How to Pack for a Crafty Road Trip

Summer is for road trips – crafty road trips – and one of the things I love most when a trip is looming is planning the project(s) I’ll bring with me.

(Ok, sometimes by “favourite” I mean “most stressful.”)

It’s a deserted-island kind of situation, planning a crafty project for a trip. It doesn’t even matter if I’m traveling to attend a craft-related conference – during the packing stage it always feels as if I’ll never be near a craft store again in my life, and so I must pack everything I might possibly need. And not only for the obvious project I’m already working on, but also for the three or four other projects I must bring in case I get stranded at an airport for seven months and finish my in-progress project on the first day.

At the beginning of summer, with camping trips looming, I feel a special kind of packing excitement/anxiety. Because in addition to the traveling part, there are the very specific considerations of lots of time spent in a cramped moving vehicle and lots of time spent outdoors.

I’ve started compiling a list of tools and materials I take with me (all of it if it’s a long trip, a selection for shorter trips).

Obviously, crochet and knitting projects are my general jam, and they’re great for lots of time in the car. (Also obviously, I never travel with blanket projects. Way too big, way too much stuff, guaranteed to get dirty and/or ruined.)

And so I always travel with my knitting-needle kit and a variety of crochet hook sizes. You never know when you’ll need a replacement, or when you’ll pop into a yarn shop in a far-off town and simply have to start a project with the locally made yarn you discovered.

If I’m going away for more than a few days, I always get it into my head that I’ll want to keep a travel journal, or at least add stuff into my bullet journal. (Do I? Rarely. But I always plan to do this anyway.) So I keep a small pouch with double-sided tape in it, and I always bring a few of my favourite pens and also a variety of markers or gel pens.

This summer, I have it in mind to make some proper friendship bracelets. I was a fiend for friendship bracelets when I was a kid, especially when I was away at overnight camp. They’re so much fun to make, so easily portable, and so satisfying to give away.

And since I’m going to bring embroidery floss for bracelets, I’ll also prep an embroidery project. Or, now that I think of it, I’ll pack up the sampler I started last summer.

What would you add to the list?

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Welcome, Costco Readers!

Managing a writing project through small steps, by Kim Werker – Costco Connection July-August 2018

I occasionally write a business column for the Canadian edition of the Costco Connection magazine. Looks like the Back to School issue is already out!

Everything I know about managing a big writing project I learned in 7th grade. Read about it right here.

I didn’t have much space in there to explain what it was in 7th grade that made such an impact, though.

That was the year, as I say in the article, that I was assigned my first proper science report (it was about starfish). The kicker was that the report was marked both by my science teacher and by my English teacher. Each student received two grades – one on the science content and one on the writing.

I’m not sure if my teachers’ goal was to make a life-changing impact, but their decision to team up sure conveyed the importance of good writing, no matter the topic. At the age of twelve, I learned very well that writing is not only an English-class thing. Writing is everything.

When I wrote Make It Mighty Ugly, I used colour-coded index cards just like I had for my starfish report when I was a tween. Several times as I was writing the book, I spread the cards out all over the floor and moved them around to get the flow of information just right. And just like when I was in grade 7, I’d then pile them up in order, take one from the top, and write and write and write.

If this is your first time here, hello and welcome! I write about creativity and making things, and it’s my firm belief that using our hands and imagination together is a key to a happy life, whether we make masterpieces or total messes (or both). Subscribe to my newsletter to fuel your creative life no matter what you make (or want to make).

Camp Thundercraft 2018 Was an Amazing Business Retreat

I was thrilled to debut my new Email for Personal Connection class at Camp Thundercraft! This is the first in a new series of classes I’m preparing that focus in one way or another on writing.

There are loads of courses and tutorials for how to set up an email list, how to build your list and how to get into the nitty-gritty of using any of the wide variety of email platforms, but there aren’t many resources out there about what to actually say in your emails.

Email for Personal Connection walks small business owners through the steps of identifying their most salient and important stories – the big ones that define their business and the small ones that provide peeks behind the scenes – and then establishing an editorial calendar and clear workflow to make the work of prepping and sending emails low-stress and high-impact.

Look for an online version of the class in coming weeks!

Now, for the event itself. Camp Thundercraft is a retreat for indie craft business owners, held at an actual summer camp on Vashon Island, near Seattle. Campers sleep in cabins and otherwise enjoy the camp setting, bordering on both the woods and water. Even in the pouring rain, it was such a welcome getaway to be out in nature this early in the spring. (And the food was amazing.)

For a relatively small retreat, there’s a huge variety of classes and programming running the gamut of business topics and including lots of hands-on crafting. I took both Blair Stocker’s class on sashiko embroidery and Yuko Miki‘s class on block printing on fabric. I’ve long wanted to try sashiko (man, are my stitches uneven!), and even though I’ve done lots of stamp carving over the years, I learned a ton about printing on fabric, specifically, in Yuko’s amazing class.

I so enjoyed this retreat, and I’m already looking forward to going back next year.

Crafting for a Change: Vogue Knitting Holiday 2017

Crafting for a Change, in Vogue Knitting Holiday 2017

I am not a fan of the word guru. Guru is what we call people who know a lot about something but don’t have a job title related to it, or who work in or around that topic in a variety of ways but aren’t defined by any one. I’m often described as a “crochet guru.” (If I’m asked for input on the matter, I usually request they just go with author or instructor.)

So I especially love that when she wrote about me in the Holiday 2017 issue of Vogue Knitting, Lee Ann Dalton called me “crochet genius.”

I mean, I’m not a genius, but I’m not a guru either. I’ll take genius any day.

Which is all to say: You guys, Lee Ann Dalton wrote about me, and specifically about craftivism, in the Holiday 2017 issue of Vogue Knitting. She also called me an “intrepid Canadian craftivist.” I’ll take that one happily.

I meant to mention this when the issue was still on newsstands. Um, four months ago. But better late than never, right? Maybe back issues are still available?

The beret I’m wearing in the photo above is one of the patterns from my Crochet in the Round class, and the spiral hat next to it is the free Hat for Science.

 

New Class! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripples and Waves

I have never been excited about a new class like I’m excited about this one! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripples & Waves is all about my absolute favourite kind of project to crochet. (Uh, obviously, zigzags, ripples, waves, chevrons – whatever you call them.) Come learn how to bend stripes into cool shapes, from spiky chevrons to gentle waves. With texture or lace, and always with colour!

I designed the class around a baby-blanket pattern made in machine-washable yarn (as every baby blanket should be), and I walk you through the project from beginning to end.

There’s loads more in class, too! Learn how to use a zigzag pattern to make a project of any size, from a scarf to a king-size blanket. Explore how yarn weight and gauge affect the size of your projects, play with loads of colour, and learn how to handle all the pesky ends you have to deal with when you work in stripes. Discover how to make a wide variety of patterns, including the feather and fan pattern I’m using to make this epic scarf, and learn how to introduce variations into patterns so you can alter the way they look.

Get Crocheting!

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