Vacation Packing

On Sunday, Joel and I will take off for a vacation to Colorado, just outside of Vail.  He’s a snowboarder, and a few of his friends will be joining us for the trip, so the days when we’re not having a romantic little getaway and making full use of staying at a place that has a hot tub in the room, he’ll take off and going sliding down the slopes with said friends.  Now, I am not a skier.  Or boarder.  This isn’t because I’ve ever tried either of these sports, mind you, it’s because the very idea of partaking in these activities fills me with fear.  I am not a fan of physical pain.  By and large in my experience, being on items that keep my feet from being firmly planted on the ground does not work out well in my favour.  My sisters are filled with stories about my attempts to ride a bike as a child.  (For the record, yes, I can ride a bike.  Yes, I do even enjoy it to some extent, as long as there are no objects within 50 feet of me that I could crash into, there are only hills so mild that they would very generously be called slopes, and there are absolutely no bends in the road.  Having grown up just outside the mountains of Pittsburgh PA, this was a tall order.)  The one time I stepped onto a skateboard, I fell off – and step was all I did.  I remember taking roller skating lessons for awhile and I even remember enjoying it…but the last few times I tried to get on skates, I was so wobbly I forgot to let go of the wall.  And ice skating?  Forget it.  So the idea of going what to me would seem like 100 miles per hour downhill, trying to avoid people and bumps and oh my god trees, is not a fun thought.  My plan during the days when Joel is off boarding is to explore the resort where we’re staying, drive to a local yarn shop or two, and find a place inside where there is hot cocoa to read and knit and watch people fall down as they try to do winter sports.  I’ve already limited myself to two (very thick) books on vacation, with maybe a magazine or two for the airport stuff.  (Magazines have worked out well for me the last few times I’ve travelled – it’s so easy to put them in my gigantic purse to read while trying to board or get off.)  The question that now faces me is – how much knitting do I take?

Any knitter who has ever left the house for more than two hours has surely asked him or herself this exact same question.  If I go to knitting group for 4 hours and somehow finish the hat I’ve been working on all week and then find myself with extra time, which project will I want?  Will I want to start that shawl I’ve been eyeing, or should I just take the challenging pair of socks I keep procrastinating on?  Hmm, maybe I’d better take all 3 things, just in case.  But the idea of being gone from my home and my yarn stash for a solid week, knowing darn well I’ll have way too much opportunity to get bored when I’m in the airport or on the plane or playing games with Andy & Kim…yeah, I can’t just take one project.  That’s madness.

So now it’s a matter of how many and which ones.  I already plan to start a sweater while I’m there – Elphaba, which I fell in love with the moment it came out.  I’ll be using this yarn – it was the most beautiful blue I’ve ever seen and I spent a year stash stalking other people to get enough of it for a sweater.

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I just love that depth of colour.  To me, that blue is bottomless.  So that’s one project that is definitely for sure going along with me.  I already have the needles I’ll need and…and just realized stitch markers would be a great plan, so I’ll grab some of those as well.

Now, I understand that I probably can’t complete a whole sweater in a week.  In fact, thinking that I can seems like insanity, particularly since this is, once again, The Sanguine Gryphon Eidos which means, just like in the last entry, I’m working with fingering weight again.  But as soon as I try to remind myself that even with plenty of downtime, and even with flight delays, that’s a lot of yardage for one week…especially since some of the time, I’ll be spending time with, you know, MY BOYFRIEND, the other voice goes, “Right, but what if you get tired of that sweater?  What if something goes really really wrong and you don’t have a replacement project on hand?  What if you go to those other yarn stores there and don’t find ANYTHING you would want to knit with, and then you’re really stuck?  And you know that yarn hurt your fingers last time…you should take something else, just in case.”  I mean, I pack an extra pair of socks and underwear just in case…so why not knitting too?  Totally logical.

But then I try to come up with what…do I really want to take the whole little box of yarn that is the Earth Stripe Wrap?  On the one hand, it might be perfect for a lot of down moments because it’s so gosh darned simple to do.  And I really want it to be finished before my friend Sarah and I head off to the Maryland Sheep and Wool at the beginning of May…so I feel like if I don’t take it, I’m really sacrificing some prime knitting time.  So it makes sense to pack that, right?  But then I think, “Well those are two really big projects.  They might grow to epic proportion by the time you start to come home, and THEN what?  Then you’re that annoying woman in coach who is knitting a mammoth object that takes up two separate seats.  You don’t want to be that person.”  I particularly don’t want to be this person because J and I got separated on the flights home, so it’s not like I’ll be sitting next to someone that totally understands my knitting obsession.  So then I start thinking socks.  Socks are a great travel project.  They pack well, they’re time-consuming, and people look like you’ve got a screw loose when you inform them that you’re making socks.  

And then I sit back on my heels and say, “Wait, am I really taking along 3 separate knitting projects for a 1-week vacation?  A vacation during which I’d like to, you know, get outside and explore and have fun and maybe day-trip into Denver?”  And that’s when I begin to question everything I know about how quickly I, as a human being can knit….mostly because that’s usually the point where I think about packing a really complex lace shawl because that’ll take more than a week, probably, so it’s clearly the perfect project…

I told Joel I was going home tonight to pack.  I don’t think he understands the kind of packing that I meant, and I really get the feeling that even if I explained it to him, it still might not make a ton of sense…

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