Knitting on Vacation: Unexpected Solutions for Common Problems

Sometimes when you are on vacation you forget some of your tools at home. . . sometimes this is a great opportunity to shop at the local yarn shop. Sometimes there is no local yarn shop!

Here are my most recent funny problems and my solutions:

Problem: No stitch markers, only fresh cherries . . .

Where there is a will there’s a way. Cherry stems twisted like pretzels make great stitch markers when your needles are a US size 8 or smaller. Who knew? Of course you can always used waste yarn but it isn’t as much fun, or as delicious.


Problem: Special Order single ply yarn seems to be overspun. . . swatch is slanting . . .

I swatched about 5 times, changed the needle size, made a large swatch, a small swatch. . .  The swatch was twisting. I wanted to make a coat from the 2,000 yards I had special ordered in a beautiful slate color. But if the yarn is overspun and causing even a small swatch to torque, then  coat could be a disaster.  What to do?

I am convinced there are at least 3 solutions to every problem:

Possible Solution NO. 1: Forget about the coat. Make something where the torque would not only not matter but might make the design more fabulous.  An infinity cowl or wrap. One of these swallowtail garments/wraps.

Possible Solution NO. 2: Forget about the coat. Make a wrap that has sleeves, even sleeves with big bells, asymmetrical, wraps around the body. . . say yes to the torque.

Possible Solution NO 3: Don’t forget about the coat! I was taking the end from the inside of the ball. . . I teased the end through the middle of the ball to the other side of the ball. Taking the end out of the other side of the ball actually changes the twist that is put on the yarn as a result simply of taking it out of the middle of the ball. [Don’t think that taking the end from the outside of the ball will change anything. If the ball is sitting on the floor and you are knitting from it, the strand will either be more twisted or less twisted depending on whether the ball is put down on one flat end or the other. . . This can make a BIG difference in the twist of the yarn.

When I teased the end through the ball to the other side, it was no longer over-twisted. I swatched again and the swatch was lovely. Perfectly straight! Whew. New coat on the needles soon!


Problem: Need Fingering Weight Yarn for Noni Flowers stamens but don’t have any . . .

Solution: Divide a 3-ply strand into a single strand and a 2-ply strand. Use either the 1-ply or 2-ply, depending on which better fits the bill.


Problem: Want to teach a child to knit on a Southwest Flight. . . No needles only yarn.

Solution: They have great coffee stirrers on Southwest, little red sticks with little hearts on the ends. The gauge is about a US size 7 and works perfectly with worsted weight yarn. I taught a little boy to knit on a flight to Texas once. He showed just about everyone his little swatch. . .

What innovative solution have you come up with for a knitting-away-from-home situation you didn’t expect?  I’d love to hear from you!

3 thoughts on “Knitting on Vacation: Unexpected Solutions for Common Problems

    • I love it! In a similar spirit, the other day I did a 3-needle bind off using the part of your classes that goes over your ear as the proverbial 3rd needle. Worked great because all my other spare needles were in the trunk of the car!

  1. I have knit once with chopsticks that I use for putting my hair up! Worked for me!
    And for a stitch markers I used bobby pins. See for every problem is always a solution!

    Thanks for sharing your stories!
    Your Knitgrl

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