What I Knit on Holidays

The great part about knitting? You can do it in a car! (As long as you’re not the one driving, that is. I’m lucky that Mr Sewaholic likes driving more than I do.) Here’s what I made while driving across the United States.

Vancouver, BC, Canada to Boise, Idaho:

Remember last year I knit Mr Sewaholic a birthday hat? I also made him a Christmas hat, that he promptly stole before I could save it for the holidays. Unfortunately, when the weather grew colder and he started wearing the hats, he found the wool too scratchy! (I then made him an acrylic hat, which was not fun to knit with, but he loved it.) This time, I picked the softest, superwash wool I could find for Hat Number Four. And it worked!

So far, the superwash wool (Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label, if you also knit for someone who’s sensitive to wool in your life) passed the itch test. Though we’ll see how he feels when it’s hat season and he’s wearing it for longer periods of time. I wrapped up the balls of yarn for his birthday to make sure he liked the yarn first, and then knit up the hat on the road! Click here for Ravelry notes on this project.

Boise, Idaho to Cedar City, Utah:

The pattern is Pasha, by Jane Richmond, using a silk-wool yarn. Sadly, just before finishing, I ran out of yarn!

There it is on the bedspread at the Cedar City Super 8 Motel. Obviously not enough yarn to knit for another inch and then start decreasing for the top of the hat like I was supposed to do! I debated making it a tiny hat, but ended up ripping this whole hat out and starting again later on…

Cedar City, Utah to Kanab, Utah:

After running out of yarn on the last hat, I picked the easiest pattern for my next project (Aesderina by Jane Richmond) one that I knew was certainly going to work out. And it did! This hat looks a bit funny when it’s flat, but feels cushy and cosy when it’s on the head.

The doubled brim hugs the ears nicely. I love the colour too! I’m drawn to greens and blues these days and this is the perfect greeny-green. (Madelinetosh Vintage in Jade, if you wondered.) Ravelry project notes and more photos here.

Kanab, Utah to Portland, Oregon

Ripped out the first try at the white hat, started again without the doubled brim. I’m sad because I love the double brim! I feel like the thicker folded edge looks more finished and won’t stretch out as much. But overall, the finished hat turned out pretty so I’m all right with the unfolded brim. Ravelry project notes here.

Portland, Oregon

This was a fast one! No doubled-brim, plenty of plain knitting with just enough interest and mini-goals (quick – get to the next purl ridge!) to make it go by quickly. With hats I think there’s a lot of experimenting to find out what kind of hat styles suit you. It’s like you have to finish it to find out whether it works or not.

Pattern is Fjord, yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage again in Wash. I’m loving this pale minty green these days! It’s a colour I thought I couldn’t wear, but recently decided it actually looks all right on my skintone. Ravelry notes here – I know not everyone is on Ravelry but I’ll keep including the links for each project, for those who are!

Portland, Oregon to Burnaby, BC

I finished this one at home but I’m still going to count it. After all the hat experimentation, this one is the favourite! Go figure, I was really unsure about knitting this one. Even when I was a quarter of the way through it, I was thinking – should I rip this out? Is this going to be cute? What’s cool about this hat is that it’s a free pattern designed by Happy Knits, and I actually bought the yarn when I was at Happy Knits, so it seemed like a perfect match! (Ravelry notes and tons more photos here. I had fun with this one!)

Why so many hats? They’re a cool way to try out different yarns on small projects. (And because you don’t need to make them in pairs..)

Thoughts on knitting on the road:

  • Bring all of your tools! I wish I’d brought my interchangeable needle set, for when I bought more yarn on the road and wanted to make something new. Instead, I was limited to the few sizes of needles I brought with me. I also lost my tapestry needle and had to buy one on the road! Which leads me to the next point…
  • Map out yarn shops en route. That way, if you lose something, you’ll be able to replace it! Finding a replacement tapestry needle on the road was a challenge.
  • Pack things well. If I were to do it again, I’d put all of my tools into one hard case. Instead, I had a couple of different plastic bags that often were left open – I think that’s how the tapestry needle got away! I also lost a rubber point-protector but thankfully, none of my actual knitting needles.
  • Choose simple projects. Aesderina is a great hat for road-knitting because it’s so simple. So is the Christopher Hat I make for Mr Sewaholic. Something like the Honey Cowl would be great as well – anything where you’re not constantly referring to the pattern.
  • Worried about getting queasy if you’re prone to motion sickness? You might be all right! I get carsick when I read, but not when I knit! I think if I were reading a pattern along with the knitting, it might have been different but by choosing easily-memorized patterns, I avoided the possibility of sickness.
  • Knitting sure makes a long drive go by faster. I get restless, I’m the kind of person that can’t even sit through a television show without keeping busy somehow, so knitting is a great way to make long car rides fun. (That and taking out-the-window photos!)

Do you knit in the car? What projects worked well for car-knitting and do you have any tips to add?

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53 Responses to What I Knit on Holidays

  1. Mary August 29, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    Socks! Last year I made a half dozen pair traveling back and forth across the mountain to work on our property. This year I ended up driving myself more and when I wasn’t I had two needy poms crowding on my lap, which makes knitting a challenge. Knitting both socks on one needle made it easier to keep track of the projenct and eliminated the second sock syndrome. I never got carsick, but then I made sure to look up at the scenery and talk to Mr. Man periodically so I think that helped! Great post! You certainly were productive on holiday!

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 8:14 am #

      Thank you! That is awesome that you made so many socks! I still find socks a little challenging for road trips. I haven’t figured out two at a time but I love the concept – second sock syndrome! :)

      • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

        Oops, I meant to say NO second sock syndrome!

  2. VictoriaR August 29, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    Great hats. I also knit on the road. Like you, I can’t read, but I can knit. I actually do most of my knitting during my daily bus commute to and from work. We just got back from a camping trip to Yellowstone and I also lost a couple of things due to poor organization of needles, etc. It is great to sit in a campsite on a creek and peacefully knit. I was not as prolific as you, but I did almost finish a sweater.
    Thanks for all the pics.

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      Oh that sounds lovely! Sitting by the creek, knitting. I knit on transit too, whenever I go downtown I’ll usually take the train and knit. Do people ever ask what you’re making? No one ever asks but they do look at me strangely.
      I think a sweater is a lot more work than hats – after all it needs to fit!

  3. Sew Little Time August 29, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    ooh, i was going to say that i can’t do anything like that in the car as i get carsick, but i guess i have never tried! i wonder if maybe i could? i have my eye on one of Zilredloh’s stitchcraft patterns freebies but was struggling to see how i would fit it in with the sewing. but the car could be perfect wasted time!

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 8:04 am #

      I get really carsick,even if I read a message on my phone for a couple of seconds I start to feel it. I’m one of those ‘can’t sit in the backseat’ people so I was so happy to find knitting doesn’t bug me! Maybe you’ll be ok too! (maybe try it on a short drive first?)

  4. didyoumakethat August 29, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    I knitted in the car when my boyfriend and I did our US trip earlier this year. Well, there are only so many hours you can gaze out of the window for! I’m the same as you – reading makes me car sick, but weirdly not knitting.

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

      Exactly! On the road, after a while it does start to look the same. Isn’t it great that even though reading makes us sick, knitting doesn’t? I thought it was weird that it didn’t affect me, but incredibly lucky. So much free knitting time where we’re not expected to do anything else!

  5. Christine August 29, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Whoa lady! That’s quite the haul! I’m not a knitter (read: I live in LA!) but that looks like a massive amount of knitting for one vacation! Well done.

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      That’s one good thing about living in a cold, rainy climate – we get to wear cute knitted things! Although I am envious of year-round summer and sundress weather. And sandal weather. And probably, a lot less rain!
      We did a TON of driving and I rarely had to drive, so it worked out well for my productivity!

  6. Carla August 29, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    I’m not a knitter but I crochet… while the movie is playing, at the laundry center, always on road trips… definitely makes the time pass faster. And yes, people watch but usually don’t ask.
    Love the hats! The colors are fantastic ~very nice!

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      Thank you! Wait – you can crochet in the movies? Without looking? I haven’t fully mastered the ‘knitting without looking’ skill but that sounds rather impressive. I knit in front of the TV but I’m listening more than I am watching if I’m knitting something complex. (Or any more than plain knitting or purling, really.)

  7. Lauren August 29, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Holy crap, Tasia, I can’t believe you knitted so many hats! I kept scrolling, thinking I was looking at the last one. Haha! Of course they are all beautiful & awesome!

    I have trouble memorizing patterns (I guess bc I keep picking up sort of complicated sweaters haha) so knitting does make me a bit carsick. Fortunately, they make motion sickness pills for that :) So jealous of people who don’t get carsick – I used to be that way when I was a kid, I dunno what changed but it sure sucks! At any rate, I do love knitting while traveling. The last thing I made was the Miette sweater while riding to Florida – I finished most of it during the 7.5+ hour drives there & back. Knitting is such a great portable craft!!

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      I think I was worse as a kid – interesting to know that it can work the other way, getting worse as an adult! I always thought it was a thing that people grow out of. (How annoying that it isn’t.)
      I agree, it’s much harder to knit a complicated sweater or anything with instructions that require frequent reading. Which is why all the hats – they’re easy enough with minimal reading to get to the next stage. The Miette sweater is so pretty and quite complex! I love the colour you used too, the golden mustardy yellow is awesome. If only sewing was as portable as knitting, right? ;)

  8. Stacy August 29, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I haven’t learned to knit – YET, but I’m sure it will be very car friendly. I already crochet and embroidery very frequently in the car. I enjoy traveling with yarn projects, they’re often small and easy to pack. Especially since I am pron to making scarves most often. You’re hats are all lovely.

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

      Thank you! It’s much like crochet and embroidery I imagine – small, easy to work on from your lap – as long as you don’t pick something that grows as you work on it like a blanket or big sweater!

  9. Anthea August 29, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    Because family and friends are living further away I have a lot of opportunities to knit or crochet in the car. It is a great way to pass the time. I also get carsick when I read but not with knitting.

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

      Nice to know that others can knit but not read! (I mean, not great that you can’t read because you get sick. But great that you can still knit!) There’s hope for the people that commented, wanting to give it a try but often get carsick.

  10. MarrieB August 29, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Your hats are great! I think my Ravelry queue will be growing after reading this post! I also can knit in the car but not read. My favorite projects for travelling are simple shawlettes/scarves, that I can mostly memorize the pattern for.

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      Ha, excellent! How cool that my hat knitting makes you want to give them a try! I like all of the hat patterns I knit, my favourite is the last one (Rikke Hat) and the Aesderina (I wonder if it looks as good as the others but I love how cosy and cushy it is to wear). Happy knitting!
      I haven’t knit a shawlette before but I’m finding some very pretty patterns out there!

      • MarrieB August 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

        The Aesderina is my fav! I think your looks great, and it’s the one I want to make first.

        • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

          Awesome! It’s super easy, well, I found it easy when I first made it last year and I was just learning then. I hope you like knitting it as much as I did!

  11. Caroline August 29, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    This is a fun travelogue perspective! I always take my knitting with us traveling – knit on the plane, in the airport, etc. When my son (now 6 1/2) was young, we lived in the country, and I knit alot on the way in to town on the weekends for church (35 minutes each way or so). I knit several wool diaper soakers this way. Then I got paranoid about being in a crash and the airbag making the needle go through my body, and haven’t knit so much lately in the car, but I do take it everywhere else! The last 4-6 months I’ve been mostly knitting dishcloths for wedding gifts (it seems to be wedding season here, we’ll have gone to six by the end of the year, and another that we can’t attend). In the winter (the short winter we have here!) I’d love to get inspired to knit myself a sweater. Probably short sleeves and a lace pattern, so I can wear it year round. Being from up north (Pennsylvania) I always want to knit cozy things in wool but it just isn’t practical in Texas.

    I love knitting hats too because they are quick and easy – usually 100 g of wool or less, (though not always!) and then you can show them off. I’ve never knit socks, it just seems pointless to hide all your hours of work. Scarves, too because mostly you can be done when the yarn runs out…

    I’m babbling, sorry! Enjoyed this post alot.

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I thought the same thing about socks before I tried knitting them. I have to say, they’re not cheap to make, and they take forever but they feel sooooo nice to wear. Probably more useful if you live somewhere cold though! I get cold and I like to wear them around the house, they’re warmer than any of my store-bought socks.
      Maybe something like this would be a good Texas sweater? Easy lace although long sleeves, but you could shorten them I bet.
      It’s on my list for a ‘wearing over dresses’ cardigan! Great to hear so many other people knit on the road. I’m inspired to now take it everywhere with me. Mr Sewaholic will get to drive all the time now, that lucky guy!

      • Caroline August 29, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

        Oh, Tasia, that’s beautiful!! I bookmarked it. You’ll probably get to it before I do, but it might be just the thing!! Thankyou!

  12. Betsy August 29, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    I love knitting in the car! Anything with mostly stockinette or an easy pattern is what works for me. Two-color projects generally get jumbled and frustrating. I also knit on the bus to work, or while watching movies, or camping, or pretty much everywhere I can. I agree with taking your whole “supply box” with you, you inevitably forget something! Great vacation hats, and I love your pattern designs!

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      Oh yes, I’d never attempt a two-colour project in a car! I want something that I won’t screw up, also one that’s easy to stop and start frequently. Love that you knit while camping!

  13. Deborah August 29, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    I knit in the car A LOT! My husband doesn’t like to be in the passenger seat and our parents live a few hours away from us. Since we often visit, that’s a lot of knitting time for me. I knit whatever project I’m working on, even big ones. I have all my tools in my old leather pencil case from high school, which is always in my knitting bag. That way, I just pick up the bag and I have everything with me all the time.

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      Good plan! I read somewhere about a knitter who always kept their knitting bag packed in case of fire alarms, or other events that required rushing out the door. That way they’d never be bored! (I wish I could remember where I read it but it’s both funny and brilliant.) Mr Sewaholic prefers to drive too, so it works out well for both of us! :)

  14. Sam August 29, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I love all your hats, but the last one is my favourite – such a gorgeous colorway.

    I’ve never tried knitting in the car because I get carsick if I read. After reading all the comments above I’ll have to give it a go!

    Hubby and I are off on our holiday this weekend, it will be about a 6 hour drive to get there, so plenty of knitting time if I can do it!

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Me too! It’s my favourite, I love greens and blues and teals.

      Yes, try it! I can’t read at all, not even a text on my phone or a map. But knitting I can do!

  15. emily rose August 29, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    I really really really wish i could knit in the car. I would get so much done! But alas, i get very carsick. I can’t do anything more complicated than garter or stockinette (since I don’t need to look for those), and since most of the projects I work on tend to have a bit more patterning to them… i would really get so much done if I could knit in the car!

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      Oh no! Sorry to hear you get carsick while knitting, that sucks. I suppose you could pick up an easy project for car-knitting but not if that’s not something you actually want to make.

  16. Heather August 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    Knitting and car rides, fun indeed. I’ve made many a mittens that way.

    I read SOCKS, does anyone have a good sock pattern they can link me to? I’m teaching myself how to do them and all of the patterns I’ve tried have either confused me partway through, or I haven’t liked the shape I’ve made halfway through :-)

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      I’ve only made a few pairs of socks (three actually) so I’m no expert! Of the three I did like the BFF pattern from Cookie A and found it fit well, stretchy to hug the foot a little, and didn’t get too boring. Also it was easy to tell how long to make the second sock because I could count the repeats (but in a plain ribbed sock, you have to measure or count the rows to make sure they’re both the same).

      that’s my project, and here’s a link to the pattern

      I would love to hear what other people suggest too! I have the book Knit.Sock.Love and while the designs are really beautiful, I think I’d need to ‘read’ the pattern the whole time.

  17. Andrea August 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Love all your hats! There are so many times I wish I could knit, and would love to re-learn. I knit when I was very young – mostly scarves for Barbie dolls, potholders, and the like.

    Can you recommend a good book to learn to knit again? Crochet also – if you know a good source. Thanks!


    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      I learned mostly from Youtube, if you can believe it! I first learned to knit and to purl, and then started with a couple of easy patterns. Whenever I came across something I didn’t understand, I searched it on youtube with ‘how to..’ in front – how to cast on, how to bind off, how to knit 2 together – there are some really great videos out there! can remember good ones from The Knit Witch and Planet Purl. (I started to save them to a favourites list but it wasn’t working on my phone so I stopped, otherwise I’d post the link!~)
      I don’t know how to crochet other than to make a sloppy little chain. :) But I bet youtube has some answers there too! Hope this helps. Oh and once you get into knitting, and want to try sweaters, I found ‘Little Red in the City’ really helpful on knitting sweaters that fit.

      • Andrea August 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

        Thank you for the reply, Tasia. You Tube is pretty amazing that way, isn’t it?

  18. Loretta Houben August 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Tasia, you are very talented indeed. I can’t even look down in the car to look at a map or I’ll heave. I get carsick very easily. Your hats are just gorgeous. Your trip sounds fantastic. BTW, I met you a few months ago at Fabricland in New Westminster, so I have signed up to get email updates from your blog. I recognized you from all your lovely photos. I haven’t yet bought a pattern from your collection, as I haven’t sewed for myself in years. Maybe sometime soon…

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      Well hello! I remember meeting you at the fabric store too. I’m the same when it comes to reading in the car, so it’s kind of amazing that I can knit no problem. Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoy the blog!

  19. Lynne August 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Your hats are lovely! Pasha has just been added to my queue. ;) I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who likes to knit hats!

    • Tasia August 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      Thank you! If you like folded brims I’d suggest doing the folded brim on the Pasha, it feels so much nicer! (I have an olive one I made first which is how I know – it hugs the head nicely and I like how it looks.) It’s much easier than it looks and the pattern is well explained, I found. Happy knitting!

  20. Kim August 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    For wool that is too scratchy – some of the wool hats I have include a little layer of fleece on the inside. Sometimes the whole hat is lined, and other times it’s just a layer around the ear area where the skin is actually in contact with the wool, but I’ve found it helps the scratchy issue immensely. I’m not exactly sure how you go about attaching it in a neat and attractive or invisible way, but maybe it could work out!

  21. Rachel August 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    wow, so productive! I did a bit of knitting while I was travelling (on trains though), but I was working on a sock (still not finished!)

  22. Lucy August 30, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    i’ve been knitting my Cinnabar Pullover on the road a lot recently. Because I’m knitting it on circulars and it doesn’t have any complicated stitch patterns, I can just go round and round to my heart’s content! And it definitely hastens the miles.

  23. Angela August 30, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    What gorgeous hats! I particularly like the cream, lacy one. I was wondering if you like your interchangeable knitting needles? I’m intrigued as I’d never heard of them before. But often I will start knitting something, I realise my tension is wrong and have to go up or down a size and these would be a solution for sure.

  24. Amy Stebbins August 30, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    I love to knit in the car as well :-)
    I just bought some really nice chenille yarn to work on a scarf for my daughter. We spend a lot of time in the car, and I sometimes knit on our boat!
    I love the zen mode I get into while knitting. So relaxing.

  25. Becky August 30, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    Wow, it’s a whole wardrobe of hats! They’re all really cute. (And as a non-wool knitter, I have to say that the acrylics aren’t so bad if you get the nicer quality ones. But then, I can’t touch wool at all. You could also try some alpaca blends for Mr. Sewaholic, they’re really warm and he may not have as much of an issue with them. So far I’ve been able to work with up to 30% of that without any skin sensitivity issues.)

    I haven’t tried knitting in the car myself, mostly because up until this year, I had to drive myself everywhere! But since I met my fiance and he likes to drive us places, that’s more of a possibility. Maybe I’ll give it a try for our IKEA run this weekend, since the closest one is over an hour away. I can’t read in the car either, so we’ll see how it goes!

  26. Amy Stebbins August 30, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    I love to knit in the car, and on our boat sometimes. It is really relaxing. I am working on a scarf right now in autumn colors. I love the hats! They look fabulously cozy :-)

  27. PerlenDiva August 30, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    I like your hats, the mossy green is so pretty. I love knitting or crocheting when commuting, usually things with easy to remember patterning like socks or even the first part of shawlettes.

    I usually get asked only by children (and usually mommy can’t even tell crochet from knitting…) ;-) But once an elderly man wanted me to knit him socks, too ;-)

    Do you know this tutorial for knitting two socks at the same time? http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter02/PATTstraightlaced.html. I found it very helpful.

    Happy knitting,

  28. Jessica August 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    What a great assortment of hats, just in time for fall! Hats are such fun, quick, satisfying projects.

    For the past year I’ve used “Casual Carpool” to get to work, whereby 3 strangers will share a car together over the bridge and into San Francisco (carpool lane + reduced toll = informal carpool that’s been going on for 40 years, my parents used to do it too!) So, lots of car knitting, but in bits. I always liked having projects with lots of stockinette, or else smaller pieces (I’m primarily a sweater knitter, so that means the start of the body/front and back if doing a cardigan, or the sleeves. Once it gets past the armholes and things need to be joined, that became my at-home knitting project) Especially since sweater patterns can be very repetitive/intuitive, in a good way, after awhile! To decrease 4″ from upper hip to waist over 7″, divided over 2 side seams + front/back darts, given my gauge … easy peasy to figure out and then you’ve got a whole 7″ of knitting that is mindless :-). Or that’s how I approach it anyways.

  29. Vickie Doty August 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Well heavens, you were on my doorstep! Hopefully the lost tools were easy to replace and you are right about mapping out the yarn stops along the way. I love that you did hats and each one will remind you of a spot!