With a little forethought, you can take your embroidery anywhere you want to go.
Embroidery work itself only uses a few tools and these are generally rather small which can be both a plus and a minus. A few thread bobbins, a pair of embroidery scissors, and the hooped work takes very little room in a medium sized zip bag or canvas tote bag for larger hoops. But it is the needles where stitchers start to get nervous.
These are some main points to follow while traveling with embroidery, whether just around town or while traveling greater distances.
Hoop it up.
In the hoop, the project is ready to be worked on whenever you want.
Choose supplies carefully.
You won't need all of your threads so decide which ones you want before leaving and bring a minimum of supplies: scissors, needles, threads, and a stitch guide if necessary.
Pack and store the project with both ease and disaster in mind.
Pack in sectioned storage (such as a tote with pockets for each item or in the outer pocket of carry-on luggage, backpack, or handbag) so the project and supplies can all be accessed easily. Keep the whole thing well-protected in a plastic bag (or several) in case of spills within your luggage or rain while you are out and about.
Don't be too product oriented.
You might get quite a bit of work done. You might encounter too much turbulence to work. The person next to you might strike up a conversation that takes you away from the work. That's just fine. You're away from home - it's about the journey, isn't it?
Here are some additional travel tips from crafty ladies I talked to:
- Thread some needles, stick them in a scrap of fabric, wrap the whole thing in your embroidery project. This way you avoid having to thread needles in a moving vehicle or busy cafe and you won't have to search for your needles.
- Projects can be carried in a zipper cosmetic bag or make-up case, a pocket of a backpack or section of a handbag, dedicated tote bag, or a small plastic tub with lid.
- Switch to a chenille needle to make threading easier on the road.
- Bring a good portable light if you camp or stay in accommodations that don't provide a good reading light.
- If you take a project that's rather large, pack the project in luggage but bring a smaller part of the work, such as making yo-yos or a hooped section of redwork, onto the plane or in the car.
- Keep projects clean and neat by keeping tools in a zip pencil case and embroidery work in a plastic sleeve page protector. Or keep everything organized in ziplock bags in case something spills in your travel case.
- If you are concerned about losing sharp needles, take a cross-stitch project and use blunt tapestry needles.
- Keep everything organized and take projects that don't require you to scrutinize detailed instructions.
I blogged a bit about traveling with embroidery. For the series, I created my Embroidery YOU Time Tote designed specifically to hold hoops, scissors, threads, and needles. You can download the free sewing pattern for free. It's not large so you can take it anywhere you'd take a small handbag.
If you are looking to upcycle something in your home, you can see how I reused a ladies' wallet to carry all the essential supplies sans the hoop. Or maybe a hanging travel toiletry bag would suit you. A soft cloth zip lunch bag works perfectly as an embroidery tote.
NOTE: Avoid vinyl lunchboxes as they leech lead into your skin. And remember, modern-day oilcloth is just vinyl laminate, not actual oilcloth.
My grandmother had an an old-fashioned travel make-up case that carried her needlework. If you have a portable sewing case you love, but still have a fear of losing needles, sew up one of these Travel Pincushions. It closes with a 4" purse clasp so needles stay put inside and won't get loose.
At the very least, you can use a ziplock bag to gather those few items you need and throw them in the glovebox of the car or the outer pocket of a backpack or small suitcase.
Flying with scissors
If you are traveling with scissors restrictions, then cut some strands of embroidery thread before you go and pack the scissors in the checked-in luggage.
Traveling gracefully with needles
Air travel with sewing needles is not restricted but is allowed at the discretion of airport security agents. I generally keep a threaded needle in my work so they can see its intended purpose easily and quickly. Avoid the stress of having all your embroidery needles randomly taken away: pack the majority in checked bags.
Use a needle case for needles so they don't get lost, or glue a strip of magnet (or one of those local business-card sized magnets from your plumber or vet) to the inside of a small Altoid's tin and keep your needles there. You can also buy magnetic needle cases at fabric stores.
Where can you take your stitchery?
• to the local cafe
• doctor appointments
• family get-togethers and visits
• vacation by the beach or on the ski slopes
• to a crafternoon
• on long drives (please be the passenger)
• hospital stays or visiting a sick friend
• concerts in the park
My stitchery goes where I go. Arm yourself with needle and thread and get out there and make something!
Woo-hoo! It's graduation day and you've completed Embroidery School.
You can be very proud of yourself for taking some YOU time all for yourself, unplugging, engaging your hands and skills. Or perhaps you used the series to teach someone else. Fabulous!
What's next? Several "students" contacted me, separately as they are from all over the world, and with their feedback, I have designed a series of embroidery patterns and samplers I think you'll enjoy.
Don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter to keep in touch as I will be continuing to offer instruction and patterns to keep you rolling in YOU time, whether alone in your cozy armchair or with best friends at a cafe.