Most experienced travelers
know that the best vacation moments are often
the connections made, not in busy airports,
but in the local communities. Despite my fond
memories of temples and busy Tokyo streets,
my favorite experience in Japan was a few
minutes chatting and posing for photographs
with a group of junior high schoolgirls.
Knitters have an especially
good opportunity to make these connections
through their love of craft. What better way
to personalize any travel, for work or pleasure,
with an hour or two spent on your favorite
A few weeks before
you leave, consider planning some fiber excursions
into your itinerary. What trip to Iceland
would be complete without visiting Lopi in
it's natural habitat? What is a vacation in
England without taking a chance to fondle
some Rowan? Some destinations are obvious,
but how does a savvy knitter know how to fulfill
her fiber dreams, no matter where she goes?
Go to www.google.com and run a search on "Knit"
+ location + "Yarn". For example, "Knit
Boise Yarn" brings up several results,
most of which are yarn company shop listings.
Alternatively, to find shops, visit a
directory site like www.woolworks.org. WoolWorks lists stores
and resources world wide.
Many knitters love to bring back yarn
souvenirs, and why not? If cost is an
issue, doing some advance planning can
help figure out which yarns may be cheaper
in your destination city, especially for
international travel. For example, Rowan
and Jaeger Yarns can be purchased in England
for 30% less than in the United States.
You'll have to pay VAT on all purchases,
but this is refundable for non-residents.
To figure out local prices, search for
yarn stores in the destination and compare
prices on lines of yarn. Also, look for
upcoming sales! While in London last winter,
I was able to attend Liberty's (http://www.liberty.co.uk/) Boxing Day
Sale, saving an additional 30-50% on heaps
Aside from bargain shopping, I like to
look for locally produced yarn where I
travel. It's especially fun to find small-production
companies that aren't well known outside
the region. In Alberta, I take trips up
Woolen Mills, about two hours from
Calgary. They have a good range of basic
wool and wool-blend yarn, at very reasonable
prices. In addition, it's fun to buy yarn
-- right off the sheep'.
a Store or Two!
have websites detailing hours and location.
For those that don't, consider calling
or faxing to prevent disappointment. Even
if you only find out which days the store
is open, it could save valuable vacation
time! Even better, store owners can be
very helpful in finding local treasures,
such as that fabulous Alpaca farm just
outside the city.
If the timing is right, maybe you'll be
able to visit a local fiber festival or
needlework show. Keep an eye on ads in
the knitting magazines, call the destination's
knitting guild, or read forums such as
Even if you don't have a knitting blog,
or don't know what it is, the Knitting
Blog Webring can be a great resource
for making a connection with a local knitter
in Canada or the US, or a few select cities
in Europe and Asia.
For a wider search, do a Google search
on "Knitting Blog" + location. (For example,
"Knitting Blog Chicago".) While I don't
suggest becoming a stalker, taking the
time to build a few internet friendships
can get you some tips on local stores
and attractions, or better, a shopping
If I know I'm going to be in the same
city multiple times, such as for business,
I'll try to find a local knitting circle.
Spending a few hours in the company of
knitters can make any strange city feel
I've met some of my closest friends through
the Knitting Blog ring. While we've never
met, or have only met once, I treasure
these friendships and enjoy sharing this
mutual love of yarn.
The United States Transportation Security
Administration recently amended the rules
on needlework accessories in flight. Specifically,
the Clover Thread Cutter (see my Spring
04 column) is now prohibited from your
My readers have recommended
using cat or human nail clippers and dental
floss cutters as a substitute for often-prohibited
scissors. Adele Cannell writes, "You should
always take the scissors out of your carry-on
bag and place them on top in the bin as you
go through the metal detector. I have
had more than one TSA agent thank me for saving
them the time to search my bag."
and needlework factsheet recommends using
bamboo or plastic circular needles, less than
31 inches in length, carrying a SASE, and
using only blunt-pointed scissors. Please
remember that the TSA is only responsible
for airport operations within the United States.
When flying through the rest of the world,
the rules will vary. For example, some of
my readers have reported problems with any
kind of needles while flying through the UK.
When in doubt, look online or call ahead.
more tips on in-flight knitting, see my Winter
What tips do you
have for the knitter on the go? Email me
with your tips and feedback.
she's not on the road as a Business Analyst, Amy Swenson
hangs her hat in Calgary, with her two cats, Cleo
her quest for the ultimate yarn bargain, cheap airfares
and Canadian permanent residency at Indigirl.
More information on her original knitting patterns
can be found at IndiKnits.
| © 2004 Amy Swenson.