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February 1, 2007

Preparing knitting for traveling

I’ve always got knitting with me; on a long trip I think I’d go nuts without it.

You can bring knitting on planes in the United States, but each country sets their own security policy. The only time I ever was asked to put away my knitting was on a BMI flight from Charles de Gaulle airport to Heathrow. My project, the wedding afghan for my brother and sister-in-law made it through security with no comment and the plane was on the runway as I was busily trying to get the thing done; I had three days left and a foot to go. The stewardess had the usual reaction of amused fascination, but the purser then came by and asked apologetically if I would put my knitting away. “It’s not what you would do but what others might.” CDG-LHR is a 45 minute flight and not worth the argument; I simply put it away no matter how silly I thought the logic was. You can kill someone with your bare hands if you’ve a mind to (I don’t!) what I had was a long blunt plastic circular needle with four pounds of cabled wool afghan hanging from it. As far as I’m concerned, if I could figure out how to hijack a plane with an unfinished wool throw, I deserve to. And I deserve to have the plane take me wherever I please.

Me shaking cabled wool throw at pilot threateningly: Take this plane to Reykjavik!

Even though current TSA rules permit knitting needles in carryon luggage, TSA screeners are permitted discretion to not allow any item they construe as dangerous. To raise the fewest objections, use blunt-tipped circular needles in plastic, bamboo or other non-metallic material.

What knitting project to bring? Small is beautiful. So are things that don’t involve multiple balls of yarn. I’ve broken those rules when I needed the time to make headway on a project, but I truly regretted the zillion color Fair Isle sweater I dragged from Paris to Antwerp to Rotterdam to Amsterdam to Bruges to Brussels. And the damn thing still isn't done.

Currently tucked into my carryon are John’s socks – both at the heel turning, and a scarf for my friend David from silk/mohair I bought at Artfibers on my last trip to San Francisco. More than enough knitting for the weekend, and each fits into a gallon Ziploc bag with room to spare and crush.

Along with the project and needles, I tuck in a plastic darning needle and a small package of ring markers. And I’m off to the airport.

See you in San Francisco!

Posted by Leigh Witchel at February 1, 2007 12:09 PM

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My mom has been asked (long before 9/11 and everything it wrought) to put her knitting away during take off and landing. Since the risk of something happening (like a crash) is greatest at that point I have always assumed it was related to someone getting poked in the eye if there was some sudden movement.

Posted by: JoVE at February 1, 2007 3:21 PM

Dare I say it?

While it is obvious that they were not to blame for the terrorist attacks, some airline personnel are a bit skittish around AFGHANS !

Posted by: Maureen at February 1, 2007 3:56 PM

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