Summer of 1972, at the ripe old age of 21, I packed up my Volvo 122 with camping gear, grabbed my favorite cassette tape, Who’s Next and set off for Montana to see my grandmother. I wasn’t sure how much longer she was going to be around and I was at the pivoting point where I really needed to figure out what I’m going to do with my life. I thought this trip was going to be the one to show me the light, help me to focus on what to do to be successful, to make some money and get my parents off my back, so I could finally say what I’m going to be when I grow up.
Who’s Next was my driving force. I screamed “teenage wasteland, it’s only a teenage wasteland” from Baba O’Reily across Oregon and Idaho and “This Song is Over” had my crying for my lost youth and more than a few relationships. But Going Mobile kept me driving, especially on my return. I left Yellowstone Park at seven in the morning, the mist rising and elk browsing. I arrived at Lake Tahoe at a friend’s house at eleven that same evening, bleary eyed and more than a little burnt out.
I didn’t really figured out my life path on that trip. There really were too many decisions to make, but I did go back to school. I did have a great opportunity to not only see the grandmother in Montana, but also the one that lived in Wyoming and numerous cousins and aunts and uncles. I think it was the last time I saw both of them in person.
Fast forward 42 years, to 2014. This post isn’t just about my misspent youth and existential angst, that it looks like I do with some regularity, but I’ve also been thinking about those times when I take my projects with me. Back in 1972, it was crochet in the horrible plastic-y acrylic yarn in god-awful colors. Today my crochet is more along the lines of thread crochet of hat bands and flowers and it’s a little more to my taste.
In the years since 1972 I’ve also started knitting so that is probably my number one portable project. Currently it’s a miter square baby blanket. The pattern is so easy and simple that it is an excellent candidate for travel. I don’t have to pay attention to it too much, anticipating the color changes. This one is in primary colors and the next will be in more subtle pastels. The recipient is expecting twins, thankfully not until December.
Another thing I’ve been drawn to lately is literally drawing. The pens I invested in to do lettering, have migrated for use in doodling. I actually started doodling again years ago, when Zentangles started becoming popular. As a lifelong doodler, it’s fun to take it with me. Finding patterns, (airports are great for that) and putting my own spin on them.
The good thing about being multi-craftual is I have many types of projects to choose from. Besides knitting, crocheting and drawing I could also bring a small spindle and fiber and spin some yarn, embroider elements to go on a larger piece and if I’m feeling particularly brave, even do some beading. The down side of being multi-craftual, I have to choose which project or projects to take with me!
If you’re wondering where I get the inspiration for these projects, there’s a few places. First of all, I found this great book for crochet flowers, called not surprisingly called Crochet Bouquet by Suzann Thompson. Most of her examples use all different kinds of yarn, and it’s a great way to use up your odds and ends of left overs. I happen to have a lot of crochet thread, and they work well with the patterns, but they do come out smaller than the examples she has.
The miter square pattern someone posted on Twitter, but I’ll be damned if I can find the original link. It was a free pattern on their blog, and I put my own twist on it. I wish I could remember who it was.
The pattern was simply cast on 3 stitches. Knit one, make one, place a marker. Knit the next stitch, make one, knit the last stitch. Next row, knit. You repeat these two rows of increasing on the “front” before the marker and after the first stitch past the marker. I also used a separate color code marker, to mark the right side of my knitting. It is also an excellent stash buster. I did have to buy some yarn, just not all of it, and only to have the color combinations I preferred.
The doodles came entirely out of my imagination, so please enjoy them here, and ask if you’d like to use them elsewhere. If you haven’t checked out the Zentangle website yet, do go over there, there are some amazing drawings going on.
And lastly, if you haven’t listened to Who’s Next by the Who, it’s well worth the time to listen to the entire album, it the order it’s listed. There are many iconic songs are on that album, not just the clips you hear on the many different versions of CSI.
So, what do you take with you on your travels? I’d love to hear what you do and maybe I’ll get some new inspirations for travel projects.