When starting a long journey such as this one (we hope to be four months on the road), my first concern was how on earth I was going to have room for enough yarn to keep me going for all that time, particularly as we will be doing some long train and bus journeys. A lot of thinking went into it, but I decided in the end to go with the advice of the wonderful Gigi from the Knitmore Girls podcast and take:
- Yarn for a sweater (I decided on a cone of dove grey sportweight)
- Yarn for a shawl (400g of laceweight natural brown cashmere)
- Yarn for a pair of socks (a skein of Artists Palette in bright pinks)
And at the last minute I threw in a spare skein of sock yarn, which I had been knitting into a shawl but didn’t like. That skein has already been 2/3 used and is my first FO on the road:
This is the Changing Seasons Beanie pattern, which I modified by casting on 100 stitches and increasing to 110, and knitting to 7 inches before starting the crown decreases. I didn’t bother recalculating for the crown decreases so mine are uneven, but as the hat is slouchy it doesn’t really show up. I also knitted back and forth rather than in the round as it was garter stitch. The yarn is Mountain Colours sock weight, in the colourway Northern Lights, and has been one of my special skeins for a while. I didn’t like the colourflashes in a stocking stitch shawl, but they have come up much better in garter stitch, and in a hat, rather than worn at the neck against other clothing. I wore the hat every time we went outside for 48 hours through Vienna and Bratislava as we hit heavy rain and wind in both cities, and I was very thankful for it.
I needn’t have worried about having enough yarn – there have been yarn shops aplenty on our route so far! In Paris I was unlucky, as the shop we visited (Oisive The – yarn and tea):
were still away on their summer break and the shop was closed. Luxembourg had better offerings, and I visited two yarn shops in the same street
Mercerie le Fil Dorée (rue des Bains), which stocked yarn (mostly Rowan and Debbie Bliss) and quilting supplies (I bought some desperately needed needles and good quality black thread for repairs on route), and Wollbuttek (also rue des Bains)
which had a fantastic stock of Lang yarns, and I picked up a skein of grey Pashmina (cashmere and merino) for another, more soberly coloured, hat further along the route.
In Trier I found Wolle Roedel (in Fleischstrasse), which had a great window display of modern-traditional designs for the Volksfest season (as did many clothes shops through Germany and my young cousins told me that traditional dress is currently quite fashionable, with a modern take).
They had run out of the pattern leaflet unfortunately or I would have picked it up, but I expect I will be able to use other patterns to make something similar; and in Vienna I found the cute shop Wolle by literally walking past, and succumbed to a skein of Schoppenwolle sock yarn in the colourway “It’s Teatime” (the 48 hours of continual rain made me desperate for hand knit wool socks!)
I had searched online for yarn shops in Bratislava, but hadn’t had much success however this morning walked right past this textile shop (in Cintorinska street),
which sold yarn, notions, sewing trimmings and cooking and kitchen ware (an interesting concept). The yarn was mostly acrylic although quite nice acrylic, and I remembered when researching yarn before a trip to Prague recently that acrylic’s moth-proof, machine washable and hard wearing characteristics are favoured in Eastern Europe. I browsed but the acrylic didn’t tempt me at this stage – although if I start to run low on yarn later in the journey I’d be only too happy to buy some!
Our train journey today takes us from Bratislava to Budapest, and I have, after a few days swatching for size, started in earnest on the Ethereal Shawl pattern with the cashmere I have brought along. Before our journey I had been eyeing some cashmere pashminas, and although the colour of my cashmere yarn is not very interesting, it is soft and warm and will be perfect for cold nights and overly air conditioned bus/train rides in future.