I'm lucky to be at a small fiber retreat this week with friends from across North America. Some of us drove and some flew, but when we spread out our projects for the week, it was easy to tell who had packed carefully and who had brought the kitchen sink (by which I mean dyepots). Do you see yourself in any of these?
Traveler #1: The Minimalist
Tools packed: 1 spindle
Fiber packed: Silk
Container: Plastic tube with caps on both ends or empty whisky carton
Second craft packed: Fine stitching
Destination: Anywhere, no electricity or floor space required
Practical advice: A Turkish spindle is portable and packable. However, very fine singles wound onto a center-pull turtle can collapse on itself and become unruly. Consider rewinding your singles.
Traveler #2: The Maximalist
Tools packed: 1 spinning wheel, at least 3 bobbins, 1 lazy kate, 1 bobbin winder, 1 niddy noddy, oil bottle, orifice hook
Fiber packed: At least 12 ounces of various tops, batts, and braids
Container: Loose in the car (buckled up!) or packed in a travel bag
Second craft packed: Sweater in progress, darning, and a pair of socks for downtime
Destination: Fiber retreat/conference, sabbatical, family vacation
Practical advice: 1. Fiber makes excellent packing material, but unless you're sitting in one place the whole time, you probably won't spin more than 1-2 ounces per day. (My grandmother's packing advice, modified: Put back half your fiber and bring twice as much souvenir fiber money.) 2. Also, if you're looking to buy a suitcase to transport your wheel, bring the wheel to the store and try it out in all the available options. Can you reasonably lift and wheel around the combination? Look for spinner-style wheeled suitcases to stay upright and not fall over with the weight of the wheel.
Traveler #3: The Gadget-Lover
Tools packed: E-spinner with flat-pack bobbins, battery
Fiber packed: Enough to cushion the edges of the spinning wheel
Container: Wheeled suitcase, padded cooler, or tote (small enough to fit beneath the seat in front)
Second craft packed: Knitting project (pattern saved in the cloud and accessible on mobile devices)
Destination: Long distances no problem, but clean and stable workspaces a must. Practical advice: Bring a spindle--a simple no-hook spindle, if you have one. Batteries run down, power goes out, sometimes the wrong cord gets packed. It never hurts to have a stick and a whorl to make yarn away from home. (Whorl optional.)
A fiber getaway is good for the soul. Pack carefully and spin happy.