Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Stitching in flight - Tips for successful in-flight cross stitching

Queensland school holidays begin at the end of this week - a time of travel, relaxation and a chance to catch up on stitching projects. I am having a week off these holidays (public servants do not get the full school holidays) and am going to Brisbane for a few days- a journey that (this time) will involve 1 1/2 hours in a plane and 10 hours in a car. Perfect stitching time!

Stitching while travelling takes a bit of preparation but I find it the perfect time to catch up on my stitching- what else is there to do while sitting in an airport, on a plane, or in a car (providing you aren't driving of course!!). As I plan my holiday stitching I thought I'd share my preparations:

1. The project itself - this will often depend on what I'm currently in the middle of, however smaller is always better!  Takes up less room in the suitcase, plus it's easier to manage in the car or on the plane :).  My favourite travel material these days is plastic canvas because it doesn't need a frame.  I've got a couple of projects on the go at the moment, but I'm going to be taking my newest pattern in order to finish the test stitch.  It measures 30 by 30, but doesn't have too many colours and fits nicely in a smaller frame.

2. The pattern - I tend to find it a good idea to only take a photocopy of your pattern with you, rather than the original.  That way if you spill your drink on your pattern or lose it in transit, you will still have your original waiting safely for you when you return.  These days, with the wonders of technology I no longer have to take a paper copy with me - my patterns are either PDFs saved on my iPad or computer, or photographs/scans of the originals.  Even more space saved :)
I think I've got the "spare needles"
 point covered

3. Extra needles - so very important!  Invariably if I forget to pack extras I will loose my needle within the first half hour.  Guaranteed.  I have a cute little tin that came free with a magazine that has a magnetic strip in the lid - very useful for keeping your needles organised (or at least together!)

QSnap Frame

4. 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 frames.  I have a couple of smaller hoops that are not only suitable for smaller projects, but perfect travel size.  However these days I prefer to use the plastic snap frames than hoops, and during my visit to the craft fair in March, I picked up a lovely small one (6") that fits nicely in my travel pack.

The Clover Thread Cutter Pendant

5. Thread cutter - with airport rules what they are these days you have to be so careful about scissors.  The last thing you want to do is loose your good pair at airport security!  One of my best travel investments years ago was the Clover Thread Cutter Pendant.  Worth its weight (which isn't much) in gold.  It's airport safe and can be worn on a chain around your neck (although the small opening means you need to be selective about which necklace you use!).

Triumph LED light

6. Light - another recent purchase at the craft fair was a small LED clip-on light.  Originally designed/marketed for reading, I find it the perfect travel size for stitching in the car and plane.  Now I have excellent light throughout the flight, even when they dim the cabin lights and without disturbing my fellow passengers, plus I don't lose valuable stitching time in the car after the sun goes down.

7. Carrying bag/box - last but certainly not least is the all important carrying box.  For many years I used a soft calico bag to keep my stitching supplies together while on holidays, which worked well, although didn't always keep the sand and dirt out, and wouldn't keep everything dry if it was dropped in water or had a drink spilled on it.  I've recently invested in some small plastic storage boxes to keep my WIPs in, and they are perfect for travelling.  The small 500ml and 1 litre sizes are great for stitching projects - everything folds up neat and tidy.  Best of all, they are dirt and water proof, and fit perfectly in my handbag for carry-on luggage.  The light won't fit inside, but that can go separately in my handbag.

8. A couple of other items - these aren't essentials, however can be useful depending on the project
Mini Highlighter - to help keep my place on my cross stitch pattern.  This is becoming less and less of a useful item as I move to PDF and scanned patterns on the iPad, but is still very valuable for the good old paper copies.
Thread Heaven - to keep my metallic threads in a usable condition.  And it comes in a lovely travel sized box.

Now that all the important packing is done, I suppose I should start on the rest of it.  You know, clothes and stuff.

I'd love to hear your stitchy travelling tips.

Happy stitching!!

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