When I travel, I always take my current knitting project with me – whether on a road trip or an airline flight. Even if I know that I won’t have time when I get where I’m going to knit, I know that I’ll pull the needles and yarn out at some point along the way there or back.
The first time that I flew with knitting needles in my carry-on, I stressed over whether or not they would make it through security. But at this point I can say that I’ve flown with various types of needles – dpns to circulars to straights – with no challenges or concerns on the part of the TSA agents. I’ve always had a project in progress on the needles though, so whether or not empty needles would cause an issue, I don’t know. And I always make sure to leave even my tiny craft scissors at home, because I know those wouldn’t make it through and I like them too much to have them confiscated. Obviously that doesn’t apply to road trips, thankfully.
I can’t say that I necessarily get a whole lot done knitting-wise when I’m traveling. But I love having something else to do on a plane, especially for take-off and landing, when electronic devices can’t be used, or even in the middle of a flight when I can’t stand to stare at another written word on a page. And it’s a very relaxing activity during layovers – not to mention a great conversation-starter!
When I traveled to Florida a couple of weeks ago, I took my current project – the first sock for my 8-year-old. This particular project has been rather slow-moving – in part because it’s a more complicated pattern than I’ve done for socks before. I think I need to start a very simple project of some sort with just basic knit/purl stitches (something stockinette probably) for me to keep on the needles to travel with – I found that I’m much more likely to pull a project out while traveling when it’s something I don’t need to think a whole lot about while I’m working on it.
Here are a few tips for knitting while traveling:
- Small projects (socks, hats, mittens, etc.) are easy to carry with you and fit better in suitcases or travel totes. Also try to use a project that’s done in one color or a variegated/striped yarn so that you don’t have to carry multiple skeins with you. Projects that use sport, sock or baby yarn pack smaller than ones that use bulkier yarns.
- Leave the scissors at home (or put them in a checked bag). Even nail clippers can be confiscated at security checkpoints. There’s a good post at Purple Kitty about crafting supplies and TSA regulations that has some tips – apparently blunt scissors (like kids’ safety scissors) are ok to travel with, so I’ll probably try that next time. Bringing a project that’s nowhere near completion can be a good way to avoid needing to cut your yarn while you’re traveling in most cases too.
- Having a self-addressed, stamped envelope with you can be helpful just in case your knitting supplies are confiscated – at least you can make sure they’ll be returned to you.
- Having a project with an easy pattern or one that’s easily remembered can be helpful. If your pattern is in a large book, try photocopying it so you don’t have to take the whole book with you on the trip. Keep a pencil with you so you can make notes, keep track of stitches or jot down where you’re at in the pattern, right on the photocopy. That way if your flight is called faster than you’d expected, you won’t lose track of where you left off.
- Pack your knitting in a plastic bag or smaller tote so that you can keep everything together in your carry-on and just pull out that bag when you want to knit. This is extra helpful while on a plane, so you can leave your larger carry-on under the seat in front of you (or in the overhead compartment) and still have all of your knitting supplies handy.
- Relax and enjoy your trip!
Do you take your knitting with you when you travel? What are your best travel tips for knitting on-the-go?
I write about other travel-related topics as West Michigan TravelingMom – come and join in the discussion!