Long haul

§ May 25th, 2008 § Filed under Life, Students, Work, etc., Travel § 29 Comments

Thanks, everyone, for the comments on the Ribby Cardi! I have been wearing it everywhere, even though it has been quite warm here during the day. The Eco+ is unfortunately already showing a tendency towards pilling with all this wear, and I hope that will not be a continued problem.

It will soon be too warm to wear all the wool sweaters, and I am packing them up. I took this picture for Swapna, who recently commented about imagining my cupboard full of handknits – they are not quite enough to fill a cupboard, but they are a decent pile and do nicely! I’m surprised that I don’t have more reds. Have to remedy that.


It is also that time of year again, when I go home to India and this blog features more food and travel than knitting. Except that this time, I am going not just for the summer but for a year’s research trip. I have waited six long years after graduating for some time off from teaching, and this is some hard-earned leave to do archival research for a second project. I am eager to get my hands dirty in the archives again and start working on relatively uncharted territory. For many reasons, it’s not the trip I had hoped for and looked forward to, and am anxious about how it will turn out. But one big plus, other than being able to spend so much time at length at home with my folks, is that the project will most likely take me to places I have never visited in the south and east of India. So I am excited!

All this is a preamble to saying that I will be blogging from India over the next year. Some of it will be about food, some about travel, random observations about lots of things, and some raving and ranting about work. Even though initially it will be too hot to knit, I will have lots of time and opportunity to keep the fingers flying, and so I am trying to estimate how much yarn I should take with me, which is easier said than done.


I plan to buy some acrylic yarns locally while I’m there, Swapna has most wonderfully arranged to get me some Pony rosewood needles, plus my mum already has all the notions I will need. But it’s not stopping me from trying to take my entire stash with me, and clothes and books and yarn and patterns are already overflowing out of my long-haul suitcase. Planning for that long a time away from my set up here is inducing tremendous anxiety as it is; tossing some knitting into it should be easy, but of course it’s not. Believe me, I am usually a light traveller and am taking this opportunity to freecyle and donate lots of things in the house, but am also suffering from an acute case of “but what if I need it?” syndrome, and an insane wish to pack books that have remained unread on my shelf for years. Also, all the patterns I want to knit right now seem to be, strangely enough, in thick, hardback pattern books.

So see you all soon on the other side of the world. But in the meantime, do tell: if you had to plan for a year away from your usual knitting routine, or even your usual non-knitting routine, what would you take and what would you leave behind?

Oh, and finally, did you see the cool “Ravel it” buttons on the left sidebar above each free pattern link? Ravelry offers a nice little html code to the pattern page and tells you the number of people making it – 118 people have made the Rangoli Hat! Okay, so it’s not Clapotis, but I had never imagined that so many people would knit it. It is most thrilling. I updated the pattern recently to correct some errors and suggestions people had pointed out, so if you downloaded it before May 22, do download the fresh 3.0 version.

29 Responses to “Long haul”

  • Lola LB says:

    I’m looking forward to your posts from India! I’ve always wanted to go there, and I’m fascinated by sarees. I’d like it i ometime during the year, you could do some posts about sarees and how much a part of the Indian culture this fashion is.

  • Michelle says:

    I’ve so enjoyed your posts from India in the past, I’m really looking forward them again! As far as packing for the long haul I’d pack the needles I use most, size 3 and 5 needles in a length appropriate for magic loop.

    The unexpected adventures usually turn into the most fruitful. Bon Voyage!

  • It is that time already?! OMG time flies. Happy traveling, and I know there will be plenty of posts soon that will make me severely jealous, and sometimes weep.

  • spudsayshi says:

    Safe travels!

    When I packed up for a six month trip, I brought a lot of sock yarn with appropriate needle, a couple of other circulars in sizes that I often use, and… that’s it. I trusted to Russia to provide alternative knitting stimulation. Which it did. Oh, also, I trusted to you to send me a stitch pattern I wanted. Which you did. And I thank you again, and offer to do the same should the need arise.

    Also, your pile of hand knits looks lovely, and makes me want to do the same. Except that I’ve recently been thinking of frogging at least two sweaters.

  • Anne says:

    Oh that’s so exciting! I know how rough it is packing for a year away, but at the same time, all that travel and opportunity for research and… unfortunately, I wasn’t a knitter until after all my major traveling was over, so I’m not much help with advice on that.

    (I have 3 semesters left of grad school and I’m trying to decide whether to do a second MA or go for my PhD, and I’m dreaming of doing research in Chile, hence the disgusting enthusiasm ;-) )

  • Swapna says:

    Ooh, thanks for the picture! Not as many as I’d have thought, then, but definitely way out of my league (unless I’d kept all the baby sweaters I’ve ever made and piled them up). What you lack is some yellow. And lighter shades of blue. Not your colours?
    I can’t imagine going away for a year, but if I did, it’d probably be to somewhere else in India, which has about the same sort of availability of yarn and notions all over. So probably I’d pack my interchangeables and my hook box, and notions bag, and yarn for a couple of projects. Now, if I were going to live in almost any other country (western hemisphere), I’d be in heaven imagining all the yarn shops – assuming I’d have an income to use. And my laptop of course, where most of my patterns live.
    No yellow?

  • Mel says:

    Well, I look forward to reading my way through the monsoons and the fall/winter. And if you happen to be anywhere near Delhi come next March, maybe we can actually meet up.

  • Ruth says:

    How exciting! I will look forward to hearing about your adventures and frustrations in the archives. If you take too little yarn, I’m sure there are plenty of us (including me!) who would be willing to send you some more.

  • Mrs. Hipp says:

    Oh goodie! I so loved reading your posts from India last summer. I’m looking forward to seeing what you will be showing us over the next year. And I have your Rangoli hat in my Ravelry queue, so it should be up to at least 120 projects in the near future! :) Good luck trying to figure out what knitting projects to pack.

  • Tracy says:

    Ooh, that pile is entrancing! I was struck by something about the colors, and I slowly realized it looks like an array of natural dye colors. Very interesting, very beautiful. (very jealous over here – I only have a small pile of accessories to show for myself….)

    Going for a year. That is a tough packing job, for sure. Since India is my favorite clothes-shopping destination, I would worry very little about packing clothes, stick with only my irreplaceable favorites, and devote more suitcase room to things I know I can’t find there.

    Our knitting styles are so different, it’s useless to say what I’d take or not take – and I usually visit a place in India where I can get decent 50/50 yarn that I love to knit with (lots of chatter about that on the Rav thread,) so I rarely pack yarn to go to India. But traveling in the south & east, you’ll need some. I’d also pack needles that are unavailable there, such as US sizes 7-10, and circulars.

    Interesting to note: I’m just now knitting a Rangoli hat, from yarn I bought in Ladakh! It 50/50 wool/acrylic, but very very soft, and almost the same color as the sample in your pattern. So, you’re in my thoughts! Happy travels, and say Namaskar to India for me :)

  • stacey says:

    How exciting!!!!!!

  • Preeti says:

    That pile of knitting looks lovely!! And more knitting will be done while you are home away from home if you can squeeze your favourite yarn and a set of interchangeables into your suitcase. Monsoon knitting…how wonderful!!!

    Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures over the next year. Happy trails!!

  • Rima Aranha says:

    Happy archival work. India for a year.

    When I went to India earlier this year, I kinda forgot the real, academic purpose of my visit. I packed way too much yarn and craft (the “what if I need it” syndrome”). I am not going to talk you out of it, because there is no way out of it.

    Look forward to more news from another side of the world..

  • Amy says:

    Ooh, congratulations and I’m so looking forward to keeping up with your travels!!

    I would run around in circles and implode if I needed to pack a year’s worth of knitting. I’d probably go for a heavier mix of lace than usual, since it’s very space-thrifty. And I’d definitely just photocopy the desired patterns. :)

    Hope your travels there are unadventurous!

  • rukaya says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and am looking forward to reading your posts from India! Wish you good luck with your research and everything else!

  • exiting, have fun, and no teaching? sounds perfect even though you allude to some non perfect aspect. do relax, take as much stash as you can and buy more to bring back. -enable-enable-enable-enable.

  • =Tamar says:

    I think I would take several sets of fine needles – 2.0mm and 2.25mm, with spares – and laceweight yarn, and focus on fine knitting patterns.

  • pamela wynne says:

    woo! congrats on the research trip! I so enjoyed your blogging last summer — excited that there will be more. :)

    what’s the second book project??

  • lobstah says:

    What exciting news! I hope you have a wonderful trip and enjoy every moment of it. I know I am going to be so jealous when I see the delicious food photos that I know you’ll be posting (ahem, ahem).
    I can’t even imagine trying to figure out what to bring for yarn!

  • Megan s says:

    I am so looking forward to your posts from India! Will you include photos as well? Best of luck in your research.

  • Georgia says:

    Hi- I’m new to your blog, just as you go on a great adventure. I say, don’ take anything. Start fresh, and see where you end up. :-)

  • peacockchic says:

    yeah!! how cool! can’t wait to hear all about India!

  • Karma says:

    I can’t wait to read your posts from India! I’m not much help with the packing though. I packed pretty lightly when I went to India, knowing that I would want to buy clothes and fabrics while I was there, but I was only gone for a summer, not a whole year!

  • mazhalai says:

    Super late maybe… but better late than never
    hope you have a wonderful trip!!!
    Will you be going to Pune?
    Where else?
    And must say your hand knitted collection is super cool!
    Last but not least – kodos on the Rangoli pattern!!

  • mazhalai says:

    sorry i meant kudos not kodos :D

  • femiknitter says:

    Wow, have a wonderful year away! It sounds like it’s going to be an amazing adventure for you, both academically and personally. I’m interested to read your post during this upcoming trip. I’m totally jealous that your job allows for this. Sometimes I seriously wonder if I made the right decision leaving academia!

    Hmm, what to take is a difficult question. If I were going on a year trip, I think I would take a really challenging larger project (but not too large!)–like a fair isle sweater in a tiny gauge. Or an intricate lace stole. Then, I would likely bring yarn for some smaller projects, like socks, etc. You can always pick up yarn here and there for hats, scarves, etc. I have no idea if that helps you, but that’s what I would likely do!

  • Hope you have a safe trip and good fun in India.

  • Magalie says:

    Oh my goodness! One whole year–wow, that is great! Maybe you can learn to weave rather than knit, that would be one of the best places to learn in S. India! That is, if you have an interest in weaving.

    Dang…I really should become an Academician!
    I wish you all the best.

  • roggey says:

    Good luck with your travels and the time of research! I look forward to your blog on a daily basis, and now can’t wait to read about your life in India, at home, traveling and the food!

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