As a traveling spinning instructor, I spent much of my life thinking about packing spinner’s cargo. Packing for planes, trains, and automobiles can be different than packing for ferries, backpacks, and bicycles. Spinning gear can take up a lot of space, so I’m always looking for ways to lighten my load. Here are a few ideas for streamlining your travel spinning equipment.
What Not to Pack
1. Lazy Kate
I have several beautiful lazy kates, but none of them is small and lightweight enough for living out of a suitcase. I also tend to be a bit picky about kates, and for travel I need one that is adaptable for everything from cardboard pirns to bobbins from multiple wheel makers. My favorite travel kate is a shoebox. I can pack the box to the brim with wool combs, diz, and any other small spinning equipment that needs to be kept safe. When I need it, I simply empty the box, insert a few old knitting needles into pre-made holes with my bobbin, and ply. The box is lightweight, serves multiple purposes, and can be left behind if my suitcases are too full of new fiber treasures when heading home!
If all you need to do is wind your yarn into a tidy skein, a chair or your own arm will do the trick in a pinch. If you need to know the exact yardage, measure from your hand around your arm for reference.
3. Ball winder
After your yarn is wound in a hank, most spinners wind our yarns into balls before knitting, crocheting, tapestry weaving, etc. Even when at home, I prefer to wind center-pull balls by hand when I have the time.
Originally published July 2018.