What is it about knitters that makes us knit in preparation for vacation knitting? Or is it just me?

Vacations are wonderful knitting opportunities. I have one coming up in a week and a half, and even as I know that I’m going to have to spend a sizable amount of my time working, not having to be on email for work will still be a relief. And even though I know that I won’t end up having as much time to knit as I want, I’m already evaluating every single project in progress or in planning stages to determine which of them to pack for the trip. But it’s not just picking projects – it’s more about prepping them.

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The dark brown sock is one I’d mentioned briefly – it’s intended for my father-in-law, for the holidays. It’s actually a bit of a mess right now. I’d knit down past the end of the heel gusset, growing more apprehensive with each round. And for good reason. When I put the sock on my husband’s foot it positively sagged around the ankle, even though it had fit just fine around the leg. So I pulled out the needles and frogged back to the leg, picked the stitches back up, and did the heel flap on much smaller needles. Part of the vacation-knitting prep was to get as far as the heel turn on the size-too-small needles so that I can pick up stitches for the gusset once the needles I’d ordered arrive. Somehow I feel compelled to get to a good pausing point on each of the in-progress projects I’m planning to bring.

Same thing with the green sock on the needles, only it’s my own pattern (this is the second round of pattern testing, which will hopefully result in another pattern sometime soon!), and it has a much less fiddly heel, so there’s been no ripping. I turned the heel this weekend, and all of a sudden I had to finish decreasing the gusset before vacation – I guess so it fits easily into the dpn case I have? Either way, just a few more rounds to go and I’m done with the gusset and on to the foot, and the pressure to get to that strange, arbitrary point is easing.

The last piece I’m going to pack isn’t remotely started yet; I’m going to be making a shawl for my mom for the holidays. I’ve got the yarn picked out as well as the pattern, but the vacation pressure is making me feel the need to start swatching and tweaking the pattern to make it wider and to see where I want to change colors.

I wonder what causes this pressure to get things started, or knit to a certain point. Is it the knowledge that a knitter is going to be away from the usual stash and stockpile of needles and assorted tools? Is it wanting to be organized for a moment as a way of relaxing even prior to taking time off from work and the everyday? What makes a knitter decisive about exactly which projects to bring on one trip, and then overpack for another because they just can’t decide, and bring too little fiber for yet another? What does everyone else do to pick vacation knitting?

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