Suggestions for portable crafts?

I’m looking for some crafts to do while I have to be somewhere but would rather be doing something else. Perhaps it’s time that I learn how to knit, since I’ve seen ladies knit at sporting events or while riding the bus.

I’ve come up with the following criteria for what makes a craft portable:

  1. Doesn’t have many components.
  2. Can be easily started and put away. (Minimal set up and clean up required)
  3. Won’t get messed up if hurriedly thrown into a bag.
  4. Can be done in limited space (such as on my lap).

The crafts that I do the most are nowhere close to being portable. Take beading for example. Even if I kept the beads in a small container with compartments, one accidental tip means all those beads will be scattered. A 5+ foot long thread in a crowded environment could easily get tangled and caught on things. Plus, the beading needle is sharp and will need to be put away carefully.

Wire working is also not portable, given the small components involved and the many tools.


Not portable at all. (The white line is seven feet of thread.)

These were the crafts that I could think of that seemed portable:

  1. Knitting and crochet. You have your needles or hook and yarn, and you’re set. I don’t know how easy it is to start from where you left off, but I’ve seen other people knit in public.
  2. Lanyards. Once they’re started, they’re very portable. I used to make all sorts of lanyards while in high school, but I’m not so interested in them now.
  3. Kumihimo. I’ve never done it before, but it looks portable, even when it’s done with beads. (Watch a demonstration here.) All you need is the disc, strings, and bobbins.
  4. Origami (some). It needs to be the kind that is done in one piece, as opposed to assembled from multiple pieces. Also, it needs to not get crushed easily. Paper stars sound like a good option.
  5. Some wire weaving might be portable if it was a small project that was already started and all I had to do was weave. There is a risk of it getting disfigured during transit.

Have you done any of the crafts that I mentioned above and can comment on their portability? Can you think of other crafts that meet my criteria for portability?


11 thoughts on “Suggestions for portable crafts?

  1. Knit, crochet and cross stitch seem like the crafts most likely to survive a sporting event where you have limited room and might get bumped. I haven’t done kumihimo, but, like macrame, it has a lot of threads to get tangled and snagged. Have you seen those kits that have all the stuff to make felt ornaments? Once you get the pieces cut out, they could be somewhat portable.
    My stand-by no concentration-needed pasttime is crossword puzzles. You don’t make anything, but you feel smarter when you’re done!! (I cut out the newspaper crosswords and stick them to a piece of cardboard that is small enough to fit in my purse)

    • Thanks for your suggestions! I actually thought cross stitch wouldn’t be portable, since there are the different threads and the pattern, and there’s the needle to be concerned about as well, but another person suggested it too.

      Now that you brought up macrame, it reminded me of how I used to make friendship bracelets and hemp bracelets. I was able to not get my strings tangled, and I’m quite good at untangling (people love it when I’m present when they fly kites), so I actually think I could give hemp bracelets a try again.

      Crossword puzzles sound like a good way to pass time, except I am terrible at them! 😀

  2. Knitting and crocheting are the two that come to mind first — then counted cross stitch. You are careful enough to count correctly, and you could take just one color throughout the project at a time. Portability is easy, and you can also get containers for the colored threads. You can make small projects or larger ones, depending upon your interest and needs — some of the bigger ones are beautiful.

    • I am surprised that you listed cross stitch, since I thought all the threads, along with keeping track of where the needle is, would make it less portable. Plus, I’d have to keep consulting the pattern. From the cross stitch that I have done, it seems to require more concentration than knitting or crochet would. I guess I’ll first resume a project that I have left unfinished for years to see if it is as complicated as I remembered it being. Thanks for your suggestions!

  3. My mother crochets on the go often. I have done in on occasion but I’m more often driving than riding so it’s not really an option for me. As long as you’re not following a really complex pattern where you have to keep changing colors or rows – my mother is most often making blankets, which are pretty easy in that respect – you just need to carry a bag of yarn and a hook.

    I’m reluctant to take cross-stitch to go just because most of the patterns I have followed require me to study and pay attention to the pattern, which is hard to do while moving. (I also can’t really read in a moving vehicle, so the less time I have to study things the better). Also, it requires lots of little threads that are easily lost or tangled.

    • Thanks for sharing your knowledge about crochet. I thought the same about cross-stitch patterns being more complicated and requiring more careful attention, in addition to all the threads and the needle getting lost.

  4. Pingback: Giving Kumihimo a try | Musings of a Quirky Introvert

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