In my opinion, Hobbies and Travel go hand in hand. Visiting different places around the world and meeting interesting people will inspire your creativity, fuel your desire to develop new skills or enhance your talents. Throughout the years I learned how to channel this creative energy and found out that I could easily enjoy many projects on the go.
I constantly acquire new hobbies, from sports to crafts, to collecting items, but most importantly, I enjoy sharing my new interests with the world through direct contact and social media. Hobbies are big in my family- we all share the passion for different crafts and we love to collaborate and exchange ideas.
Sites like Pinterest, Etsy, Youtube, Ravelry, Flicker and many other are great inspiration to all, but I find that Travel is the best way to indulge in my hobbies and experience first hand a lot new fun activities, which stay with me forever. Being a crew member on the ship, I always love Photography, knitting and even sewing (thanks to my portable sewing machine), I collect souvenirs and of course I indulge in various sports, like swimming, biking and golfing in exciting destinations.
Here are a few suggestions that may capture your interest and encourage you to try on your own when on a holiday….
KNITTING ON THE GO
I discovered knitting only 6 years ago, but I have come to realize that it is one of the easiest and most relaxing hobbies you can enjoy while traveling. I have completed many projects during overseas fights, sea days, long drives or a rainy day on a summer holiday.
Talking about long sea days, I was surprised how many kindred souls could be found on a cruise ship at any given time! On the Navigator of the Seas, we had so many volunteers, that we decided to put together a group of avid knitters, soon to be known as the “Nautical Knitters” club.This was the brain child of my Boss, the most dedicated knitter I know- Mr Alistair Burnett, our Hotel Director. We had ladies AND gentlemen from all walks of life, united by their passion for knitting. Some were enjoying other similar crafts- crochet and needle points and once we even had an artist, who was simply knotting together various pieces of yarn, creating fashion pieces. The skill level varied and some had no clue how to knit- which was perfectly fine, of course, as we were happy to teach them.
Below is Les, one of my best friends, who happened to be onboard during a transatlantic voyage and was a novice in knitting, but quite enthusiastic about it. He learned pretty quickly the stockinette stitch, only to forget it the next day… 🙂 He did manage to knit a bit of a scarf a few years back , but after dropping a stitch several times, he ended up undoing it almost entirely, but he did enjoy knitting from the luxury of his balcony room on the Navigator of the Seas and got a fabulous tan in the process! I am still hopeful he will get inspired to finish the scarf one of these days…
These Nautical Knitters sessions proved to be great fun and everyone enjoyed checking each others projects, knitting techniques, exchanged patterns and eventually e-mail addresses, as some remained friends for life.
Here is another student of mine and a good friend- Steve Newall, who also had a bumpy start, but managed to exceeded my greatest expectations, juggling several knitting projects at a time, learning new techniques every day! 🙂
I mean, check out these cute bunnies he crochet for his nieces at Easter-aren’t they the cutest thing?
Myself, I started small, i.e. projects that could be completed in a few hours- like hats, scarfs, coffee mug cozies and some I managed to finish while watching a 2 hour movie or sitting on a boring conference call…:-)
These small projects make perfect gifts and I ended up even taking requests from friends who liked them.
To make it easier to travel with knitting needles and all little accessories that come with this craft (markers, small scissors, sewing needle, etc), I made a small bag that could be warn on the wrist and prevent the ball of wool from unraveling all over the place, especially if you are in a hotel’s room or somewhere in the open, where you could get the yarn filthy.
I made it two-sided, with a small pocket to hold the most frequently used accessories.
Over time, I accumulated lots of yarn (mainly from England, France, Portugal and of course South America- Peru and Chile). I would love a yarn and buy a few skeins here and there and it soon became evident that I needed a storage bag to keep it all together. So, I made this larger bag, that features a few compartments and pockets, making it easier to store all my yarn and knitting accessories, providing easy access from each side. The small holes on the top allowed several strands of yarn to be combined and knitted simultaneously, without it intertwining and tangling.
Once home, I made another yarn storage bag, as I left the 1st one on the ship, besides I had so much yarn, I needed to have two. This way, I didn’t have to travel with all my yarn.
Of course, the most important tool in knitting are the needles. They after a very personal choice, it all depends what suits you and your knitting style. There are plenty of models: straight needles, interchangeable (with a cable), two-pointed, single Crochet hooks. They could be made of metal, bamboo, plastic and even softer silicone ones, convenient for travel. This is something to consider when planning on taking your knitting on the plane- make sure your needles are airport security proof and you carry the tiniest of scissors, to avoid them being confiscated.
I experimented with different types of knitting needles and finally settled on the so called “fast” needles, i.e. metal ones that allow the yarn to slip easily and create minimum friction, so the knitting goes fast. If you have zero knitting experience though, it’s probably best to start with coated needles, they are still made of metal but have a coating on top that allows better control of your knitting speed and prevent stitches from slipping. Mine feature a square profile, not the classic round one and that gives the stitches uniformed look and makes the project look more professional and less home made:-)
I like Knitters Pride, but there are plenty of good models out there. The reliable sets are a bit pricey, but it is well worth spending $60-$80, as the quality is of importance.
To make the project stand out, you can have your signature on it, by creating your very own logo. I have experimented with different ones (wooden and leather) but I am yet to find my unique label.
Finally, you can get inspired in many ways. I get ideas browsing several fabulous knitting sites: Wool and the Gang, We are Knitters, Bergere de France, Purl Soho, Vogue Knitting, Ravelry, Pinterest and Etsy. But, I have to say, as soon as I learned the basic techniques, I was well on my way of making my own creations and many times I would start a project only to end up with something completely different.
My friends often wonder how I got into knitting and where I find the time for it. The answer is very simple- knitting is my meditation, my safe place, allows me to unleash my creativity and gives me the chance to think without being interrupted. Some of my best ideas and decisions I have made is during knitting. I do it before I go to bed, after I wake up, during travel and when I need to relax, it is one of my favorite hobbies.
Below are some of my creations and some reluctant, but happy recipients. I hope you like them and get inspired to make something on your own.
P.S. If you end up knitting something bulky and you wonder how to transport it at the end of your trip (I once knitted a few winter hats in the middle of summer in Florida and the Customs Officer at Miami airport was suspicious if I was smuggling something), you can save on space in your luggage, by using vacuum storage bags. They will significantly reduce the volume of your work and you will have space for all the souvenirs you are taking home 🙂