This Muji nylon luggage cube is all I have to call a sewing room for the next few months. Although it is lacking in a few things, like a cutting table, sewing machine or a mannequin, it does actually fit the purpose rather well with space for tools in the front pocket, and half finished projects, fabric and yarn in the back pocket. I tend to be something of a maximalist when it comes to sewing; I do love my gadgets! And while I’m still adjusting to this minimalist sewing existence, I’m actually quite proud that I managed to cut down my sewing luggage to just these few, compact essentials.
The main project I’m working on while I’m away is a knitted sweater dress, which I will share progress on in due course. Before heading off I spent a lot of time researching the minefield that is knitting needles on planes, trying to find out exactly how verboten they are. Basically, you are at the mercy of the airport and sometimes the mercy of the security individual scanning your bag. So I decided on a twofold plan: 1) have plastic needles in my carry-on bag, and take my knitting off them and secure it with a string in case they got taken off me, and 2) always keep my beautiful wooden backup pair in my check bag.
At airport security I took my plastic needles out of my bag and placed them in the tray with my laptop and liquids, and deliberately pointed them out to the security staff. This method seemed to work at both Heathrow and Singapore. We shall see how I get on with Australia and (gulp) the States. Any American knitters out there care to share their tips on getting their pins through security?
Ziplock bags are, I think, a best friend for any crafty traveller. I have my unused yarn in one, my completed knitting pieces in another, and my work in progress and pattern in a third. Mainly they keep my yarn nice and clean inside the rough and tumble of my bag. But they are also great for keeping everything together and organised.
Finally, I threw in my stash of crochet hooks for good measure. I prefer to work with the beautiful metallic ones (a gift from my wonderful friend Bioelle), but I have a good stash of plastic ones for taking onto aeroplanes. You never know when you might come across some beautiful yarn that just cries out to become a blanket!
I don’t have any sewing projects lined up yet, just a few ideas. I’m trying to come up with ideas that won’t involve hours and hours of laborious hand sewing. And wherever I go I’m planning to do my research and have a poke around the local fabric shops. Kota Kinabalu seems to have quite a few, although as yet I don’t know how good they are. I will report back in due course!