Travel Knitting: Vaycays

Here I had all this knitting packed, and for the remainder of our travels, I only knit on one thing.

It all started with this yarn, spun by my mom and plied by me. (Funnily enough, plied when N was almost the exact age that M is now.) The gobstopper yarn, as I have called it, is a long gradient with slightly odd colors that started as a Loop batt that mom bought at Maryland Sheep & Wool (ugh, just glancing at Loop’s etsy site makes me want one so bad). The finished yarn hung fetchingly on the wall of the yarn room in our Ambridge home for nearly two years. I was waiting for the exact moment that I would have no obligations on my knitting, and I just needed something fun and delicious and easy to knit.

And I knew just what I wanted to make with it: a true mobius cowl.



Since my ball winder is on a boat, I wound the first ball by hand while we drove up to Baltimore to go to the O’s game. I did a mobius cast on as we drove home. My cast on number was an absolute guess, based on the probable gauge and the vague idea of a small infinity scarf. I decided on a simple moss stitch – like seed stitch but double the height – for no other reason than “it seemed about right.” Also, it’s reversible, which is important but not essential for the mobius thing.

Keeping me company in the rental car while I hang out with a baby who fell asleep on the drive from Mountainview to Aptos, CA.

So a mobius, if you didn’t know, is a strip that only has one edge. How does this work? It has a half twist in it. Let your brain ruminate on that for a while. You’d think this would be accomplished just by twisting your work when you join in a circle, but no dice (that’s a full twist, not a half twist). Knitting a mobius involves casting on the middle of the strip, both edges at once (since it’s actually one edge), and working your way out.

Lost yet? Good. You should go buy Cat Bordhi’s book; she’s the one who came up with it. Supposedly, her motto is, “there must be a more difficult way to do that.” A woman after my own heart!

Anyway, the point for me was that, working from the center out, this would be an entertainingly symmetrical application of a gradient yarn.

I would the second ball in another rental car, in Rhode Island.

The cowl accompanied me all over the highways of Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA…


All around the highways of Rhode Island and bits of Connecticut and Massachusetts…


And up into Ottawa.


I finished it while playing “Lords of Waterdeep” (a DnD-based board game) and drinking Canadian beer. Probably the last time I’ll be doing either of those things for a while. That moment was in every way the culmination of our travels.

I definitely miscalculated on size; to get the cowl I wanted, I should have cast on many more stitches. I suppose this is because the half-twist takes away some of the circumference, and the gauge was smaller than I expected. Still, it nestles perfectly around my neck, the twist making it a little smaller in front. It’s so wide that it can be pulled up into a hood in a pinch, but it’s not too bulky when worn normally.


I wove in the ends on our first full day in Iqaluit. What a lovely vacation! Now that it’s over, it’s back to socks…

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