Travelling with Beads?

We probably should’ve addressed this earlier this summer, but at least we’ll have it out here for the holiday season and next summer, right?

OK, taking your beading with you when you travel can be a bit of a challenge.  The best travel beading is probably bead crochet, because your beads are all strung on the cord and safely contained.  Crochet needles are usually allowed on public transportation and planes with no problems.  You don’t have to add thread, so scissors or cutters can be in checked luggage.  Win-win, right? 

Unless you wait till your’re moving to start the project.  Starting a bead crochet project is the most challenging part of the whole thing, and it isn’t unusual to rip it out a few times before you are happy with it.  Your life will be far more pleasant if you work the first 2 or 3 inches at home.

Travelling with bead weaving can be more complicated, but can be done with a bit of planning.  First, you want a beading surface that will keep your beads contained, separated, and relatively easy to reach.  And that can get past security easily.  Thin plastic “pencil boxes” sold with school supplies are nice, especially with the vellux bead mats stuck in place.  I’ve seen them with two layers of mat on the bottom glued together, with circles cut out of the top one to make little pits to hold the beads on one side.  Putting one or two layers of mat on top and closing the lid will keep them safe and separated.  You can also include your work in process if it fits, along with pre-threaded needles.  Keep most of your beads in little plastic bags or plastic tubes in your purse, so if something happens, you’re not frantically scrabbling to recover 7 grams of Delicas from the seat and carpet.

One word of advice – get the “book strap” wide elastic bands and wrap one around the whole thing to keep it closed tight.  Those little latches will pop open at the worst possible time.

Take your own beading style into account before choosing a project for the road.  If you like to sightsee or talk to seatmates, peyote patterns might not be a good choice.  Coral-type fringe, tubular herringbone, and spiral ropes are usually good travel projects. 

And when beading poolside or on the beach, always remember that more than 3 umbrella-drinks can have disasterous effects on your tension.  Or good effects, depending. 

Have fun!!

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