My 3 favorite projects for the Great Outdoors

Now that summer is nearly here, my car will be perpetually filled with camping gear, fishing rods, and of course my hat and sunglasses. But the other thing that I must not venture without is my knitting!

While I do love a good difficult cardigan, though, it’s really not the best thing to bring with me on adventures. I have found that there are three types of projects that pack small, travel well, and provide the relaxation and instant gratification that I like in a project.

1. Socks!
Socks and other small fingering weight accessories like fingerless mitts are great traveling companions. The small stitches mean that there is still a fair bit of time involved to make them – great for car rides or waiting for the fish to wake up. When worked on circular needles, you don’t have to worry about accidentally dropping a needle under the plane seat or down that cliff!

Baby or kids’ socks are great because you can easily get a pair from one 50 gram ball of sock yarn. Felici is my favorite for this; I’ll work from both ends so I can keep it as a single ball, which is even more convenient. When it’s time to break camp or head out on a day hike, the whole project easily fits in a quart zip-top bag. Throw some point protectors on your needles, press the air out of the bag and roll up with some tape, and you have a re-usable, space-saving mini knitting project bag.

2. Modular projects

Anything that’s worked in little pieces makes for good travel crafting. Not only can you ‘complete’ things quickly, but you can turn something daunting like an afghan into a portable project. For this, crocheting granny squares is my favorite!

Since the squares are all the same size, I will make a few and weigh them, then wind off little mini balls of yarn that are each sized to make a square. All I need to do then is grab a couple of mini yarn balls and my crochet hook, and I’m set with a perfect pocket-sized project.

3. Mending and Finishing

If you’re anything like me, mending and darning isn’t your favorite activity – but it’s important to do! I find that this and finishing – weaving in lots of ends, sewing buttons – are best done when I’m a captive audience. For this reason, I always bring some darning along on a trip. When we get hit with a freak rainstorm that keeps us in the tent or all the shops close and it’s time to head back to the hotel, I’m stuck with nothing to do but darn those socks. Maybe it’s not the most glamorous activity, but it’s incredibly satisfying to get it done, and have a finally-useable-again project. It makes the best of vacation downtime, too – instead of lamenting poor weather, you can say “hey, at least I got all those ends woven in!”

If you’re going to be traveling and camping and generally enjoying the outside world this summer, keep a few little projects like these handy in a tote, your car or your gear bag. That way you have a project ready to hit the road when you are!



  1. Shelley / June 13, 2013

    I almost never repair holes in the toes of hand knit socks. I decided that it was easier to unravel them to past the hole and reknit the toe. I have some unusual socks that way. 😉

  2. Cynthia Lopez / June 12, 2013

    So wish I could knit or crochet in the car. I get car sick if I do.

  3. Delia / June 12, 2013

    I suffer from motion sickness if I’m not looking out a window when on a road trip, so I like to knit simple washcloths that I don’t have to look at while I’m working on them. They make lovely gifts to family and friends that we visit on our travels.

  4. Julie / June 12, 2013

    My projects on the go fall in the same categories as yours. Crochet has been more in the bag lately, but socks are my mindless knitting.

    (Might as well ask – sock yarn in first picture?)

  5. Eric / June 10, 2013

    hats on circular needles are also easy travel projects

  6. pat / June 10, 2013

    My favorites,
    1. Socks and wristies (’cause they are basically the same).
    2. Easy baby anything but blankets. Toddler size and smaller sweaters and hats travel well.
    3. Shawlettes. If the pattern is not complicated they travel well and if it is a long trip, it may be done by the time the vacation is over.

  7. Sue Battin / June 10, 2013

    Getting pretty good with double points so I’m going to try socks this summer.

  8. Lynne / June 10, 2013

    What yarn is being used in the modular crochet project pictured here?

    • Kerin / June 11, 2013

      That’s Chroma Worsted in Smoothie, Guppy and Galapagos. Makes great little squares!

      • Karen / August 1, 2013

        A granny square blanket crocheted in Chroma would be a great blanket idea for my granddaughter’s Christmas present. Thanks for the idea!

  9. Kelly / June 10, 2013

    My favorite travel project is DISHCLOTHES!!! they are small and knit up quickly. And you can get two out of a ball of yarn!

  10. Kevin Lopez / June 10, 2013

    Yes socks, socks and more socks.

  11. Sue / June 10, 2013

    What is that beautiful yarn in the mending picture?

    • Kerin / June 11, 2013

      Hi! That’s a pair of socks in Koigu KPPPM that are now about seven years old. they’re almost more patch than original knitting!