Whenever I am going holiday, I always bring one or more craft-projects with me. I find crafting a very relaxing activity and a perfect thing to enjoy whilst on the road or staying somewhere nice. After a day exploring new surroundings it is really great to be able to get crafting rather than binge-watch whatever happens to be on telly.
My main craft is embroidery but since I am not an embroidery-expert (yet) I still really like to have a stitch guide and technique book with me. Moreover, I need a good source of lighting to be able to see the stitches properly. I even bought a portable led “Snappy” light especially for holiday stitching! If at all possible, I also like to bring a seat stand as it makes stitching so much easier and better. Combining these items with the required threads, fabrics, patterns and other tools, it does take up quite a bit of space and weight. As a result, I usually only pack an embroidery project when we go on holiday by car or train, as there are no size and weight restrictions!
For our trip to Australia I packed my Scheepjes CAL 2017 (and a small cross-stitch project, in case I wanted a change), as it required far less tools and no books at all. To save even more space, I read the CAL patterns online and I only printed the embroidery patterns (thank you lovely receptionist of the Kangaroo Island Seafront Hotel!). It therefore only took up little space in my suitcase and carry-on and fitted in with my clothes, shoes and toiletries.
Before setting off, I had contacted Kirsten Ballering, the designer of this year’s Scheepjes CAL to enquire which balls of yarn I would need for the first five weeks of the CAL. She replied that I would need all of the Catona colours but only 4 or 5 balls of the Stonewashed, which ment that I did not have to pack the whole kit. As my project bag I used the Field Bag by the Fringe Supply Company, which is amazing as it fits everything you need for you project. It has various handy pockets, one of which is punctuated by gommets for guiding your yarn. The bag is made from sturdy canvas and has a drawstring closure and a leather carry loop. In the Netherlands Ja, Wol a LYS (& webshop) in Rotterdam stocks them.
In my Field Bag I popped a 4.5 mm crochet hook. I also took a size larger and a size smaller hook with me in case I needed them for crocheting the separator (which I didn’t need to in the end). I also packed a knitting counter, a yarn cutter (no scissors on a plane!), a tube with two darning needles, and a small tin with stitch markers. Taking a CAL on a trip is also very handy because the patterns tells you which yarn you need for that particular week. I packed that yarn in my Field Bag and stored the other balls of yarn in a separate bag in my suitcase.
During our trip I found out that I can literally crochet just about anywhere, whereas for embroidery I am rather fussy about seating, desk space and lighting. Especially since the CAL is a scarf I doesn’t take up very much space at all. I was even able to crochet whilst lounging on the bed ( when there wasn’t a comfy seat available, or sitting outside on the veranda. Even crocheting on a 12-hour plane journey worked rather well. Even if the lighting conditions are poor, I was still able to work on my CAL. I can understand that more complicated design will require more adequate lighting but I was able to make do with what was available.
Some of the people in the Scheepjes CAL group on Facebook commented that they didn’t find the CAL very exciting because it is a lot of DC’s and that they found the cross stitch rather complicated. I was actually quite happy with the simplicity of the pattern as I am a rather novice crocheter. Being on holiday, it was also rather nice not to have to pay to much attention to the pattern! Moreover, I am an experienced cross-stitcher, which must a bonus. Counting fabric or yarn doesn’t make that much of a difference to me! I managed to do the cross stitches rather quickly without any frogging.
I did find though that my Stonewashed yarn kept getting caught in the cross stitches so I ended up fastening it along the top edge with stitch markers, which kept it perfectly out-of-the-way while doing the cross stitches (see picture below).
All in all, I managed to keep relatively on track with the CAL as I am only running one week behind schedule! I will starting on week 6 today when the pattern for week 7 has just been published today. For a novice crocheter and having been on holiday, I am doing quite well I think!