Parallels Between Camping and Knitting

Returning from a trip where I introduced Thor to camping, I was struck with the similarities between introducing someone to camping and introducing someone to knitting.

Ensure comfort.

Knitting:  When teaching a new knitter, make sure she is physically comfortable. An environment that is warm, inviting and friendly allows your student to relax – a useful condition when learning an art that can be intimidating!

erasepic_MondokingCamping:  A good, comfortable night’s sleep is of critical importance.  While Thor already had a good sleeping bag, he had no sleeping pad.  A friend loaned us his MondoKing – Therm-a-Rest’s luxury open-cell foam, self-inflating mats.

A little whimsy is good.

erasepic_PonyNeedleserasepic_PeaceFleeceNeedlesKnitting:  My favorite needles – Addi Turbos – look boring (at least, that’s what Granddaughter F told me). Try a fun pair, such as those on the left made by Peace Fleece or on the right made by Pony that I bought for Granddaughter F.  (She gave each needle its own name – Olav and Marlene.  Yes, odd, I know.  According to my daughter, “Olav” is my granddaughter’s new favorite name, from a character in the feature-length cartoon “Frozen.”)

erasepic_PlatesCamping:  At a sporting good stores, I discovered a close out sale on six piece BPA-free outdoor meal kits made by Swedish company Light My Fire.  I bought two kits – one in green and the other in red.  (In this picture, I left the red kit packed up but unpacked the green kit so you can see what fits in a single kit!)  When I pulled them out of a pack, Thor’s face lit up with a grin.  A great combination: both fun and eminently useful!

Strength goes without saying.

erasepic_BrownSheepKnitting:  Be sure to have your knitter use a yarn that doesn’t pill or shred. One of my favorite yarns to use with beginners is Brown Sheep‘s Lamb’s Pride worsted (85% wool, 15% mohair). The yarn’s strength and its single ply means your new knitter is less likely to be frustrated by breaking the yarn or splitting the ply.

erasepic_StretchPreludeCamping:  Through the 1980s and ’90s, my daughter and I camped a lot and in all seasons. After a couple of uncomfortable camping trips on the Pacific Coast, in 1989 I invested in Sierra Design‘s excellent 4-season Prelude tent (now discontinued).  I bought it when Sierra Designs was still making its tents in Berkeley, California – about a mile from where we lived at the time.  (Now the tents are made oversees and imported.)  Our tent has a beautiful blue rain fly.  After almost 30 years, our Prelude continues to be a wonderful tent; it certainly kept Thor and me warm and snug when the evening temperatures plummeted.

Beauty always. 

erasepic_colorwheelKnitting:  Use a beautiful color yarn when you introduce your student to knitting. Bring a couple of skeins of appropriate yarns in attractive colors and let your student pick her favorite.

erasepic_RogueRiverCamping:  To ease Thor into camping, I took him to the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest. We camped at Natural Bridge Campground, on the banks of the Rogue River and about 20 miles away from Crater Lake.  That’s Wizard Island in the middle of the lake.  (It’s hard to take a bad picture of that lake!)  Scenic hikes and walks called erasepic_CraterLaketo us! How could a new camper not enjoy such landscapes?  And lest I forget, the night-time star gazing was jaw-droppingly beautiful.  Except for the occasional shooting star, it was a bit like gazing upward at innumerable diamonds on black velvet.  It was hard to take our eyes off the stars and go into the tent to sleep.

Do not overwhelm.

Knitting:  Do not start your new knitter on a long project that might become either overwhelming or boring.  Better for the new knitter to start and finish a project that will not become the dreaded “never-ending project.”  Good projects for the new knitter include a pair of wristlets, a pair of fingerless mittens, a headband, a hat or a baby bonnet.

erasepic_treeserasepic_floweronriverCamping:  Don’t take the new camper on a marathon trip, even if where you camp offers all the “amenities” (e.g., flush toilets and hot showers).   We camped at a “primitive” site (vault toilets, no running water), but our camping trip was only three days and two nights.

Don’t rush; enjoy the saunter.

Knitting:  Give your knitting student some time to practice between knitting lessons/sessions.  This lets her find her way, as it were.

erasepic_walkalongrogueCamping:   It took us about 3.5 hours of drive time each way, but the scenery was so beautiful the drive was enjoyable too.  Our route took us through multiple national forests, and, binoculars in hand, we stopped at many viewpoints along the way.

erasepicThor’s favorite mountain peak was Mt. Thielsen (9,182f/2,799m).   Mine too.  🙂


Knitting & Camping:  On this trip I finished my fourth Pineapple Stacks hat (pattern by Rebecca Marsh)!


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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22 Responses to Parallels Between Camping and Knitting

  1. I think that is true!


  2. It was indeed gorgeous … I have visited the area in all seasons, and each has been beautiful! 🙂


  3. Thanks for reading! Thor isn’t thrilled about camping without plumbing. But, in my experience, the “best” camping places frequently lack plumbing! (Maybe that’s designed to keep out all but the most determined and hardiest!)


  4. Oh too bad you weren’t able to see it! The weather in June can be tricky up there. I’ve visited the lake several times during the middle of the winter too — it was gorgeous, at least on the winter visits where we could see the lake! 🙂


  5. And thank you for reading. (I thought the pictures of our camping trip turned out well – especially since they were quick snaps with my phone!) >


  6. Sometimes I think it is easier to teach a child to knit when there’s nothing else to do (i.e., no tv, e-devices, etc.). My daughter got introduced to knitting and needlepointing when she was a little girl and we were spending the summer with my grandmother in Norway – no tv and way before any sort of e-device. So for fun we hiked, walked or biked to town (no car, no bus service), picked garden produce and, in the evening there was knitting and various other handwork. (Good times!)



  7. tgonzales says:

    I always love reading about your thoughts. Thanks for sharing, YOU! Hugs, Tamara


  8. Curls & Q says:

    Q – Great analogy. LOL. BTW – we did a “quick-drop-by” Crater Lake in June on our way home from WA. As we approached the North Entrance, the weather was partly cloudy. The weather app said it was 70 at the Lake. Turned into the entrance and about 5 minutes down the road we were in a horrific snow storm. LOL! Did not know that’s what 70 deg. at the lake looked like. Thanks for the pic without snow.


  9. Great comparisons and those knitting needles are so pretty. I like camping if there is plumbing near by. 😉


  10. needleandspindle says:

    We have been employing similar strategies in introducing our children to camping. Riverside and spectacular tree camps, good food, warm nights, cooking on the fire and no hiking. What is not to fall in love with. I will admit though, I have not been quite so successful with teaching them to knit! You have knit as many Pineapple Stacks as me now…thank you. You give me a big thrill.


  11. Thanks – isn’t it fun that we see parallels between various activities and knitting/crocheting?! >


  12. I agree: A water tight tent, good sleeping pads and warm bags – well, without them a potentially great trip is ruined! I too am tall and so when buying my tent so many years ago insisted on stretching out in the floor models to ensure I had adequate space between my head and the tent wall and my feet and the opposite tent wall. I refused to consider a tent if I couldn’t do that! 🙂 >


  13. shellssells says:

    Love it, and so true. We’ve done a bunch of camping this year. I enjoy it more than I ever imagined, but Mr. Ink does not love it at all. He just tolerates it for me and Miss Bug. The agreement ended up being that he gets to bring an air mattress and we find a tent that fits his particularly tall body. We did both this year, and it certainly improves his disposition. Despite the fact that we camped in 38F in May for a couple nights, and went on a trip where it was cool and rained/stormed the entire time. We still weren’t grumpy, so the long tent and the air mattress seem to be working!


  14. Great comparison!


  15. You will HAVE to share those connections! 🙂



  16. I think it is important to try not to “relearn” all the lessons we receive from life. 🙂



  17. caityrosey says:

    I feel inspired to think of some connections between knitting and cooking, or dancing, or scrubbing the bathroom.


  18. You know the pattern … find knitting and fiber art links anywhere and everywhere! 🙂 >


  19. Interesting the way life lessons can apply in so many situations!


  20. sazcreates says:

    Frost?! Lol! What a beautiful place for a camping trip 🙂 great post! x


  21. caityrosey says:

    These are all such good insights.


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