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Air Travel and Knitting

As convenient as air travel is I am always a little apprehensive.  Getting to see family and going on vacation is the best, but I always worry about getting my knitting project (and all my knitting needles) through security safely.  After all, my project bag is the first bag I pack, doesn’t everyone plan and pack their projects first?

As I plan what project to bring my mind starts to wonder…Will the TSA people be ok with my Addi needles or will they strip search me after they see them and make me throw them out?  Let’s not even bring up the little, tiny scissors I have packed!

TSA Guidelines

I don’t find the wording on the TSA website to be very comforting either, “In general, you may place your knitting in your carry-on or checked baggage.”  IN GENERAL?  What does that even mean? It continues,  “Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.”

It’s that last sentence that worries me every time.  What if I get that one person who doesn’t know what knitting is?  My mind can go to some dark places, pretty quickly too.  Here is what they say about scissors, “Circular thread cutters or any other cutter or needlepoint tools that contain blades must be placed in checked baggage. You are permitted to keep scissors smaller than 4 inches in your carry-on baggage.”  We’ve been warned.

Tips to ease the Mind

I always bring at least one project with me when I travel.  What a great way to kill time while waiting to board a plane!  Here are some things I have either done or had fellow knitters suggest:

  • I pack my little scissors in my checked bag.  I make sure my project is already started, so I really shouldn’t need the scissors before I get to my destination.  I know they say if they are small enough it is ok, but I don’t want to chance it.
  • If at all possible, I bring circular needles, I have heard these raise less red flags than straight needles.  Due to their smaller size, double points might be a good choice too.
  • If at all possible, I bring wood or bamboo needles, I guess this is less intimidating than metal.
  • I always have a blunt darning needle and some scrap yarn in preparation for the worst case.  If I am going to get in a battle of words with TSA about bringing my needles and they won’t let me keep them, I can put my project on waste yarn and all will not be lost.

I have never had a problem with any knitting project I have brought on domestic or international trips, so I really shouldn’t worry.  But I do…    TSA is there to keep us safe and I wouldn’t want to have their job.  Every time I get ready for a trip I remember to go to the TSA website to make sure nothing has changed.

How do you prep your projects for air travel?  Do you have any precautionary steps that you take?  Comment below to share with your fellow knitters.

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