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Can I Take My Knitting on an Airplane?

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Question: Can I Take My Knitting on an Airplane?

A big question that a lot of traveling crafters have is "Can I take my knitting on a plane?"

Answer:

The short answer is yes, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't get hassled for taking huge needles or a really big project onto a plane. Here are some tips for friendlier flying when you want to take your knitting along.

  • Pick a small project. Things like blocks, a scarf, a hat or other small projects make more sense in the limited space of an airplane seat than a big sweater or afghan. If you can't bear to leave your big project at home, pack it in your checked luggage and work on it when you get to your destination, or only pull it out in the airport, where you'll have more room.
  • Use circular needles. This is a great tip for your own sanity and for the sake of the people around you. If you are using circular needles, you can't drop a needle and send it rolling down the cockpit. Circular needles also tend to give you a smaller range of motion in which to work, so you'll elbow the person sitting next to you a lot less. It is recommended that your circular needle be no bigger than 31 inches in total length.
  • Try plastic or bamboo needles. There's something completely unthreatening about plastic needles (except maybe Speed Stix) that makes it unlikely anyone would question your freedom to knit on a plane. Metal needles can look a little more intimidating, especially in larger sizes, so think about that before you choose needles for your traveling project (if you aren't using circulars).
  • Stick to small sizes. Technically there is no restriction on the size of knitting needles you take onto an airplane, but that doesn't mean that people haven't been asked to leave their knitting at home if the security officer perceives the needles as a threat. Your best bet is to stick to smaller sized needles.
  • Choose blunt objects. Knitting needles that don't look sharp are much more likely to easily pass through security. Scissors must be blunt as well, and the blades can be no longer than four inches.

Precautionary Measures

The Transportation Security Administration has a special page devoted to traveling with knitting, which offers the following additional tips:

  • Pack a self-addressed, stamped envelope that is big enough to house your needles just in case the security officer won't let you on the plane with them.
  • Bring a crochet hook (a stitch holder would probably be allowed as well) so you can save any knitting that has already been done if you don't want to mail it to yourself as well. You could probably also get out of line and quickly bind off to get your work off the needles, then just pull out the cast off when you get home and put the work back on the needles.

Knitting in airports and on airplanes is a wonderful way to pass the time and maybe even get your fellow passengers interested in knitting. Follow these tips and you should be able to bring your project along without any problems.

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