Top Tips for Crafty Travelers

Beautiful Yosemite National Park in the setting sun

Hello Lovely Crafters!

For those of you who follow our social media, and for those of you who know Mr Crafts and myself, you will have seen that we have been away enjoying ourselves on holiday! We had a brilliant time and I will be filling you in on all the news from our adventures across the pond very soon.

This is the second time I have taken my crafting away with me and I wanted to share with you all my advice for not getting all your lovely stash taken off you by the wonderful boys and girls of airport security.

Mr Crafts and I travelled light this time, hand luggage only for 10 days in the USA. That meant space in my bag was at a premium.  I had to maximise the space I had and make sure my project was small.

My first tip for crafting on holiday is this: check with your airline to see what the maximum size bag you can take as hand luggage would be and see if they allow you an additional personal item such a as a handbag or laptop bag.

We flew with American Airlines on the flight out, and British Airways on the way home.  Both airlines allow a piece of cabin baggage and a personal item. I packed my small wheelie suitcase with all my clothes etc. for the holiday (using this as my cabin baggage) and then found a large handbag to use as my personal item. In this I put all of the things I wanted easy access to on the flight, including my craft project. This went under the seat in front of me.

My second tip for crafting on holiday:  choose a small project that you can easily pick up and put down.

Most of you will know I am a fan of more than one type of craft. Jewellery making, scrap booking, card making, knitting, crochet are just a few of the things I like to turn my hand to.

My personal item, paper bag of scrap booking supplies, crochet kit and bag of postcards

Beads on a plane?  Absolutely no way. Scrap booking and card making? I make A LOT of mess, I like to use scissors and a craft knife when paper crafting, and using 12 inch papers on a small tray table in economy just doesn’t seem like it would be practical to me (although I do have some tips for travelling scrap bookers coming up later on!). Crochet is a great choice for travel crafters. You don’t need a lot of equipment or space to do it and you can take small projects.

Shawl in a ball from Lion brand is a lovely project to take on holiday, there are a lot of free patterns available on Lion Brand’s website and on Ravelry. I would suggest re-winding your shawl in a ball prior to your flight, otherwise you will end up spending the entire flight unpicking a huge knot (see my review here).

Having done a Shawl in a Ball project on my last holiday I decided to go for something a little different. I have so many projects on the go with my crochet hat on right now and I would love to have taken some of them with me to finish, but with space being limited I couldn’t justify taking my dune colour pack or any of the Christmas jumpers with me.

I had two balls of sock yarn in my stash (having bought it *cough* years ago) and a longing to make a pair of socks for some time. However with all the Christmas crochet I have on my plate I wasn’t expecting to get any socks done this year. Socks seemed to be the perfect choice for my travel project (provided I can be disciplined enough to put them to one side and finish the Christmas presents when I get home!).  I have never made a pair of socks before so I went for an easy pattern.

I am making the V socks for me socks pattern by Kimberly Lewis, which you will find for free on Ravelry (click here).

Once you have decided on a project it’s time to gather supplies, which can throw up some problems, particularly in the areas concerning taking sharp things on planes.

This brings us neatly to tip number three: how to not get your lovely crafty goodies confiscated by airport security

The first thing to tell you here is that all airlines have different rules as to what you can bring on the plane. There are government guidelines but each airline can add their own additional rules depending on how they see fit. You will find some advice from the UK government concerning hand luggage restrictions here.

Based on the government advice knitting needles, sewing needles and scissors with a round end or with blades less than 6 cm long can all be taken on board an aircraft in your cabin baggage. However an airline can refuse to allow these items on board if they feel that they make represent a risk to safety.

There is no advice regarding crochet hooks on the government website. This can be for one of two reasons. One, they don’t think crochet hooks are dangerous. Two, the UK government clearly are not forward thinking enough to recognise the amazingly cool pastime that is crochet.

With all these things in mind I have come up with what is (hopefully) the most inoffensive crochet kit to ever take to the skies. (Please remember, it is up to each individual airline what they allow on board their aircraft. If in doubt, please check with the airline!)

Crochet hooks: please don’t take your most prized and expensive hooks with you. If airport security decide to take it off you, you won’t get it back! Similarly, if you leave it on a beach in Hawaii it will be gone forever! A set of bamboo hooks is a great investment. You can buy a set fairly cheaply on Amazon, and if you lose one you won’t be too heartbroken.

Darning needles: if the mood takes you, you may wish to sew in some ends. You will need a darning needle. Plastic needles are readily available and are much less likely to be confiscated than metal ones.

Scissors: although technically allowed provided the points are rounded or the blades are less than 6 cm long, your scissors may get confiscated. I know how protective we crafters are of our scissors, so to avoid an ugly scene at airport security I would suggest leaving the scissors at home. Take a small pair of nail clippers with you instead, they will be just as effective as a pair of scissors and you won’t be worried about losing them.

Remember to print out any patterns you want to use in advance as you won’t be able to download any digital patterns on board the aircraft. Check you have all the things you need to complete the project, for example a tape measure or stitch markers (use plastic or a spare piece of yarn to be safe) and keep all of the items together.

And just like that, we’re at tip number four: keeping your travel crafts safe

My innoffensive crochet kit

I chose to keep all of my travel kit in a small(ish), clear, zip lock bag. It helps me to keep all the things in one place and if the airport security staff want to take a closer look I can just pull out the bag and they can see inside. My zip lock bag was also large enough to fit one ball of sock yarn in with all the other things. This meant that on the plane I could keep my ball of yarn in the bag, seal the bag so that only a small hole is left in the top for the yarn to come out of and work on my socks without dropping the ball of yarn on the floor. Imagine a less pretty version of a yarn bowl, but it’s a plastic bag.

That is all the wisdom I have for you regarding crafting on the plane. However I did promise some tips for the jet setting scrap bookers

Now I am not going to suggest scrap booking on the plane, it just isn’t going to work! When I scrap book I literally get out all of my paper crafting stash, and believe me, it’s a big stash.

If you just can’t bear to be away from scrap booking while you are on holiday, I have a few suggestions for you.

Journaling is a great way to record your memories while you travel. Take a small notebook with you and record what you are doing each day. You can use a tape pen to stick in tickets or other papers you pick up along your travels, like flyers or tourist maps. If you want to push the boat out and make your journal a little more personal you could invest in an instant camera, like the instax mini to take picture of yourself/family/friends to be included in your journal. 

Instax photos are a great addition to a travel journal, along with tickets and other mementos

If you want to make a scrap book of your adventures when you get home, you can start the preparations on you holiday. When I travel I like to collect a few postcards from each place. I keep all the cards together in a paper bag and I keep another paper bag for all the tickets, flyers and maps etc. and I add new scraps each day to my paper bags. That way I know I will have loads of great materials for my scrap book when I get home!

If you are like me you might want to get out all of your scraps and postcards in your hotel room at night and organise them into date order or organise them by theme and that way you can start planning your scrap book while you are traveling!

I hope you enjoyed all of my travel tips for crafters! I will be writing a new blogpost all about my holiday soon! I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Bon Voyage, Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!

George

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