Knitting and airplanes
by ohsochewy, extra added by cimorenegal
Many of us have encountered no problems with knitting while traveling within the US. However, regardless of which airport you pass through, or how easy it has been for your friends to knit while traveling, you might have a problem. As always with traveling amidst US federal government regulations, the best policy is to err on the side of caution and cheerfully comply.
It should also go without saying that your three-years-of-work afghan may not be the best project to work on. Stick to smaller projects, perhaps even projects which you aren’t particularly attached to. You never know when your work may be confiscated, only to be lost in the mail or accidentally sent to Tahiti. Losing your work is never fun.
The official page containing knitting needle rules, as it applies to the US, can be found here:
Print it out and carry it with you. Some luggage screeners may not be familiar with specific regulations; therefore, having a copy readily available in a pinch may help you. However, you aren't likely to get far arguing with the TSA staff - they do have the final word.
For travel outside the US:
Regardless of your originating flight, you may run into trouble coming to, from and within other countries. They may not have easily-accessible guidelines like those available from the TSA. The baggage screeners are not responsible for your work or needles if you have no means of getting it back home. You should check with your airline or country of origin for more information. Non-US airports may, or may not have mailboxes or mailing facilities readily available, so it isn't wise to depend on being able to mail your project home.
If you have a choice, take non-metal needles with you. Wooden needles may not show up in x-rays and may not pose as much of a threat.
Take circs rather than straights (bonus: one less thing to lose!).
Take smaller ones rather than, say, size 17s. Take shorter circs rather than 30” or more.
Cutting implements will probably be confiscated. This includes such items as thread cutter pendants. DO NOT assume that “oh, these teensy little scissors will be blunt enough.”
--dental floss cutters on the box
--ye olde teeth
SAVING YOUR WORK:
In the event that your work may be confiscated, they may ask you to put it in checked luggage or confiscated altogether. In this event, it is handy to have stitch holders, or at least extra yarn to draw through your work until you can pick it up later.
You also may want to carry a self-addressed, posted, padded envelope in the event that they ask you to mail it back to yourself. (Take it from someone who has run into problems: the only box the airport may have is something suitable for moving large china sets.) Again, some airports may not have mailing facilities available.
A crochet hook may also be handy for these purposes.
If you simply must carry larger projects with you, keep them in checked luggage. If your carryon work is confiscated, they may not be able to find your checked luggage to put it in.
For specific tips on travelling with your knitting, Knitty has got a great series of
columns called "The Travelling Knitter" on how to work knitting into