So are we or are we not allowed to travel with knitting needles? Although I wish I could simply say yes or no, the answer really isn’t that simple.
In the US and Canada, both the TSA and the CATSA say that knitting needles are fine to bring with you both in your checked or carry-on luggage. Please keep in mind though that rules can greatly differ from country to country, and that sometimes even within the US or Canada, some airport security agents have a very different understanding of what a dangerous object is. All things considered, here are a few tips that could help you figure things and make your passage through security a bit easier.
- First, FOR ANY INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION, be sure to check your destination country’s policies on knitting needles and accessories / sharp objects (even if you crossed security just fine on the way there, you might need to check some of your items on your way back);
- Opt for wood or plastic instead of metal and circular needles over straight needles;
- If you take scissors with you make sure they are blunt-point with a blade no longer than 4 inches, and avoid circular thread cutters;
- If you can, use a set of interchangeables; that way, even if security confiscates your needles, your project can safely remain on your cable instead of unraveling in your bag.
Please remember that even though there are some guidelines in place, TSA agents will confiscate any object that they feel could be dangerous or threatening, so there is never any guarantees that you’ll be able to go through security will all your things. As such, the best advice I can give any crafter is to never take anything with you that you can’t afford to loose.
Those pricey knitting needles that you bought a few weeks ago, or that adorable thread cutter your dear friend gave you as a birthday present? Leave them home. There are so many ways things could go wrong on a trip, you definitely don’t want to run the risk to loose an item that holds a special sentimental value.
Also be nice and courteous with the agents, make sure you store your supplies in the least threatening way possible (by storing your knitting tips or DPNs in a case with pens and pencils, for example) and calmly explain to the agents what the items are or what they are used for if you get pulled over.
Don’t forget that we’re all just humans, and that agents are there to ensure passenger’s safety – not ruin your day. Their job requires going through an incredible amount of pieces of luggage a day and evaluate their safety, it’s not easy and sometimes mistakes can happen. So the most important thing, no matter what happens, is to be nice and courteous, don’t panic, and if after your explanation they still decide to hold the items, be an adult and graciously respect their decision.