Which Crafting Tools are Allowed in Carry-on Luggage?

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Which Crafting Tools are Allowed in Carry-on Luggage?

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The summer is here so it’s time to plan a big getaway! I don’t like air travel but I do like that it provides me with uninterrupted time to knit and I like that knitting keeps me calm and stress-free while I’m on board! When I tell people that the meditative qualities of knitting have seen me through many journeys, they’re often surprised that I’m allowed to bring my needles on board. While the TSA guidelines can be tricky, knitters and crocheters can put their minds at ease! I’ve collected some frequently asked questions on the subject so you can be in the know about what you are permitted to take on the plane.

Are knitting needles and crochet hooks allowed in carry-on luggage?
Knitting needles and crochet hooks are permitted by the TSA in carry-on luggage on domestic flights in the US. Savvy travelers suggest that you carry wooden or plastic needles over metal and bring circular knitting needles instead of straights which might seem more obtrusive. If you are travelling internationally be sure to check the guidelines of your airline and security agencies abroad. You may be allowed to fly into a country with knitting needles in your carry-on but be required to check them on your return flight.

What about scissors?
You might be surprised to find out that you can bring scissors in your carry-on as long as they have blades that are shorter than four inches. Although they may seem innocuous or be advertised as airplane-approved, thread cutter pendants like these are prohibited by the TSA and should be kept in checked luggage. Don’t have any small scissors? Nail clippers are a good, travel-sized alternative for cutting yarn and they are permitted in carry-ons. If you have questions about other items, the TSA has made a handy search tool.

Crafting Tools Allowed in Carry-on Luggage
What if my knitting needles are confiscated?
If you’re worried you might have your needles confiscated, bring a print out of the most recent TSA rules. But keep in mind, screeners can confiscate any items they do not feel are safe regardless of these guidelines. It’s best to leave supplies that are costly to replace or hold sentimental value at home in case you have to part with them. Carry dental floss in your carry-on. You can use the blade to cut yarn and the floss is great for holding stitches in a pinch if you’re asked to surrender your needles.

The security checkpoint is, for many travelers, the most stressful part of a trip. Pack your supplies together in a project bag so that they can easily be inspected and use clear, zip-top bags for smaller notions. Remember to have a back up plan and be courteous!

What should I bring on my trip?
Check out this post for more ideas on what projects and notions to pack and how to prepare for travel crafting. And don’t forget, you can leave your yarn diet home while you’re on vacation!

Have you ever had trouble with your knitting or crochet at the airport? What’s your favorite thing to knit or crochet on a flight?

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  • That’s good to know, Since I don’t travel no problem here. Besides I’d bring a book.

  • a dental floss container also makes a great yarn cutter, and if it’s the kind you can open up (with a little work) it also makes a handy container for stitch markers

  • The only time I’ve had trouble was in Peru, where I’d had no trouble earlier in the trip. The agent decided (apparently on her own) that my five 5″ plastic double-pointed needles were a terrible risk. She finally allowed them on-board if my husband clipped all 10 ends with his nail clippers! I spent HOURS filing them back to a reasonable blunt rounded end.

  • THat was not my experience on international and domestic flights. NZ confiscated my 1 1/2 inch scissors saying the US dictated they were too big. I wasn’t going to argue and miss my flight. San Fran confiscated all my aluminium crochet hooks-luckily it was only 4 saying they were “too poky”. This was 4 weeks ago. My advise–don’t bring any in carry-on.

    • I had similar happen at Atlanta and Chicago flying in and out from the UK. Now when I go to the States to see family I pack the crochet into my checked bags and bring a book or magazine for the ride.

      On long layovers (I’ve come to know the Copenhagen airport very well with several 5-9 hour layovers!) I’ve popped out of the airport long enough to taxi to a shop where I buy a cheap acrylic hook and a ball of yarn just to keep busy – if security confiscates it’s not a heartbreak, and not surprisingly, security has taken those hooks more often than not:(

  • We will be flying from Pittsburgh to Salt Lake City in August, so this information is really timely! Have been reading what the airlines will and won’t allow.

  • I’ve travelled quite a bit and the only time I had a problem was leaving the Dominican Republic & had to put my knitting in my checked baggage. I also carry a circular thread cutter never encountering a problem in any state or country I’ve travelled to or from. It amazes me that knitting needles are allowed at all in carry-on’s. With enough force whether plastic, metal, or wood, straight or circular they all have the potential to be a weapon.

  • I recently flew from Lisbon, Portugal to Chicago and had my #3 metal crochet hook confiscated. It was only 5″ long and I had flown all over the world with crochet hooks. My husband had a small metal nail file confiscated as well and he, too, had flown all over the world with it. You never know what security will confiscate.

    • True. I never had a problem with a crochet hook, but I once had a pocket knife in my purse, which had been my dad’s and so had sentimental value. They let me go to the airport post office and mail it home.

  • I had scissors (under 4″ blades) confiscated in Singapore 3 years ago. Got them out of Australia, didn’t make it through the transit in Singapore. I’d picked up a cheap pair of scissors just in case that happened, and got a new set of cheapies when I arrived – and checked them going home.

  • Shocked the circular cutter isn’t allowed, what in the world else can you really cut with one, except thread and yarn? Cutting wires on a device seems counterproductive, and I’ve never thought you could harm someone with one. Truly puzzled.

  • Hm, I’ve never had trouble with knitting needles, even size 10 dpns. I usually don’t carry scissors, though. Small, uncomplicated projects are my travel knitting choices.

    I was recently introduced to this charity knitting site: http://www.knittedknockers.org, which has a pattern for knitted prostheses for women who’ve had mastectomies. (For real!) So I decided to start one while waiting for a flight in Philadelphia. However, I was seated next to 2 little girls about 8 & 9 years old. I imagined the conversation if they got curious and asked what I was making, and I decided to read instead!

  • scissors of any size are not allowed on LAN flights in South America — I had my best small pair confiscated! I’ve traveled all over the world with the short, but sharp 4″ blade scissors – until I got to Peru — hated to lose them, fortunately I had a longer set in my checked luggage. as for knitting needles – have lost many a pair so just travel with crochet hooks –

  • I’ve flown w/in the US with my wooden & acrylic circular needles – no problem. I never bring scissors in my carry-on, though, always check them. I usually start a new, single color project each time I go, trusting that I won’t need the scissors until later in the trip.

    • I have flown many US continental flights and always carry on my knitting. For scissors I have used children’s round tip ones from the dollar store. If you are concerned about scissors being confiscated, carry on a cardboard nail emery board. Works like a charm to cut yarn!

  • A cotton dish cloth is my favorite project for plane travel [it’s quick and easy to memorize]. I haven’t had any trouble with plastic or wooden needles when going through security.

  • I have travelled domestically many times within the US with small knitting projects and have not had any problems thus far. I carry bamboo needles (both circular and short straight needles), a large crochet hook, a plastic tapestry needle, and a small pair of blunt/rounded tipped children’s craft scissors. These items are not expensive and can easily be replaced if they were to be taken by security, but so far it has not been an issue.

  • To Jaki – I think you were being conscientious, which is sweet, but as a mother of many daughters, I can attest that 8 and 9 year olds are plenty old enough to know what a prosthetic breast is. They would be very interested, I think, to know that knitting can be used in such a creative way.

  • When I went to India, I took along a crochet hook and a pair of small, dull scissors with rounded points. They were no problem going over, but when I was boarding for the return trip at Delhi airport, the guard told me that scissors are not allowed on a plane. I told him that they were very dull, and I demonstrated by rubbing them on my own fingers. He took them away and had a conference with two other guards, and finally gave them back to me.

  • Cool, I didn’t know about the scissors. You have also carry-on luggage with a TSA approved lock. You can find some of them on http://www.carryonluggage.info

  • I recently bought this 4 in 1 crochet hook. (one piece) Opened, it is shorter than 6 inches. Do you think its allowed?

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