With some encouragement from the smart people in my life, I have almost everything ready for my tapestry tour in France next week. That actually feels like a minor miracle. Not only are all the paperwork, insurance, credit card notifications, bills at home, and travel arrangements made, but my suitcase is also packed. This is going to be the new normal for me because it feels great not to be rushing around worrying about what I forgot at the very last minute.
But there is one last thing. Does anyone else have a problem deciding what fiber projects to bring on a trip that will be two weeks long? There is some weird little voice in my head that thinks it is the end of the world if I run out of fiber. Even though I know they have yarn in France! A wise friend asked me today, “What is the worst thing that would happen if you didn’t have a loom with you and you got bored?” Of course I laughed and said, first of all I’m almost never bored and secondly, I’ll have knitting and a spindle, so I suspect I’d live. But the truth is that I will have people to talk to and things to see and a journal to scribble in and I will likely not miss the loom at all. But it is a TAPESTRY tour! How can I not bring a tapestry loom?
First things first.
I like to knit on the plane and in airports. It keeps me calm and makes me feel like everything is going to be okay even though flying has become a stress-filled, uncomfortable event and an international flight seems almost unbearable. Knitting makes it all okay. My biggest security nightmare? They take away my knitting needles. So my one knitting project was decided upon a few weeks ago. It is a pattern I’ve knit before and I love the shawl. I’m making it for a friend who is facing some big health challenges and I think these colors are ones she’ll love. I am so on top of this one that I did a gauge swatch and have started the pattern to make sure I remember all the techniques. It’ll be Chimaira by Melanie Berg. Knitting, check.
And I almost always have a little Turkish spindle with me. You won’t be surprised to know that this habit is one picked up from Sarah Swett. A purse spindle is a thing you all. I’m bringing my Jenkins Lark which incidentally was gifted to me by Sarah so it is perfect. I tested this silk/merino blend which another marvelous spinning friend Beth gave me recently and I have been fascinated by the patterns it makes if I wrap it carefully on the spindle. Spinning, check.
That leaves weaving. Now who really needs yet another project? I have the large knitting project I likely can’t finish in two weeks and for back-up crafting emergencies, the spindle and a small bag of fleece. I don’t need looms.
“But I’m a weaver and I love travel weaving,” the little voice in my head says.
“You’re going to have several days with long hours on a bus,” the little voice says.
“It’ll be fun to weave what you see,” the little voice says.
The little voice isn’t carrying my luggage though. My practical self says, you don’t need to bring stuff. Just a notebook and a camera and a few extra pairs of underwear.
In the quest to decide, at least I got some weaving in. I pulled out my backpacking Hokett loom and wove off the piece that has been on it since last summer. I remember sitting at the edge of a meadow using a flick carder to blend some previously-dyed locks, using a Turkish spindle to spin them, then weaving them into this little striped piece. Just stripes in a meadow. I finished it off and added it to the tapestry diary.
The Hokett loom is very small, only requires a couple tapestry bobbins, a shed stick, and a tiny tapestry fork, and weighs almost nothing. Seems like a good choice. But then there is the Fringeless loom.
“Four-selvedge!” the little voice says. “It is so great for tapestry diary pieces!”
The photo below demonstrates some of the rabbit hole I end up spiraling down in these moments. See all those cones of weaversbazaar yarn? Their rainbow pack plus a grayscale seemed like good choices… and the image doesn’t even have the warp and roll of blue tape I’d have to bring if I choose the pipe loom on the left..
This is me trying to weave off a warp that I messed up when I put it on… just in case I bring this loom. Michael Rohde made this loom and I have visions of him riding on buses all over the world weaving his tiny tapestries like he does. See how the little voice in my head works?
I’ll decide something tomorrow. I know it doesn’t matter, but I’m guessing some of you can sympathize with the dilemma.* Watch my Instagram feed to see what I decided. The rest of you probably just think I’m nuts. I’m going to France. Wine. Cheese. Tapestries. But sadly no croissants.**
*Also I’m terrified TSA will take away my metal-tipped bobbins but I hate to think of weaving four selvedge without them. They’re so great. (Thanks Bobbin Boy!)
** I have celiac disease.
This from the airline I’m flying.
Really Iceland Air? (I hear many other airlines have similar stances now.) Basically knitting needles are pencils. Are you banning pencils? My current plan: Bring wooden needles with a plastic cable. Put the metal lace needles with metal cable in checked bag. Put a lifeline in the knitting because while they could take the needles, they can’t take the project and if there is a lifeline, I can use the metal needles when I get to France. On the way home? Check the whole thing. I’m much more likely to get them taken away at CDG than in Denver. There, see? I can make decisions.
I’m far more dangerous without my knitting than with it. And have you ever heard of someone on board a plane, or really anywhere, threatening violence with knitting needles?
I notice they don’t mention weaving…