I recently shared a photo of my current stitching project mid-flight and was surprised by the number of comments from people along the lines of "What? You can stitch on the plane? I didn't think you could take xyz". I wrote a blog post a few years ago about stitching on the go, however with several plane trips booked over the next couple of months, now seemed like the perfect time to update my travelling stitching tips.
1. Project - this will often depend on what I'm currently in the middle of, however smaller is always better! They take up less room in the handbag or backpack, plus it's easier to manage in the car or on the plane - less jossling for elbow room. Plastic canvas is perfect because it doesn't need a frame. My favourite travel material these days is plastic canvas because it doesn't need a frame. I'm also packing one of our 4x6 inch kits to test stitch.
2. Pattern - The joys of technology and PDF (or scanned) patterns! If you're flying, make sure you've downloaded the pattern to your device ahead of time and aren't relying on online storage (dropbox, cloud, google-drive) as you won't be able to access them in flight-mode. Don't ask.
3. Needle - The most common questions I get asked about inflight stitching are: "What type of needle do you take?" and "Can you take needles through security?" I can only speak from personal experience, but I have never been questioned about my embroidery needles. I use regular size 24 or 26 tapestry needles and have never had an issue. I have stitched on domestic flights around Australia, and on international flights to various locations in New Zealand, Asia, and Europe. Security have never battered an eye. So stitch on people!
4. Extra needles - so very important! Without a doubt, if I forget to pack extras I will loose my needle within the first half hour. Guaranteed.
5. Thread cutter - this is where I often run into issues with Security - with my embroidery scissors. I have lost count of the number of pairs I've had confiscated over the years because I have simply forgotten they were in my handbag. My favourite travel item is the Thread Cutter Pendant - it's airport safe and designed to be worn on a chain around your neck. I recently attached one to my car keys so it's always at hand. They're now available in our Etsy store, so be sure to order one before your next trip away.
6. Frame - unless I'm using plastic canvas, or the project is minuscule, I never stitch without a fame. The loss of tension frustrates me and I find I get too many knots. I love my plastic snap frames. I have several different sizes (6", 8", 11" and 14") so I can mix and match them depending on my current project. After lots of research, I have finally found a supplier so Fangirl Stitches will now be selling 8" and 11" plastic snap frames both at conventions and online!
7. Project bag - something to keep it all together. I have several small geeky zipper pouches that I store my WIPs in - makes it much easier to grab-and-go when I need something to stitch on the train or during a meeting. My pouches are all from Handmade With Love (there's exciting news on a future partnership in the works - but I'll save that for next time).
8. Thread Heaven - this is dependent on the project I'm working on - if the pattern calls for metallic threads, then Thread Heaven goes in the project bag. It conditions the threads and helps them slide through the fabric - say goodbye to frayed metallic thread! Unfortunately it is no longer in production - I do still have a few containers for sale, but once they're gone, that's it.
What are your stitchy travelling tips?