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Can you knit socks on magic loop or two circulars? The plain socks aren't hard to do, they are compact and with circulars you don't need to worry about dropping neeedles and having problems picking them up.
But basiclly something simple, and ideally compact without too many pieces to lose. a simple shawl also on circulars (but knitted flat) is another option.
 

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I do baby items and write the patterns on index cards. They finish fast, take small yarn amounts and are easily portable. I keep everthing per item in a zip lock bag, tape the index card to the INSIDE facing out for reading and include stitch markers, buttons or whatever else is necessary to complete it. The zip locks then all go into a larger closed totebag which carries stuff like my tape measure, Yarn needles sealed in a pill bottle, folding scissors, crochet hook and the like. Gives you a neat variety that takes up little space.
 

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I usually knit washcloths or dishcloths. I print out the directions on one sheet. Then I take only 1 set of needles and a few skeins of cotton yarn. For me, it's easier than anything else when I'm travelling.
 

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The talk of patterns reminds me that something that you don't need a pattern for is useful as at times you uwon't really have anywhere to put a pattern. If you are going for a while I take the palin socks (as above, I have done so many I don't need a pattern for these) but otherthings that are more complicated but still compact.
 

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Scarves are my favorite traveling project! Right now I'm knitting a hitchhiker scarf - I purchased the pattern off of Ravelry. It's pretty easy to memorize after a few repeats.
 

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I like the top-down sweater patterns by Leisure Arts.They are very easy to follow and each pattern can be made in an infant size to a very large man or woman's. Usually a book is less than $15.. I've seen them at Michael's, Joan's and Amazon.com.

One thing I like is if you are making a pull-over, it is done in the round, knitting every round with the exception of ribbing - and if you want just a rolled edge, you can skip the ribbing.

When riding in the car, it is very nice to not have to read the pattern and keep looking at the sweater--no nausea! Good luck.
 
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