We’re ready to wave goodbye to cold, dreary days, and say hello to the first flight out to a warmer, more agreeable climate. Even if you aren’t traveling anytime soon, it helps to make travel as effortless as possible. We’ve got a few tips and travel tricks that will help you speed your projects through security, knit through the flight (where allowed), and keep everything organized and easy to access.
Safety Guidelines — Permitted Items
As of March 2014, the TSA (US only) permits all knitting needles and crochet hooks through security, and will theoretically allow scissors that have blunt tips, are sheathed, and have a length under 4″. (While the guidelines state that you can have short-tipped, pointy scissors, it might be smart to err on the side of caution!)
We appreciate the portability of interchangeable needle sets for flights. Wooden or bamboo tips, like those on the Addi Clicks Natura set, are our favorites for flights. If you’re looking to travel lighter, get an Addi Clicks starter set—just make sure the needle sizes are what you need for your selected project.
Note: When traveling abroad, security measures could be different. In a recent Ravelry thread, members discussed whether or not the European ban on sharp objects also included knitting needles. As an extra caution, we recommend separating your yarn and current project from your needles by placing your project on a lifeline. Run the lifeline through your stitches to keep them safe, or simply pack the whole thing in your luggage and read on the flight. Some knitters have suggested preparing a pre-paid envelope with your address, in case it’s necessary to mail your project back home or ahead of you, should it be rejected.
Perfecting your in-flight Knitting Bag
Before you pack, read through your pattern thoroughly and make a list of items you might need. The materials needed list often seems like the best place to check, but many patterns don’t mention waste yarn, stitch markers, or tapestry needles until they’re needed.
Keep things at a glance by packing your notions in a sheer pouch, like the 5 x 7 double-zip version of our Walker cases. With two separate pockets, it’s easy to isolate notions like stitch markers that could otherwise become entangled. For your yarn and project, we recommend the uncluttered approach of Lulu Wraps’ furoshiki. Simple sheets of organic cotton fabric easily transform into a portable carrying pouch, and fold flat if you finish your project on your trip!
The back-seat pocket of the chair in front of you, when not stuffed with safety cards and magazines, makes an excellent place to prop up your pattern. Since the pocket is tight and often has a hard edge to it, use this to your advantage, folding your pattern in half and letting it flop over for easy, angled reading.
If you prefer to use the tray table, consider moving your patterns over to your tablet as PDF files, or use the app JKnit HD Lite, which allows you to highlight portions of charts to keep track of your row. This is especially handy with colorwork or lace patterns.
Big things, small packages
The natural choice for an in-flight project may be something small, like hats or mittens, but consider all of the extras you need for such projects. Perhaps they require circular and double-pointed needles (a set of 4 or 5), waste yarn, tapestry needles, and stitch markers.
Don’t rule out the versatility of simple stockinette for travel. Start a sweater at the sleeves, or knit simple socks two at a time in the round using the magic loop technique. An infinity cowl that has hundreds of stitches might seem less daunting when confined to one large circular needle, making it easy to fold up and out of the way during takeoff and landing.
Think creatively when approaching your travel projects—of course, as the brilliant knitters you are, we could hardly expect you to do anything else!