by Tamara Kelly of www.mooglyblog.com
Summer time is fun time – and that can mean lots of travel! Us yarny folks don’t travel without our crochet and knitting – so here are some great tips to make it a little bit easier this year!
Hooks and needles are officially allowed in carry-ons by the TSA, but stick with aluminum, wood or plastic if you can – those tiny steel hooks don’t always get a pass! Scissors are another concern. According to the TSA site, “Metal with pointed tips and a blade length greater than four inches measured from the fulcrum are not allowed.” So stick to small sewing scissors or children’s scissors to be safe. You can read more about what the TSA allows on their site. Of course, the TSA is only in charge in the US – traveling outside the country means researching the rules there too.
Whether it’s a long drive with multiple stops, or a flight to an exotic destination (or grandma’s house), you don’t want to be fumbling through your luggage looking for your needles in this pouch, and your yarn in that other bag… Get organized before you leave the house! Make sure your project bag closes securely, and your notions pouch as well. Don’t lose your hook and get stuck being unable to play with your yarn! Then pack it on top of the other items in your carry-on for easy access!
We all love to treat ourselves on vacation! But that expensive hand-carved hook, great grandma’s scissors, and premium luxury fibers should probably stay at home. Even if it’s allowed by the TSA, you might end up with someone who isn’t playing by the rules. Add in the risk of theft and leaving it in the hotel room, and it can be a gamble! If you can’t bear the thought of losing it, leave it behind.
Unless you’re saving it for that long day at the beach, you’re going to be starting, and stopping, and starting that project throughout the trip. Use stitch markers in the active loop of your crochet, or loops of your knitting, to keep your work from coming undone during the journey. And pack a couple extras – they have a way of disappearing!
You can’t always depend on finding free WiFi! If it’s an online pattern, you can print it out using PrintFriendly.com, or download it to your phone. If it’s from a book (and you don’t want to bring the whole book), you can make copies of those pages to travel with – just remember that those copies are for personal use only!
Blankets and sweaters are fun to make, but that doesn’t mean the passenger next to you wants to wear it. Make sure that your project is something you can keep on your own lap. Motifs, socks, and other small items are great for travel – small and quick, and you can put the finished ones in your packed luggage to lighten the load on your way home!
Lightweight yarns are a great bet for travel – more yardage for the weight and space! It can also be a good idea to pick a yarn that pulls easily from the center, or use a yarn winder or nostepinne to make the skein into a center pull ball. Asking the people 10 rows back in the airplane to pass your yarn back to you under the seats is not a good time. And who knows what’s on that floor – ew!
I’ve learned this one myself the hard way! Getting to a destination and finding out the one project you brought isn’t going to work out is a real bummer. Something simple like a ball of Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton means you can whip up an impromptu market tote to hold your souvenirs or some dishcloths for your host – and save your down time!
Whenever we travel as a family, as soon as I pull out my project the kids want to get involved too! This is a great opportunity to teach them how to finger crochet or finger knit. It keeps them busy during travel times, and it’s so fun to craft together! And isn’t that what family vacations are all about?
We both know yarn is way more distracting that texting. Let’s all get home safe this year, okay?
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Number 10 cracked me up, I’ve been known to crochet while stuck in traffic lol
One more tip, pack any questionable items in an outer pocket of your project bag. The tsa can decide if you can keep the little scissors without having to dig through your bag.
Flying home to the States from Shannon airport in Ireland my grandmother’s little tiny scissors were grabbed by security. 🙁 so beware and a good idea to check other countries security rules!!
I had this happen to me too. They were tiny and supposedly legal as the blades was less than two inches. I later found out that yes indeed, I’d been right and the security agent was wrong, but when you’re anxious to make a flight, it’s too time consuming to call for a supervisor to clarify the rules for the agent.
Nancy D Conley
I always have a quickie project in the car. 5 minutes in stopped traffic yields a row or so on a dishcloth. Ziploc bag keeps everything together. Many times I grab it for appointments, while in waiting room. Car projects are a must for this crochet freak!
I found out you can use the cutter on a little dental floss container to cut yarn. You can also use the floss as stitch or place markers, same as you might use contrasting pieces of yarn. One more use of dental flossâ€¦ because it’s slick, it makes a great weightless stitch holder for your open stitchesâ€¦ just cut a piece long enough to put your stitches on plus enough to bow tie the ends into a circle. Who knew putting a little ultra light weight flip top floss container in your project bag could be so useful !
Mimi, those are great suggestions!
In the many times I’ve flown since September 2001, I have always taken at least one project. Even on flights overseas, nothing has ever been taken from me, including scissors. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.
When away from home, and no scissors around, I’ve used my fingernail clippers to cut yarn at the end of a color or project! TSA safe!
Another tip for taking your patterns along. Print up the pattern on a 5X7 inch card, you will have to abbreviate a lot. Punch a hole in the corner and put over your needles. If you are using interchangeable tips put the card on the cord using a smaller hole before you attach you tips. The tips will keep the card on the cord. This works well with small projects or with lace patterns.
I have had TSA tell me that my tiny (blade length from fulcrum to tip only 1.5″), high quality, expensive embroidery scissors were not allowed. After much discussion, it was determined that I could check them, so they helped me secure a small cardboard box, and taped it up. In the end, they didn’t actually check them, but passed them to the pilot, who held them in the flight cabin until landing. Luckily I had the time and patience to pursue all of this, as did the TSA agents, and I was most thankful. I would never pursue this avenue on purpose, because it was quite inconvenient for the TSA agents, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind if you suddenly find your perfectly legal scissors are determined to not be allowed by gung-ho TSA personnel. 😉