Bringing an amigurumi project with you while travelling can be a challenge. You need to think about the space consuming stuffing, the eyes, any other add-ons, plus the yarn. Sure, you could make your life easier and make a one skein scarf while travelling, but where is the fun in that!? Sometimes your queue is full of amigurumi patterns and you really want to make them. Or, maybe you have a deadline to make one as a gift. Whatever the case, I am here to help you prepare an amigurumi project to go.
- Dealing with the stuffing situation
First, the stuffing issue. I think this is what makes amigurumi less travel friendly than other projects. As an ami designer, however, I need to be able to make and design them wherever I go, so I have some practice.
One option is to not bring any stuffing with you, leaving you more room in your luggage for other things, such as underwear. If you choose a pattern that allows you to do most of the crocheting and even some of the assembly BEFORE you need to stuff, you can wait to stuff and close the ami until you return back home. My large amis (Koko the Owl, Bobby the bumble bee, Harry the moustache, Flora the bunny rabbit, and Walden the narwhal) are great for this. Because they are large they take longer to crochet and are more likely to last your entire trip. Plus, some of their pieces don’t require stuffing so you can even attach them before returning home. None of the appendages of my Bobby the bumble bee pattern require stuffing, and only the beak of Koko the owl needs to be stuffed (and only a very small amount!).
If you are going to be leaving your ami with whomever you are visiting, you could simply buy the stuffing when you get to your destination. Or, you could bring some with you, but try to make it as compact as possible. I like to put my stuffing in a zip-lock bag (as much as I can stuff in) and then suck all the air out of it as I close it so it shrinks. Stuffing can be compressed into a very small package! Just make sure you use a high quality bag with a good seal.
Bringing stuffing with you only works if you aren’t bringing the ami back home with you, however, because once the stuffing is in your ami, you won’t want to squish it to fit it in your suitcase! Unless…
Depending on how long your trip is, you could choose to make a little ami, such as little Bobby the bumble bee, little Walden the narwhal, or little Flora the bunny. They wouldn’t take up as much space in your luggage, before or after, but they are also faster to make so may not last your trip.
2. Yarn decisions
The easiest option is to choose an amigurumi pattern that only requires one colour. Both my Flora the bunny rabbit and little Flora patterns are ideal for this. The entire body, ears and legs are all one colour, and while you could make their tail a different colour, this isn’t necessary. The tail is also so small, you would need only a small amount of yarn if you really wanted it to be different.
If you do want to make an ami in more than one colour, make sure you have enough of each colour – you may need to weigh the yarn if you are bringing partial skeins to see how much you have left. It may be ideal to bring partial skeins, actually, to reduce the amount you need to carry.
I recommend placing all your yarn into a zip-lock bag. You can press out all the air and compress the yarn (like for the stuffing), plus it will protect the yarn from snags and liquids.
3. All the other tools and notions
You really need to plan ahead to figure out what you need to pack. If you are using yarn you have never used before for amis, test different hooks with it before you leave to see which size creates the best fabric so you know which hook to pack.
Read you pattern fully before departing. Do you need a certain number of stitch markers? Will you need a yarn needle? Felt? What sized eyes? You may actually want to bring two extra sets of eyes: a size up and a size down from the the ones recommended by the pattern. Your ami may come out a different size than pattern’s sample.
You also want to read the pattern to make sure you understand it fully – you don’t want to sit down on the train only to find out you can’t even begin the project because it makes no sense. Also decide whether you want to print your pattern, or, my preference, have it downloaded on your phone or tablet.
And don’t forget your scissors! But what if you are flying? Children’s scissors, with blunt tips, that are less than 4″ long are generally allowed. Your knitting needles and crochet hooks should be ok, too, but maybe don’t bring your super expensive favourites, just in case. Of course, double check the rules for your country AND the one you are visiting! You should be able to find all the info you need with a simple google search.
Bring along a nice little travelling pouch, such as a pencil case, to place all your crochet goodies in so that you don’t misplace any of it – and always place an item back into it right after you have finished using it so you don’t lose it down some chair crack or other such hole of no return.
Finally, consider bringing a headlamp in case you find yourself wanting to crochet your ami in the dark (plus, headlamps are great to have when travelling in general anyway). If you use one in the car, however, make sure it isn’t distracting to the driver!
The main thing is to plan ahead so you don’t leave behind anything that you will need to make your amigurumi.