There’s something that sparks fear in the hearts of knitters all around the globe. One question. “Will my knitting needles get taken away at the airport?”
This is a very real fear, and while less likely, crocheters fear for their crochet needles as well. Luckily, there are ways to assure you won’t lose your favorite tools and can enjoy your hobby while in flight. If you’ve ever wondered “What can I take on a plane,” here’s the scoop.
What Can You Take on a Plane?
It’s important to note that guidelines for flying with knitting needles and crochet hooks vary all over the world. What’s allowed in one place may be prohibited in another. In order to avoid confiscation, it’s best to research the specific airport rules for each airport you’ll be flying in and out of.
Can I Bring My Knitting Needles on a Plane?
As a general guide, knitting needles and crochet hooks ARE ALLOWED in checked bags and carry on in the USA, UK and Canada (more on that below). There are of course stipulations to these rules. But can you bring scissors on a plane?
In the US, according to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) scissor blades must measure 4” or less to be considered safe TSA scissors. Blunt rounded scissors (think kindergarten style) are also allowed. For a full list of what items you can take on a plane, check out the TSA’s list of “What Can I Bring”
Things are a little different in Canada and the UK. Scissor blades must measure 6 cm (2.4 in) or less to be considered safe for airplane travel. Of course, this is up to the TSA screener’s discretion and they can decide if anything is unsafe to bring on board. For the full list of what you can carry on your flight in Canada and the UK, check out the Canadian “What I Can Bring” list and the UK’s “Hand Luggage Restrictions” list. For all other countries, you’ll need to research their rules on a case-by-case basis.
Ideas for Flying with Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks
Some good alternatives for flying with scissors or cutters would be TSA nail clippers or dental floss. Yes. Dental floss will be a game changer. Dental floss has a little blade inside that can be used to cut yarn. When my travel scissors didn’t arrive in time for my recent flight, I used this technique and it worked like a charm. Also, if your knitting needles are confiscated, dental floss can be used to hold your stitches so you don’t lose your project.
Preferred Types of Knitting Needles to Take on a Plane
While knitting needles are allowed, airports tend to prefer bamboo or plastic over metal. They also prefer circular knitting needles. These seem less threatening and are actually better for you and your neighbors on the plane. You see, circular needles take a smaller range of motion and tend to be smaller. The smaller your needles, the better chance of you passing airport security with them. They’re also more practical. Having circular needles means you can’t drop and lose a knitting needle like you could with straights.
Best Practice for Traveling with Knitting Needles, Crochet Hooks and Notions
It’s a good idea to wrap your needles or hooks up in a sheath or blanket to help prevent injury of TSA agents. They don’t want to be poked when they’re doing a safety check on your bag. Point protectors for circular knitting needles are also ideal to make sure your needle tips are protected. Wrapping your sharp objects up safely is a nice way to be considerate of the safety agents.
As far as notions go, it’s best to have a little notions kit for traveling. So everything is in one place. All your knitting tools such as stitch markers, yarn needles, tape measure etc can be kept in one convenient place. This means you don’t have to dig for it once you’re on the plane and having it all together is easier for the agents.
Flying Home or To Different Countries
Also remember the country you’re flying home from as well. I was recently on a vacation to Mexico and while I knew there were no problems going through security in Canada, I did get stopped in security at the Cancun Airport. I told the security agent that I called my airline prior to the flights to make sure I could bring my knitting needles onto the plane. My beautiful circular knitting needles were taken to a security manager and they made inquiries with my airline. In the end, I got approval to take the knitting needles on the flight but it was a stressful situation nonetheless. Best advice – be prepared!
Tips for Traveling with Knitting and Crochet Projects
There are a few tips you can use to ensure you have an easy trip with your favorite hobby. One of the worst things you can do is overpack.
Be practical with yourself about how much time you’ll have to work on a project during your trip and pack accordingly. If you’re going to be spending time with a lot of other people, you won’t have time to work on big, challenging projects. Don’t pack 12 balls of yarn because frankly, you won’t use them. As a general rule of thumb when traveling, it’s best to pick small projects such as hats and socks. And bring the knitting supplies to match. (I.e. 2 balls of yarn, an extra pair of needles or hook, and your notions kit). It also helps to have a zip-up bag for all your supplies.
Know your pattern and have a backup of it. You might not have wifi. So, if your pattern is online, screenshot it, download the pdf or print out a physical copy to take with you. This will make sure you have the instructions you need to leisurely work on your project while away. It’s also best to have a few rows of your project started by the time you reach the airport. They are less likely to throw out your needles if they see you’re clearly working on something and aren’t just harboring sharp objects.
Be a Prepared Traveller
Finally, the two most important things to remember: Don’t bring anything you’re afraid to lose and bring an envelope with your address and stamp on it in case.
The fact is, no matter what the guidelines say about what can I carry on a plane, they can take anything from me if they see fit. So, it’s best to only bring stuff you don’t mind losing. Don’t bring your favorite pair of needles or favorite set of hooks. It’s not worth it.
If you feel strongly that you don’t want to lose any of your tools (me), it’s a good idea to bring a pre-addressed, ready-to-mail-off envelope big enough to fit all your tools. If they do refuse to let you fly with them, you can put them in the envelope and mail it back home to yourself.
At the end of the day, you can’t control what they’ll let you fly with. But with these travel tips and tricks, you have a pretty good chance of enjoying a flight full of crafting and relaxing. Safe Travels!
One last thing, another great thing you can do on the airplane is to practice your knitting or crocheting skills. There are two great classes that we just can't get enough of, the Crochet Fundamentals class and the Learn to Knit class. Both of these professionally filmed classes have hours and hours of amazing content.
Looking for some quick and easy crochet patterns to take on your next flight? Check out these Dabbles and Babbles patterns including the Girl's Boho Crop Top, the Lily Cowl Crochet Pattern and the Simple Shells Light Crochet Wrap Pattern.