When I was getting ready for my trip to Florida for my niece's wedding, I wanted to pack something hands-on in my carry-on. I've found that's the best way to stay calm when something unexpected happens while travelling (like some years ago, when I sat on a tarmac in San Antonio for 4 hours.)
I was thinking of taking my lucet - a wonderful one with straight sides (by Ziggy) that I bought some years ago but have hardly used. Before I pack something, though, I try to get a project started. So I tried a cord with a few strands of some pretty space-dyed silk. The result was dreadful. Then I tried some cheap, thick sugar & cream cotton yarn. Yucko dog-lips - that result was awful, too. So I took some knitting with me.
Thick. Nope - hard to keep even and looks clunky. Loosely-spun. Nope - shreds as you work with it. Multiple strands. Not until I get better at the process.
So I went upstairs and got a cone of turquoise 3/2 cotton. Nice sheen, medium twist, strong. And it is working! I'm pretty happy with the plain, square braid that is unfolding. I'm not sure what I would use a small, very firm braid for (ties on a bag, frogs on a jacket?) but I'm glad I persisted until I got something satisfactory. It helps that the process is a little addictive. This will probably become one of my preferred TV watching techniques.