting fibre in the carder SIDEWAYS.
    This is still a secret! I know how to card – I was just killing time – or so I thought. Can’t wait to try it tonight. !!!! Thank you.
    Hope Port Ludlow goes well. I’m about 250km north and wish I could be there!

  5. Really, Stephanie, you of all people should know that thinking you’ll do something (anything) in 15 minutes when you wake up in the morning is a plan doomed to fail. Seriously, would recommend this to one of your girls? You could always try a bit of frogging and re-knitting if you get desperate on the plane. Or plan a new project (your own design). I’d go for the latter. Designing is often (in my opinion) more fun than the actual knitting.

  6. Your pain is my reminder that when I travel next week I need a project that is portable, not a gift for my travel companions, simple enough so I can talk to non-knitters while knitting, and not at the point where I need to do tricky things.
    Thank you. Enjoy the retreat 🙂

  7. The predicament that you are in right now, Mz Stephanie? Confirms to me, one more time, why my knitting is planned (if not also packed) right after I make travel plans. I have been there too many times and consequently I sometimes ‘over pack’ my knitting, but I would so much rather have unused supplies than not enough… sigh. Such is the life of a professional trained knitter… xo Have a good retreat!!

  8. You are so on target with your blogs. And you are open to the world with your blog while some of us are more meek about these things that we all do from time to time. And meek is not the right descriptive word when we get on the plane or get to our destination when we discover we have no yarn, not enough yarn, the wrong needles, etc. despite yarn shops in the area. I am my worst enemy in times like that. And I always buy souvenirs wherever I am at.
    And I got my newsletter from DFW Fiber Fest. So exciting that you will be there in the Spring. YAY!

  9. I never pack my clothing or toiletries until my knitting bag is packed. Then after I throw some clothes into a suitcase I re-evaluate what I have put in the knitting bag.
    Can you please let me know when you will be on the East Coast of the US this year? I’m hoping to come see you somewhere. Thanks!

  10. If one starts with packing the knitting, the rest of it might never be done. For me, if in doubt toss in several skeins of sock yarn, oodles of needles, and enough wool to knit a (or several) scarves that don’t need a pattern. Enjoy the retreat!!

  11. I do know this panic. I know it is crazy to actually stress about this when the worse case scenario is I have to buy a magazine but still…I like the fingers to be moving and keeping me occupied.
    With all the travel you do, you should probably keep a project just for the travel bag. The “break glass in case of emergency” project. A dishcloth or something.
    Which, in the meantime, helps you not at all. I’m sorry!

  12. Ah how I wish I was there with you (the retreat part, not the “I don’t have the right yarn in my carry on” part).
    Have lots and lots of fun, because, you know what, that’s how you do it.

  13. Well if the needles are all wrong, that’s a perfect excuse for a trip to Churchmouse, which depending on your route, is on the way from Seattle to Port Ludlow.

  14. Ever since I got stuck ON THE PLANE for an extra 6 hours before takeoff for a flight from NYC to Sacramento, I always take LOTS of knitting, at least two projects, just in case.
    It would be so wonderful if you could share your 2014 calendar with us – hate to miss any opportunity to learn from/enjoy the company of our Yarn Harlot!

  15. Perhaps someday we can figure out WHY travel knitting is so much more complicated than when we are just at home selecting a project????

  16. Just always have a couple of bags ready – wool, pattern,needles.
    then you always have something to grab and go.

  17. What happened to the project bags always ready? Remember the year of the socks for each month? you could always retreat to that (inadvertant pun).

  18. Oh good it’s not just me. I am dither central when it comes to deciding what the next project is. I read your alarm resetting and the plan and thought, you can DO that?!
    Have a wonderful, wonderful time!

  19. You know, you might consider having a “travel project” that you only work on when you’re going somewhere and that you keep in a bag just for that purpose. Imagine the fun you could have planning that bag; the abbreviated tool bag you’d put in it; the set of needles that stay with that project all the time; be sure to include one set of sock needles, too. Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote that a Pi Shawl is perfect travel knitting…

  20. The ideal place for keeping a travel project would be in your carry-on bag. Just leave it in there when you unpack, just as you might your toiletries kit or a travel hair dryer. Top it up with more yarn or a new project when needed. With all the traveling you do, it might even be a good way to keep churning out gift socks, hats, & scarves all year long for that year-end holiday we’re not naming just yet.
    PS: If you haven’t found the missing yarn for Joe’s socks, it might be under/behind some big piece of furniture, along with the dust buffaloes and missing cat toys.

  21. I am flying on Monday for NYC and I’ve been mentally packing and re-packing my knitting. I think I’d better start making knit-piles… Also, I dream of yarn shops in an airport. What a comforting place to be.

  22. I travel way less than you do, but when I do I spend way more time organizing my travel knitting bag

  23. Yarn shops in airports might be difficult, not to mention expensive, to maintain. Does anyone own a vending machine? Stock it with a variety of knitting kits, including the needles, along with some prewound sock yarns and a few dpn sets.
    Or, Stephanie, get your own books marketed with yarn and needles accompanying them in a gift box set, and con the airport bookstores into selling them. Think of it. Looks like a win-win. Think your publisher would go for it?

  24. Thank you for this post. I read it while the house was still quiet this morning, hoping something would inspire me to “get it together,” since I’ve had a very forgetful week (causing me to worry a bit). This post brought me such relief. I guess when busy women take care of everyone, we get to forget sometimes without rushing out to get a PET scan.

  25. Thank you Emily….I’m not the only one who has noticed the mysteriously missing Rhinebeck sweater. Is this like the gainsey? (Still hoping Rams or Presbytera will explain this one).

  26. The obvious question is when do you have to time to plan sooner? Sounds like every second of every minute of every day is already committed.

  27. There is an art to being prepared. And and art to telling stories. Thanks for sharing. Does Ken know about Akismet? I’m ignorant, but my husband tells me that it’s the way to deal with the spammers. It sorts all their messages into the spam folder so that you don’t have to. Just in case that’s of help to you…Happy lacing!

  28. Careful planning works for me in almost everything except packing my knitting. It gets crazy every time. Remember, the older you get the worse it gets. Notes are helpful if you remember where you put them!!
    Have a wonderful retreat.

  29. Sitting at SFO between flights on my way to the retreat as I read this, and realized OMG I only have 2 projects in my carryon and I forgot to bring an extra ball of sock yarn just in case! Can’t wait to get there and meet everybody.

  30. This is the story of every one of your trips :-). But at least nothing tragically wrong this time, like leaving it all in the taxi. May I make a couple of tedious suggestions? I really like the queue feature in ravelry, as it saves me from those undecided what-next moments. You don’t have to stick to it mind you, just know you have some projects planned right there, ready to go, with the link to the proper yarn (which you have already checked you have enough of) and possibly the recommended needle size. I only do that next project maybe one in three times, but it’s really good knowing I can always fall back on that list, of things I do honestly want to do.
    And also if you have a KnitPro set of interchangeable needles, not only do you never need any other needles ever again but the pouch fits really neatly into luggage.
    Then all you need to do in the middle of the night is print the pattern, pull out the yarn, toss in the needles, you’re done. One project your know will work, and room in the luggage for the yarn you will inevitably buy on site :-). If you want to be really prepared, you can have a couple ziplocks that already contain the yarn with pre-printed pattern, not too many because that’s discouraging, just a couple for the next time you have to be up before any sentient being should ever have to.

  31. If you didn’t go skidding out the door, slip showing, hair half combed, and minus a few essentials then we would all feel so horribly inadequate compared to you. Keeps us reassured that you are just human (although your knitting speed is something from another planet entirely).
    I ran perilously close to running out of knitting on a long trip once. It actually was kind of nice because I was forced to slow down and make my knitting last. I enjoyed every stitch instead of racing along at breakneck speed, trying to get it finished, like I usually do. Slow down and smell the knitting….>:-)

  32. After all these years of reading your lovely blog, I don’t know why I’m surprised THE KNITTER always seems to have forgotten the most important detail when traveling…her knitting. Probably just as surprised as you.
    May I share two decisions that have saved my sanity in similar situations. ..
    1- a set of interchangeable needles for travel only..then you will always have the right size. (and this works because you like it when everything has its own home so you will be putting the needles and cables back for the next trip)
    2-ziploc gallon size bags with yarn and patterns for those projects you have in mind for the next celebratory event. I mark mine with a needed by date with a grace period because life always gets in the way. I have the bags stacked in order of need by date and how long its going to take me to get to that date (no big decisions on the way out the door and no sobbing on the way to, on the or after the plane ride)
    And yes, it would be rude not to at least stop by and say hello to the yarn at each stop in your travels…or to allow it to hitchhike home with you.

  33. You are coming to North Carolina! I just found out and I have a ticket! This calls for beer!

  34. I’m curious to know – is the ‘self imposed sock club’ still up and running? I loved reading your regular posts as you worked your way through a year or two of sock knitting. And I know you knit up more socks that ‘just’ club socks. Anyway, if the club were still up and going, in a pinch for travel knitting you could reach into the storage bin, pull out several bundles, toss one or two in carry on and pack the rest. Then, you could relax and have a good knit knowing that travel knitting is in hand and that you have one worry less to manage when traveling. And it goes without saying this strategy would keep the club knitting moving along as the year progresses. Or, maybe the same planning for sock club could be used to plan projects for travel; then you could grab-n-go knowing a bundle contains everything needed for a good travel knit.

  35. Lol, as many projects as we’ve seen you whip out in a blog week, I have a feeling your ‘knit slowly’ is probably still at a speed of whirr none of us could ever hope to pace. I think your needles probably make whooshing sounds as the stitches fly by. Sorta like hummingbird wings – can you see them moving – barely beyond the blur, if ya squint. 🙂
    Ugh, yarn dilemma! I think someone needs to write an Irish blessing for knitters, similar to ‘may the wind always be at your back’… May you always have yarn in your purse or something (I was thinking balls in your bag, but that would be a limerick).
    Good luck with everything Steph! Sounds like it’s gonna be an awesome time.

  36. judy m–i write notes to myself and other family members in soap on the bathroom mirror. this works well as long as we all brush our teeth before we take showers.

  37. Hey Steph, speaking of knitting speed, have you seen Stephen West knit? Total blur. I saw the Craftsy trailer for his ShawlScape class, and (dang!) his knitting speed… don’t blink.
    Speaking of Craftsy classes, I think they need to sign you up!! Maybe do a few of the patterns in your books, and show us how to knit efficiently. I would sign up in a heartbeat. With all this holiday knitting I feel the need for speed!
    There was a speed knitting, or cottage knitting, class offered at the Lambtown Festival in October but I couldn’t make it. 🙁
    I think the people at Lace Retreat are very, very lucky.

  38. Maybe the posts where you mentioned that you did finish the Rhinebeck sweater got lost in the innnurnet. Or, since you mentioned in your blog that it was virtually without trauma – done on time, enough of the lovely yarn, well-fitting, etc. – meant that it didn’t register on some readers that it was OTN. We saw pieces of it being seamed but I only saw it in the alltogether at Rhinebeck. You wore it on Saturday. You looked smashing. I tried to kinnear you but the resulting image was so blurry and wavy I almost felt seasick.
    Now, as for the gansey… still in time-out is my guess. I had a scarf that was in time-out for almost 4 years. I forced myself to finish it just so I could permanently get it out of my house!

  39. Maybe you could make up a few project bags to put in the stash area for just such an occasion? You know, yarn, pattern, maybe needles if they’re not being used elsewhere? Then you could just grab and go.

  40. I just went on a trip for 4 days… and stayed for 10. I brought yarn for a picture patterned hat (stranded) knit in the round.. on size 10 needles. Let’s just say it was an “art project” 😉 I *might* pull it out and re-knit on smaller needles… it might felt down… but right now it looks smashing on a pumpkin…

  41. …as I read my next steps…has more than once tripped me up as I sat on a plane and realized I should have read that before checking my luggage. Go tour the Theo Chocolate factory while you are in Seattle–chocolate every where for the tasting!

  42. Dear Steph,
    1. I can’t believe that I missed the lace retreat. I read this today and am debating should I drive down the road just to be there in time for the farewell dinner.
    2. I can’t believe you didn’t tell the young jackhammer guy (breaking up the precious sidewalk concrete in front of your house) to hammer off the pieces your girls had improved, and incorporate those pieces of concrete into your yard or garden somehow. I have architectural salvage concrete from the historic Seattle theatre when it was torn down (but I bought it at auction).
    3. I am still thinking I want to drive to Port Ludlow….

  43. I love intarsia and am also learning Irish Cottage knitting. I’m glad to see they can go together. I love this scarf and can’t wait to see the pattern!

  44. What happened to the sock of the month thing? Those were perfect emergency grab-on-the-go projects.
    Since you travel a bit (like it gets a bit cold in a Canada winter) maybe you should have a couple ICE (in case of emergency) projects bagged and ready to go at all times.
    You never said how furnace wars went this year.

  45. Not trying to sound or act like a stalker…but i miss you steph i check the site hoping to see a new post but alas no. miss you hope you’re having a great time lacing it up in port ludlow

  46. I miss you too! Just signed up for a class with you at the DFW FiberFest in March. So very, very excited!

  47. dear Yarnharlot, its been a full week since we’ve had a blog post from you, some of us are suffering greatly from the lack of blogginess! Hope all is well, missing you in Maine!

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