Knit one, fly too

I'm sure this topic has been covered to death, but can we humor a newbie? I have to fly to Phoenix this weekend to attend a funeral. I'd like to take along the scarf I'm working on, and I've already checked the TSA site to note that knitting needles and crochet hooks are acceptable carry-ons. I note, too, that pointy scissors with blades of less than 4 inches are apparently allowable.

So I should be in the clear, right? I'll have to check my tapestry needles and long scissors, but I'm assuming I won't have a problem carrying a few balls of yarn, a couple of circular needles, a yarn gauge, some short scissors and a crochet hook in my knitting bag.

Does anyone have any other tips for traveling with knitting supplies? Should I call the airport before my flight takes off to see if there are any "extra" security measures? I'm assuming I shouldn't have "too many" sets of needles in my check-in, and I don't plan to bring more yarn than I can reasonably work with while I'm gone. But I've heard horror stories of people having hugely complicated intarsia or large afghans confiscated at the security gate, and I want to make sure I'll be able to fly without any problems.

Thanks in advance for any advice/comments/tips/tricks you guys might have.


You *should* be fine. I travel with spindles, knitting needles, tapestry needles, etc. BUT: The metal ones go in my checked luggage. I only take wooden weapons on-board with me. If I don't, at the time, have a project on wood, I'll start one so that I'll have something to do in flight - usually a pair of socks or a wickedly striped Willy Warmer.

I understand that there are thems that claim that they've taken metal weapons on-board but I wouldn't risk it. Pack those things away and check them and take a small something with wooden needles with you. Oh, and one more thing:

When you check in, ask for an emergency row seat. You can't get them ahead of time, only at check-in. You'll be glad you did 'cause you get lots of leg room for your stashbag and hip flask!


~Mike in Tampa (where Fall has fallen, at least temporarily, and it is GORGEOUS ! ! ! Woo Hoo!)

   आदि लक्ष्मी 

~Der Gefährliche Schal-Stricker

Yahoo Id: stickywarp2001

GrammarCop's picture

Ooof ... I only have metal circular needles. I bought a pair of pricey bamboo CNs, but the plastic strung between the wooden pieces came off the needles.

rbthntschl's picture

My dear Grammar,

I've flown a few times with my knitting. My knitting teachers told me to print off the TSA guidelines for carry-ons and highlight the areas regarding knitting/crochet needles. They also told me to check with the individual airline as well but I've never had to do that as yet. I also don't travel with any sharps, no scissors, cutters or even tapestry needles. However, I'm told by some of the ladies that a Clover brand medallion cutter get through with no problem, esp. if it's worn as a necklace (it's designed that way). I only use wood and occasionally plastic needles and I've never had my knitting bag stopped at the security checkpoint, presumably because it doesn't show up on the x-ray machine. Hope this helps you out.

Luv 'n' Stuff,
Bob in Fort Lauderdale
Where the boys are...but they don't knit...poor things

Luv 'n' Stuff,
Bob in Fort Lauderdale
Where the boys are...but they don't knit...poor things

GrammarCop's picture

Printing out the TSA guidelines seems like a good idea.

Serge664's picture

I have had some trouble with metal circs, but it seems to be mostly related to how far south I am.

I was never questioned at the gates, but the stus have given me some grief on the plane once or twice.

More so if I am un-shaven or dressed scruffy.


Please remember: I have a collection of needles and a history of violence

GrammarCop's picture

I'm going to be in the center seat on the trip down there. I wonder if I'll get any comments from my seatmates. ;)

Serge664's picture

I find that jabbing the air in the direction of your seat mate tends to shut the b#$%^ up.

Until the Stu's notice.

Actually I always request an aisle for the added elbow room.


Please remember: I have a collection of needles and a history of violence

GrammarCop's picture

If I had been booking the flight myself, I would have. There's always a chance I can get myself switched to an exit row since I have to go to the counter anyway. Blah.

VillageKnittiot's picture

My experience so far.... ( I fly weekly ). I have had no issues with small circs or even my size 19 Addis. I wouldn't suggest taking large metal needles on or sissors. I travel with one of those pendants with the cutting blade inside that you just slide the yarn into and it cuts it. (not so much fun for making fringe however). I try to take bamboo, wooden or plastic needles if I can rather than metal... although I don't believe any are less lethal than others. After the last terrorist scare from London, I think some of the TSA rules have changed to needles must be under 8inches. I am not sure if they've relaxed this rule yet or not. However, you never know who you're going to get, and it is always based upon the TSA persons discretion, whether the TSA website says it's okay or not. So, I also take plastic stichholders... just in case I have to leave my needles behind, I don't have to let my scarf unravel.

GrammarCop's picture

I have some metal stitch holders, but I guess plastic ones wouldn't be a bad thing to have.

I think the problem is that the situation can change at any given moment. One small alert and everything changes. We had this problem here in London a month back and it caused (unavoidable) chaos. I keep everything in the Hold Luggage; I ain't parting with anything!

GrammarCop's picture

I think I'll be checking the airport's Web site before I leave, just in case.

garykfc's picture

If you are really concerned about having to surrender any of your knitting paraphernalia you can always travel with a self addressed, stamped envelope that has enough postage that your goods will make it back home should they not want you to travel with them. And don't forget a piece of yarn to keep your sitches in order.

GrammarCop's picture

I wonder if it would be cheaper to rent a locker at the airport for a few days. Or do they clear those out nightly?

JPaul's picture

It interesting to note that whenever this conversation comes up, nobody ever says, “I had my knitting confiscated.” If anything, it’s generally someone who knows someone who had problems. I’m one of those people who “claim” to have taken metal needles on a flight. I travel frequently between the US and Mexico and occasionally to other US states and always take my knitting. That usually means socks on metal dpn’s. Granted, the needles are coated metal, so they look like grey plastic, but they do show up on the x-ray. I have had my bags thoroughly searched on occasion and I have never had an issue. In fact, I don’t recall that my knitting has ever gotten a second glance. That being said, it would be wise to use non-metal needles (I’d recommend ebony from Lantern Moon – Gorgeous!).

At the end of this post, I’m attaching some additional info from the TSA regarding knitting and needlework tools. There is no specific requirement that needles be under a certain length, although you will find a recommendation for circular needles, but not DPN’s. Gnewknitter mentioned the authority granted TSA agents and it bears repeating. This is addressed in the first paragraph of the article. They have a broad amount of authority and rightly so, but I don’t believe most of them are unreasonable. You should also note that although several guys have recommended the circular medallion thread cutters, these are SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED by the TSA. I would recommend checking them and taking small scissors or nail clippers, both of which are allowed in your carry-on luggage.

Transporting Knitting Needles & Needlepoint
Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage. However, there is a possibility that the needles can be perceived as a possible weapon by one of our Security Officers. Our Security Officers have the authority to determine if an item could be used as a weapon and may not allow said item to pass through security. We recommend the following when bring knitting needles on an airplane:

Circular knitting needles are recommended to be less than 31 inches in total length
We recommend that the needles be made of bamboo or plastic (Not Metal)
Scissors must have blunt points (Note that this contradicts the permitted items list. Pointed tips less than 4" in length should be allowed.)
In case a Security Officer does not allow your knitting tools through security it is recommended that you carry a self addressed envelope so that you can mail your tools back to yourself as opposed to surrendering them at the security check point.
As a precautionary measure we recommend that you carry a crochet hook with yarn to save the work you have already done in case your knitting tools are surrendered at the checkpoint
Most of the items needed to pursue a Needlepoint project are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage with the exception of circular thread cutters or any cutter with a blade contained inside. These items cannot be taken through a security checkpoint. They must go in your checked baggage.

GrammarCop's picture

Thanks for the info! I'll hunt for some better-quality wooden CNs and I have a small pair of scissors that should suffice.