The hardest decisions of all...

I decided Sunday was the day to tackle the most difficult set of decisions before the upcoming extended holiday visit to family. I care very little what clothes make it into the suitcase and I know if I grab my Kindle I can always find something to read.

Nope. Which projects to bring along is the big question. This gathering of fiber is fraught with a fair amount of fear. After all, being caught without anything to spin, knit, or weave when far from home is bound to cause some anxiety. If it lasts for two weeks, I might be looking for some valium (or more likely a yarn shop).

There are many considerations. The first is space in the car. I really wanted to bring the spinning wheel, but a few sweet and well-timed comments from Emily made me realize that there wasn't room... besides, did I really want my father, nephews, and brothers-in-law to mess with it? Seriously. These people can't keep their hands off a spinning wheel even though they have no idea how to spin actual yarn. Nope. The Ladybug stays home where she is safe.

But that meant I packed the Jenkins Lark spindle. I even picked up a little Sweet Georgia braid to have something entertaining to spin (passage through the state of Oklahoma warranted this purchase all on its own).

From there things got harder. There is a definite need for simple projects. There will be much sitting about, talking, and potentially even some mandatory football-watching (though I can hope to escape that). In a football-type situation, I can knit something harder. I know nothing about football and as long as I look sufficiently jolly when the team I'm supposed to be rooting for makes the ball go through that post thingy, I can concentrate on the pattern. But there will also be a lot of people. The couch will be crowded. There is no room for a sweater or other large knit. For this situation I have packed a ball of sock yarn (which I have already swatched!) and my Two-At-A-Time-Toe-Up book. I finished my first set of sample socks and I think I'm ready to try a real pair.

For the situations involving Christmas movies with fewer people, I can pick up the larger projects I have to concentrate on. The Aventurine sweater that Emily has been waiting for for almost two years WILL get done this holiday... especially if the nieces and nephews get enough movies to watch and I am allowed some illumination. I got a little discouraged when I couldn't get the Kitchener stitched hood top to finish correctly (resulting in a lengthy stubborn insistence that this sweater didn't even exist). But eventually I decided I had to move on and maybe my mother could help me fix it. Now I'm on to the plain stockinette of the body and sleeves. Home free baby.

For the rest of the time when I have to be participatory in the family conversation, board games, or just generally look like I'm paying attention, I have packed yarn for a cowl (which I have already swatched!). This was a request from Emily and she is REALLY hard to buy holiday gifts for. I couldn't find an appropriate pattern, so I found a stitch that I liked and I'm going to make the rest of it up on my own. I already respect knitwear designers a LOT more.

And of course there has to be a backup project. What if I run out of knitting? I have finally realized that my spinning teacher is right and I have to actually use my handspun if I want to become a better spinner. My winter hat is an old purple thing I knit about a decade ago. I think it is time to attempt a new hat with my handspun. I even bought 40 inch needles to try the magic loop method.

And as always, I'm still knitting these. I pretty much have a forest now.

I also had to bring some weaving. There are a certain pair of little girls who's grandfather has made them a dollhouse. I am anticipating a sudden need for small doll blankets (thus the Zoom Loom) as well as rugs and tapestries for the new house. I believe a 6 and an 8-dent Hokett loom should be able to produce the required floor coverings and artwork.
Now all I have to figure out is how to hide the fact that I just packed nine different fiber projects for a two-week trip. Maybe I can use decorative cookie tins for project containers... then they'll just look like gifts, until someone gets hungry.