Yes, It’s true

Just to finally answer the question "Can you knit on a plane?"

Yup. Once again, on Air Canada, it was no problem.

Denny, Rachel H and I made our way from Toronto to Oregon for SOAR, and we knit the whole way.  The only thing that security said was "What you’re carrying is perfectly safe, but.. what is it?"  Answer, spinning wheels, spindles, needles and yarn.  Thanks for asking.
The only thing the flight attendant said was "Is this the Stitch and Bitch row of my plane?" Answer – "Yes. Didn’t you get the memo?" She laughed.  Turns out she was a knitter.  The only people on the flight who thought it was weird were the other passengers, who just couldn’t keep their eyes off the knitting section.

We felt very normal.  Safety in numbers.

218 thoughts on “Yes, It’s true

  1. Once, I taught three flight attendants how to spin on a spindle during a really long layover… it was pretty awesome. <3 It always amuses me how surprised people are when I “sneak” my knitting into planes, concerts, wherever.

  2. How apt that the SOAR contingent soared through the skies knitting!
    I knitted all the way from the UK to Aus and back in April, and again to Spain and back last week. The only thing that changed was that the UK security guy this time said that all knitting needles were now allowed, not just wood\bamboo. Yay!

  3. Great pictures! I haven’t flown as much as you guys have, but when I did I knit on every flight. The only time I had to put my knitting away was during take offs and landings which made total sense. Have a great time at SOAR! I wish I was going, but I can only afford to go when it’s in my neck of the woods. It’s a big bummer because SOAR is so much fun…..Well…. the word fun just doesn’t do it justice. It’s bigger than that. A whole week of fiber, fiber, and more fiber. You get to learn all sorts of new things and meet up with the people that you see once a year at SOAR. Best of all, you get to spend that week with people who are just as fiber fixated as you are so everyone understands your fiber addiction, and why you have 12 different drop spindles! In other words, you get to be a normal fiber junkie for a whole week with people who understand you. How cool is that! I hope you have a wonderful week!

  4. The pictures brought a smile to my face – excellent! My sister in law was a ‘secret’ knitter, choosing to not ‘kip’ (knit in public) but there is safety in numbers and we ‘kipped’ together. We even named it crochet/knit extreme as we tried to choose even more unusual spots to ‘kip’! its been great fun. Hope you have a wonderful week.

  5. As a knitter, I don’t knit in planes. But then plane rides make me feel a little woozy. Same with riding a car. =(

  6. I wish whoever administers Australian and New Zealand air travel security would listen to whoever administers Canada’s.
    I will be travelling later this year and the thought of sitting still for 5 hours without my knitting is giving me hives!

  7. @lexyjane, apparently if you can get wooden needles past security (like, in pockets, I guess?) Aire New Zealand attendants don’t care if you knit on the plane. I’m not sure I’d want to test that, mind you, but if you’re desperate…
    I have heard that Qantas and australian airlines generally are ABSOLUTELY NUTS about it, though.
    I want to know what Steph’s blue bison is! Lace, but what kind? shawl?

  8. Wow, I thought I was the only crazy person awake this early.
    I knit on planes all the time. On my last trip, the woman next to me asked me (with fear in her eyes, I swear), “they let you bring knitting needles on the plane?” What did she think I was going to do? Believe me, I’m much more dangerous if I have to sit twiddling my thumbs for four and a half hours!
    P.S. How do you pack your joy for travel? Does it fit in the overhead compartment? I’ve thought about taking it across country when I go to fiber festivals and such but I’m afraid it will be damaged.

  9. I once had a man ask to switch seats, because he viewed my needles as a threat to his safety.
    I’m 5’4. He was at least 6′. I thought it was pretty funny. :)

  10. That’s awesome. Have fun this week! I teach HS, so I can’t take a week off for anything this time of year, but I will be thinking of you spinning all week. Spin something pretty for me.
    Take care.

  11. I’ve never had a problem knitting on a plane, with many different airlines. Keeps me sane! Have a great time at SOAR!

  12. it seems like there are always one or two other knitters on every flight i take. i feel like we’re part of a secret society.

  13. The real fun is spinning on a drop spindle. I’ve drawn quite the crowd in airports while waiting for my flight to load. There’s not enough room in the airline seats for spinning, though.

  14. I hope it was the knitter/flight attendant who took your photo. Will she post it to Ravelry? Have a great time at SOAR!

  15. Oh my, dear Harlot. I just came back from a week’s vacation and caught up with your last week over a coffee. We live in an old house and are renovating another old house in France, so I see what you mean by the old house surprise factor. I hope you, and Joe (and his back) and your old house will be fine again soon. I wish you a very fine and fibery week to heal from aforementioned surprise factor. I think bison as pain killer is sheer genius, I’ll bear that in mind for when our next surprise comes up (although that usually means the beginning of another period with no fiber money, especially not bison fiber). Your painkiller is a really pretty color too!
    Love the plane knitting pictures and can’t thank you enough for having pointed that out (that knitting is allowed on planes, I mean). I’ve worn my first plane and airport knit socks last week!

  16. I wonder – are people afraid of pens and pencils, too? Those are VERY sharp and pointy, and leave MARKS!

  17. I once knit a sock on the plane to El Salvador. I was knitting a sock with 5 bamboo needles. All the passangers kept stopping to ask me what I was making (socks) and to tell me how nice it was to see someone of my age (33) knitting. The flight attendant kept giving me dirty looks. Finally, she came over and started going off on me telling me that the airline wouldn’t let them bring tweezers in their carry-ons but that they let me on with my “sharp sticks that can pierce someone’s throat”. The chick had issues!!! And me? I still knit on the plane!

  18. @ tui: Yes, knitting needles on planes are illegal in Australia. Yes, some people have smuggled them past. It’s still a crime.
    Despite the fact that I think it’s stupid, it’s still breaking the law. The illegality of knitting needles and crochet hooks on planes has recently been reviewed (along with other ‘low risk’ items), but no change has happened yet.
    I wish we were allowed to knit on planes.

  19. I was knitting a sock on a flight three weeks ago between New York and Chicago. The flight attendant saw me knitting, asked me what I was making, and then ran to get his I-Phone to show me pictures of his most recent knitting projects. :)

  20. Once flying from Denver to Cleveland, I dropped one of my DPNs . . . longest flight EVER. I also was the last one off the plane because the stupid thing rolled forward two rows. Actually, I think it was when people were picking up their bags that it started its forward trip. I now only use circs while flying. It wasn’t the fear of flying but the fear of needle loss.

  21. I want to hear more about knitting with circs. I will be travelling from TO to Portugal (Air Transat) and I don’t know if they have any restrictions. Bamboo only (for DPNs and circs)? I will be spending 8 days with my in-laws. Lovely people, but I gotta keep these hands busy!!

  22. Love, love, love those pictures! Stitch & Bitch row for the win! You inspire me to knit in public more often.

  23. Knitting on the plane is good! One time when flying alone, with a layover. The attendant at the gate asked what I was knitting, as she had just learned to knit, I told her and then remarked that I did not realize that I used my elbows so much when I knit, I kept hitting the person next to me. She said, “oh I can fix that” and switched me to first class, great second leg of that trip! This has not happened again, but I always whip out my knitting in the terminal, just in case! LOL

  24. I always thought it was funny that I couldn’t take blunt ended scissors on an airplane (still can’t) but I could take my addi turbos (those babies are metal!) or my really sharp dpn’s. Ah, gotta love flying. Have fun in Oregon. Glad you are getting away from the furnace for a while.

  25. First of all, that’s so coo! I haven’t been on a plane with the little screens on the seats (not that you’d expect someone who flies once every two years to be overly familiar with innovations in plane technology! ;))
    Second, I’m so glad you’re able to get out of the house for something fun! Hope the furnace “adventure” is pretty much over.

  26. I just retured from a trip, and I didn’t get hassled once about the knitting (shawl on two very long circs). I love that the flight attendant was a knitter! How fun!

  27. Oh my!
    When I saw the first picture in this post, I thought, “What is my friend So-And-So doing on that plane?” She travels frequently for work, but I didn’t know she was out-of-town right now.
    My second thought was, “How lucky did she get to sit near the Yarn Harlot?!” She probably had no clue she was sitting next to knitting/humor fame. I was already making plans to make her tell all.
    And then I read further and realized that no, this wasn’t my friend, but YOUR friend (who is still lucky, by the way).
    Tell your friend that she has a look-alike in North Florida.
    Oh, and have a wonderful time!

  28. I took my knitting on a flight for the first time last week and it was the best. Between the movie (The Propsal – hilarious) and knitting, I almost felt like I was sitting in my family room … and I hate flying. Not one person commented though.

  29. I fly Air Canada from London to Toronto for all my trips home. I have never had a problem with Air Canada and my knitting. On every flight, there seems to be at least one member of the flight crew who is a knitter, and will ask me what pattern am I knitting from…Some day I’ll get enough guts to take my drop spindle on the plan and spin in the aisle, or better yet, in the Business Class section : )

  30. when i was knitting on my way to chicago, the flight attendant stopped the safety demonstration to inspect my “beautiful” knitting. she made me hold it up. it was totally embarrassing but i still felt like a bad ass.

  31. well, at least it gets you out of the house for the duration. hope all is done when you get back. have fun at SOAR!

  32. I love reading about all of you knitting in public who dare to. My kids played sports and the only time my knitting wasn’t in play was when Alan wrestled. I couldn’t watch without my own body english at work. Otherwise it’s flown all over the world, gone to restaurants, the theatre, and many other places that think they should have your full attention. Earn it, sucker, or I’ll knit.

  33. Have always taken my knitting on planes. Even right after 911 and never had a problem. Put it in a ziplock bag so it is obvious to security, etc. with no comments. Except from two ladies that said if they knew they could knit on the plane would have brought theirs! Funny I couldn’t bring small nail clippers but knitting needles were ok!

  34. Well, the knitting section is always so attractive, I can’t blame the other passengers at all.

  35. Travel tips: Just check the airline security information on line before you go–I have read length restrictions for some airlines. If you can, have your non traveling companion stay until you are through security, that way you can hand over any offending item to go home safely. Your other choices are usually mail it home at your own expense (I don’t know if this is available everywhere–at O’Hare it is) or have your needles removed from the knitting and thrown away in front of your eyes. If your checked bag is available you can add it to that, but usually that is handed over at the tioketing desk. Ofcourse any offending item is treated with the same disrepect–not just knitting needles–cans of pop, children’s science kits, etc.

  36. I have always brought my knitting with me when I fly…. but do you have the anxiety in the security line like I do???? I get SO nervous, and I keep running through my mind everything I have with me in my carry on, and I praying they don’t take it away!!! I get all freaked out that they will take it away, and I’ll have nothing to knit! hee hee… I have always brought a big envelope with me all addressed to myself with plenty of stamps on it incase they do decide I can’t take my project with me. Can you even imagine having to throw it away??? UGH!

  37. The rule of thumb at Canadian airports: (according to one security guard who waved me over to the side): If it’s a darning needle or sharper it can be confiscated. My darning needle was confiscated. My knitting needles were not because the security guard held my sock needles up to the darning needle and compared pointyness. She hesitated though and for a moment I thought my inflight knitting was toast. She seemed to think the knitting needles were more of a threat. Then she quoted the darning needle rule and reluctantly gave me back my knitting needles.

  38. Wait, what happened with the furnace? Is your house back in order? What about the table/hooks by the front door? Did the cat fall through the holes? Did the foundation collapse? Did I miss the memo??
    I also kit on airplanes. All the time. Every single one. All over. No problem. I’ve had other problems–like the confiscation of my mini bottle of hand sanitizer! It’s a fire hazard!

  39. Last time I tried to fly, I was informed my knitting needles were dangerous, but the guy behind me insisted I be allowed my needles and yarn. The security lady looked at him, took in his uniform, and asked, “Why?” The answer- “Because I don’t have mine.” I discovered this guy flew as well as I did- not well at all, and he knit, despite buddies that mocked him, to relieve stress. The lady let me pass, and then demanded this soldier remove his pins- the poor guy had to change his clothes! How stupid can you be? Of course, had I been denied my tools, the airline would have been out my fare- months after 9/11, I drove 2,000 miles to keep my knitting. Yes, I shared my wool and favored bamboo needles.

  40. Just the fact that she knew to call it the “Stitch and Bitch” row of the plane was proof that she was a member of the club!
    I’m noticing wooden or plastic and circs, as well, which are usually not even noticed by the inspectors.

  41. I NEVER fly without my knitting and have never been questioned in the least –except by flight attendants who sometimes inquire as to what I’m making. Knitting has made me a more patient flyer — when the inevitable flight delay is called I just look at the clock and my pattern and smile and note how much further along I’ll be by the time we board. Last spring we had a 10 hour delay at JFK enroute to Paris — including the 6 hour flight I had 16 hours of guilt-free knitting time. I had just started a sweater and I was done the whole back and a sleeve by the time we landed. Knitting and air travel just go together.

  42. I always knit on the plane too!
    I’ve never had a problem with bringing it on board.
    They aren’t allowed into government buildings though! They are “knitting needles” is on the list of prohibited items.-Crochet needles aren’t mentioned though!

  43. Except for short, sock dpn, still not okay in the UK and Europe, I believe. Knitting needles and crochet hooks okay in the US, according to TSA guidelines. Thank goodness…I finished a sock on my flight to Boston a couple of days ago. Hoping to finish another on my return home. Someday, I swear, I’m gonna make it to one of those great sock/knitting gatherings!

  44. I have flown many times since 911, but only in the continental USA and I always take my knitting. I do stick to bamboo DPNs and sock knitting, and I have learned to be sure to have extra DPNs, because if you drop one, it rolls and its gone who knows where. The flight attendants are always ok with it, and lots of them are knitters themselves. I’ve never had a cranky passenger complain, but then I’m a 61 year old, gray haired grandma and don’t look at all threatening.

  45. Yay for the knitting row! I love to see that. There should be more knitting on planes and everyone would arrive at the destination in a happy mood!

  46. SOOO COOL! a flight attendant who knew what you were doing!
    Give the world a look at normalcy, eh?

  47. When we travelled this summer, first time on a plane in 25 years, I took along knitting. The security at Regina airport really questioned the items in my briefcase as it included addi sock needles (all five) a camera, cell phone and a rock (forgot I had that). After a discussion the security guy asked if I knit all the time, and I told him I owned a yarn shop and that was a requirement. He asked me for a business card and gave me back the bag.

  48. Yes in the air, yes on a plane, yes at soccer in the rain, I can knit here and there, I can knit everywhere.
    Sorry…don’t know what came over me.

  49. I love your knitting row. I don’t travel often, but normally I have someone (usually a flight attendant) that comments on the knitting. Also, for me, knitting seems to get my bag searched more often than I would think (at least every other flight).

  50. I’ve had inspectors look at my knitting funny – in Europe, in particular, they took long hard looks at my knitting bag – but the only airport where I’ve ever been told I couldn’t bring my needles with me was Johannesburg, SA. (Mind you, this was on a return trip to the US, after I’d already gone through security once in Cape Town!)
    The best is knitting on the New York City subways – people tend not to want to sit next to you when you’ve got your hands full with DPNs.

  51. I was asked recently by a friend if one is allowed to knit on a plane. By that, I assume she meant am I allowed to bring life-endangering needles on an aircraft in the post-9/11 world order.
    I answered “yes” without hesitation because, er, I can. “Oh, ho, ho” she exclaimed, “aren’t we sure of ourselves.” I will send her a link to today’s blog (and the gtaa website).
    Have fun!!

  52. I love it, knitting on an airplane is such fun..people love to watch..not believe you can make something…

  53. I love it. Is that Mooi in your hands, by the way? Nathania, Sandi, and Kaye at Purlescence gave me two skeins in that color as a get-well wish in January, and it worked!

  54. I just returned to Maryland from Stitches East in Hartford CT and knit on the plane both ways. No one from TSA or the airline commmented on either the number of needles or the amount of yarn I had with me. I did get some polite inquiries from non-knitters on the plane as to what I was making–I was working on the sleeve to a cardigan sweater.

  55. I right after 911, I was on a plane knitting a sock, the flight attendant walked toward me and said “they let you on the plane with that?” Many heads turned and looked over their seats to see what I had and I’m sure were ready to wrestle me to the floor…until they saw what I had…just a little ol’ sock :-)
    oxoxoxoxox

  56. I just flew from Minneapolis via Milwaukee to Nashville and back on Midwest Airlines and no problems anywhere, even with size 1 DPNs and a very pointy lace needle. The guy next to me on my last plane did keep staring at me and I had to (for separate reasons) rip back a row and a half of a lace scarf. Only related to me, not external factors.

  57. I always bring knitting on planes (and everywhere else for that matter). Just a word of caution, it’s always a good idea to bring a self addressed stamped envelope big enough to put your needles in just in case an overzealous agent tries to take them away. I once had a corkscrew taken away from me (even though the TSA list said it was okay). It was a really nice one and the agent who took it was clearly admiring it and put it in her pocket as I walked away. Bummer.

  58. PSA–you may NOT carry knitting needles on board flights that leave from Ireland, as I found out to my horror this summer. The attendants murmured, “Oh, Addi Turbos, shame,” as they pulled them off three separate works in progress in my bag.
    To add to the tragedy, I landed in New York to a horrible 41-hour delay–which I had to endure entirely without knitting. Why don’t they sell knitting needles in airports?

  59. Second post after reading the comments–the person in J’burg may not have realized what knitting needles were when s/he disallowed them. I travelled all over South Africa last year–lots of plane hops between cities–and found that many, many people did not understand knitting. In a few places I had to demonstrate to the gate agents–who were then frankly puzzled as to WHY I would want to make my own socks.

  60. No knitting needles on Air New Zealand and in Bangkok they gave me the choice to take my circular needle and leave me my unfinished sock or let me keep my sock on the cable and have them cut off the knitting tips. They had me cut the tips with my round-tipped “kindergarten” scissors and then they kept the tips and they scissors! I was able to knit on Thai Air from New York to Bangkok (17 hours non-stop) but not from Bangkok to Kathmandu or from Bangkok to New York (also on Thai Air)

  61. Can even knit on flights into & out of Australia, even with “knitting needles” included in the “not allowed” items by Australian airport security. But my wood dpns and plastic circular got through just fine. (Thanks to Ashley & Deb for the travel needle advice!)
    Good thing. Means the pair of socks that had been refusing to have positive progress for weeks actually got DONE. And another pair started.
    I did meet a fellow knitting on one layover in Melbourne who had – sadly – had to hand over her metal dpns. She stopped by upon seeing my sock-in-progress to get tips on turning a sock heel as she was fast approaching (or would be once needles were once again procurred) to tackling her first heel.
    Enjoy SOAR you three!

  62. Maybe I’m not suppose to bring this up but…when you get back home will the furnace be done?
    Happy spinning.

  63. In Dublin, on my return flight to the U.S., I recently was forced to take my socks off the 2 circulars and hand the needles over. I had no problem clearing security in the U.S. on the way to Ireland and knit without incident on the long flight so was quite surprised. When I mentioned this to the security official he consulted with several people but wouldn’t budge. So, always be prepared and never assume your needles will be safe.

  64. I still get a kick out of how folks stare when I knit in public. The ones who stare (while trying very hard NOT to stare) are the ones who crack me up the most. It’s not alchemy…..it’s knitting!
    Now if they want to see something interesting on the plane…….take away your knitting!

  65. Oh, I wish I had an opportunity to knit on a plane! But, since I don’t go any where…. ( Sigh!)
    Welcome back to Oregon! Just be glad you aren’t in Portland where it is RAINING! (I say while looking out the window at the torrent)
    Have a great time at SOAR! Wish I was there.

  66. But… but… the “blue tiny baby”!!!! What happened when Amanda came home from school? I’ve been waiting to hear!

  67. Just don’t try flying out of Mexico with anything related to knitting. I had to buy a bag & put all my knitting items in it & pay $25 for “extra luggage” it still makes me steam – they wanted to throw it all away!!!!

  68. WOW!! Air Canada must be GREAT!! You can’t get three knittters across on any American airline without grave risk of impalement…I can only knit on planes when I travel with my family on either side (they are already used to being poked by DPN’s…)

  69. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only weird person around. Until I made a good friend on the bus who also knits, I was the lone knitter who got all the attention.

  70. Please tell us about your daughter’s reaction to the found “tiny blue baby” – or whatever it was called!
    Had my 8 inch empty wooden knitting needles taken away from me at security in Florence in 2006 when boarding an Air France flight to Paris. They let me keep my dpn’s with a sock-in-progress on them. Go figure. Maybe if I’d had knitting on the others they’d have let me keep them.
    In Paris they told me to pack the sock they saw me knitting (while waiting in the VERY long line for a boarding pass) into my checked baggage – at Delta! This is the same sock Florence security let me keep. They’d also had soldiers with machine guns at CDG that day, so who knows what was going on. It was a VERY long flight to Atlanta sans knitting.
    And, post-911, about 2004, I took my knitting on Air New Zealand with no problems.
    I guess the moral is, always be prepared to lose your knitting. I always make sure I have knitting on the needles and only take wooden ones outside the U.S./Canada.

  71. “Sticks on A Plane”. I knitted socks on Southwest Airlines flights to and from Texas from Ohio a couple of years ago. It helped me to remain calm and concentrate on keeping the plane aloft. And as an added benefit I could have watched for the airport to keep the pilots from missing it. :)

  72. I knit socks on the way to Jordan and put them on my cold feet when I finished. Haven’t had a problem with any knitting on any flights lately but I decided not to push the envelope and carry on my 0000 beaded knitting….those needles _could_ do harm and I’ve poked myself too many times to risk it with others!!

  73. I just knit myself to Disney World & back. I knit the whole time I’m in the parks waiting in lines too. It makes everyone do a double take. I love knitting

  74. I’v occasionally been asked to put my needles away during the final-descent part of landing, but after they’d let me knit happily away for the preceding five hours I was happy to comply! Otherwise I’ve never had any problems, even with metal needles. I mostly fly within the continental US, if that matters.

  75. I’ve occasionally been asked to put my needles away during the final-descent part of landing, but after they’d let me knit happily away for the preceding five hours I was happy to comply! Otherwise I’ve never had any problems, even with metal needles. I mostly fly within the continental US, if that matters.

  76. In the US, rules vary by each airline, which are trumped by TSA regulations, which are subject to the “discretion” of the local screeners.
    Translation – whatever they want to do. You’re not going to win that chat. Leaving from, or arriving in Philadelphia, I’ve learned the only choice is that the knitting goes into the checked baggage. Or (sob) stays home…

  77. I love knitting while travelling… sure helps the time pass, especially while sitting waiting in airports. Last year I knit all the way to Las Vegas and back (which was about 18 hours of travelling from little old Prince Edward Island) and most recently knit through various flights to Deer Lake Newfoundland and back.
    Seriously, my husband *double checked* to make sure I was bringing enough yarn that I wouldn’t be a cranky-pants knowing that we would be waiting around a bunch that day. :) Smart Husbeast!~

  78. Great picture.. I’m thinking you go to Oregon enough to get a place on the Coast. Love enjoying your pictures of my old stomping grounds: my great grandfather had a hotel in Seaside around 1900. Have fun in Oregon.

  79. You can’t knit on a plane in Mexico. I know that one from unpleasant first-hand experience. :(

  80. I always take my knitting with me on the plane–so far, no problem, and I’ve flown many times in the U.S. and once to Germany and back. (Yes, they took away my nail file and wanded us three times before we boarded in Frankfurt, but had no problem with knitting, thankfully!) In December, I’m flying to South Africa and certainly plan to take my knitting for such a LONG flight!! Gotta keep your sanity and for some of us, knitting does that. Knit and fly, knit and fly!!!

  81. I took my knitting on flight from Chicago to the UK, and got hassled by security. I had about 6 inches of really complicated lace on the needles, and TSA said they were going to confiscate it because I “might be a security risk.” I politely, but firmly informed them that I was more likely to be a security risk WITHOUT the knitting to keep my occupied for 8+ hours. TSA’s eyebrows went up at that. I also pointed out that I had already completed SIX INCHES and there was no WAY that I was going to drop those stitches to “borrow” a plane. It just didn’t seem like a worthwhile trade to me. They finally relented when I started hyperventilating and looked like I was about to cry.
    Sad thing is I’d contacted TSA to find out what the restrictions were, and had a printout of the emails that went back and forth. AND I bought needles that specifically matched TSA’s criteria (bamboo – not metal – circulars less than 29-in.) Sigh.

  82. I wonder if those double ended colored pencils (which could double for dp needles for mitten making with lopi yarn) would get by the security people better than dp needles. I’ve never tried taking knitting on a plane, but then I’ve only flown one round trip in the last 30 years. There was no problem at all taking my knitting on Amtrak a couple of years ago and frankly I like the train better than flying anyway.

  83. I’ve never had any problems flying British Airways, into or out of England. I was told ahead of time that I might. Last flight out of Heathrow, I noticed a ‘flashing’ in the aisle some rows ahead of me. On closer inspection, I saw it was a young woman knitting a scarf with the longest pair of metal needles I’ve ever seen. Those puppies were stilts! She told me they (TSA) never looked twice at them. The only problem she was having, was, she had just learned how to knit and didn’t know how to bind off….this scarf was already 7 feet long and still growing. I taught her how to BO right there in the aisle with the flight attendent taking notes. She thanked me with tears in her eyes.

  84. Lovely experience! I’ve never seen anyone else knitting on a plane except for me, so I’m happy to hear that there are plenty of others out there. Hopefully someday we’ll all end up on the same plane… Knitting unites people in the strangest and most wonderful ways.

  85. I ended up accidentally in a knitting row on a flight a few years ago — as I pulled my knitting out, so did the ladies on both sides of me. We didn’t have a knitting flight attendant, but we *did* get some weird looks!
    It really saves the sanity on long flights, though, doesn’t it?

  86. How great that the flight attendant was a knitter! I’d love to be on a knitting row, personally. I wish we could have a section of airplanes specifically for knitters. Everyone would be so jealous that they would all want to start knitting in order to be allowed to join!

  87. I hate to beat a dead furnace, but, when they turned on your furnace was it just for a test? Would that put you out of the running in furnace wars?

  88. My friend knitted on the plane to Ireland without a hitch. On the return to the States they wouldn’t let her bring the knitting on the plane. Crazy!!!

  89. I love to knit while flying, the time just goes by! I bet the people who were looking at you all didn’t think you were weird but they were just simply jealous! Hahahaha jealous! :) I always get comments on my knitting while flying, people usually are just impressed by the whole process!

  90. I predict that this will start a new trend – requests to be seatted in the knitting section. Airlines could charge extra. I know that I would pay to sit in the row with you three.

  91. I have knit on almost every flight that I have taken since I resumed knitting. However, I make sure I bring inexpensive needles and do not cast on my project until I am seated on the plane (just in case because what you can actually bring on the plane is at the discretion of the TSA official who checks you out).
    I have had a wonderful discussion with an Air Tran pilot, who was flying up to Boston to “catch” his flight, on what a calming influence knitting was while flying.
    It’s a shame, in a way, that SOAR couldn’t have been a day or so sooner so that you could have “ESCAPED” the furnace trauma! But then, what great reading we would have missed.

  92. Yes, but – DO YOU HAVE A NEW FURNACE???? Did they successfully get-it-all-out, get-it-all-in? Or … the Wool Goddess forbid – is it just too painful to talk about…?

  93. i love this.
    i’ve never had trouble in security, but i always get the crazy eyes on planes when i pull the knitting out of my bag (especially being in my twenties). i vote for knitting sections on planes asap.

  94. Sunriver is sooooo pretty! And there’s snow! How perfect for spinning and knitting and fiber goodness! Enjoy!

  95. Not a knitter (but I have lots of knitting friends, does that help?) I do crochet and haven’t had a problem on US flights, except with scissors. My DH is going through cancer treatments – chemo and radiation and I carry my project bag with me everywhere. I get lots and lots of comments from folks at the clinic as they watch my projects grow daily. And yes – I do lots of explaining that crochet uses a single hook and knitting requires at least two pointed sticks, and I’m quite good enough to handle pointed sticks… tee hee… Love the blog and all the good information from y’all!

  96. I live in France and have not been allowed to knit on European and transatlantic flights. I love knitting so was very sad about that – but it made me take up writing and I am loving that too. kerrycharacters.wordpress.com

  97. Yes! And as I found out today, you can knit (at least in Providence, RI) in and around grand jury duty. Thank goodness…

  98. I find knitting in planes to be wonderful. There’s that perfect little table thingie for the pattern and yarn and stuff and you can get drinks! Admittedly it’s a little annoying when it’s time to use the bathroom, but there’s likely some solution to that problem too.

  99. You would think airlines would favor anything that kept the passengers quiet and amused. I hope the furnace is done by the time you get home.

  100. We had similar on our Southwest flight home from Sock Summit. The flight attendant asked if we were in the Knitting section and he ended up asking me some questions about different ways to cast on and brought his WIP hat to illustrate his question. It rocked!

  101. I just got back from visiting family in Ohio and I got at least 10 questions about the safety of my needles and whether or not I should be able to take them on the plane. One lady actually suggested that my circular needles were worse than bringing a knife on the plane, since I could both stab and strangle anyone I wanted…ummm, I’m not sure why her mind went there, but I was just excited to have some time to work on my Maplewing Shawl. ;)

  102. I agree with the power in numbers. Get two or three knitters in a row and it starts becoming acceptable at any place you go to. Like the coffee shop, movie theater, restaurant, or park where parents once complained that a running kid was going to get an eye poked out.
    Christian
    http://www.kaasd.etsy.com

  103. You’ve been out to the Northwest so many times this year I think it is time we gave your honorary citizenship.

  104. Oh yes, you can’t take knitting from a British airport. I planned to take my sock out when I had to pick up the luggage and through customs but a two hour delay took care of that. 14 hours of total plane time and I couldn’t knit!!!

  105. this reassures me! but… what if they had said NO! would they (shudder) confiscate your yarn and needles at check in????

  106. I’m in the seat across the aisle to imaginary SOAR since I’m not yet ready for the real thing. Say Hi to everyone and I know you’ll be handing out a few hugs for me. Miss you all. Planning on taking lessons from Toni sometime this winter. See you at Camp!

  107. Now I have the voice of Samuel L Jackson in my head yelling ” I’ve had it with these #%^$# knits on this #%^#$@# plane!!!” and it makes me SMILE. :oD

  108. Not only can you knit on a plane, you must! I don’t know any other way to make travel bearable. I can only hope next time I’ll get seated in the knitting section. Love the pictures.

  109. I just spent a lovely morning flying, waiting, and knitting, with a wee nap thrown in for variety. It is the only way to fly. Rock it at SOAR!

  110. I can attest to bamboo circs being just fine for the 13 hour Air Canada flight from Beijing to Toronto, as I just landed today.
    I usually put the project on a lifeline and pack the bamboo/wood needles in a separate place from the project, until I am through security. Socks or rectangular lace scarves have worked just fine.
    I have not had any trouble on flights to and from France, Italy, Portugal in recent years, or on Canadian domestic flights.
    I did not try Chinese domestic flights. The security may be stricter than for international flights.

  111. Before I had children I knit on planes all the time. I LOVED it! Now I’m too busy wrangling/entertaining/holding/wrestling/etc. a three year old and a one year old. When we recently flew with my husband, he had the nerve to pack a novel in his carry-on. Dream on, honey. I look forward to knitting on airplanes again in the future.

  112. Last year Air India en route to England from Canada, confiscated my knitting – because of the wool! Explanation? I could strangle someone with it. So I asked Security if she knitted and would like the wool and needles? No, she didn’t knit, but got somebody to take my knitting bag and put it in with the luggage. Nice touch – carousal with huge dull bags and one hand knit Fair Isle bag!

  113. knitting…not as dangerous as it looks.
    knit to disney and back with square knitting needles, and across the aisle and up a row asked how I got on the plane with those, aren’t they illegal?
    Um, no, they are legal. I choose to NOT smuggle contraband when traveling with my children.
    why don’t they shut up and knit?

  114. I knit while flying to and from Africa all the time. So far no one has asked me to put away my needles, and a number of flight attendants have asked about what I was knitting. I think that many people assume they can’t knit on the plane, but in the past few years I haven’t had any problems. I’m always prepared for questions when I walk through security, but they are much more concerned about my liquids than my addis.
    It’s great to see a whole row of knitters, though. Knit on!

  115. I made a submission recently to a government inquiry into relaxing the rules around knitting needles on planes – it just amazes me that they think bamboo needles are more dangerous than, say, a broken drinking glass, or a metal fork – bizarre. I’m going to smuggle some bamboo dpn’s onto a plane on thursday – please be ready to put the hat around to bail me out!

  116. As others have already said,sadly Qantas and other Australian airlines won’t let you take knitting needles or crochet hooks on. I rang and asked if I could take a plastic crochet hook on and they said “no”. So annoying and stupid.
    I’ll have to ask friends at Qantas if there’s been any progress on reviewing this – hope there has.

  117. I always knit on airplanes with bamboo or wooden needles and have never had a problem. However if you try it with metal needles I think you’re looking for trouble.

  118. Just don’t try that in Australia! When the flight attendant noticed me knitting on the plane, the sock and yarn was confiscated and I had to be escorted from the plane when we landed – not a lot of fun. :-(

  119. I envy your numbers. I sometimes feel I’m the only person who KIP in this town. It’s fine to knit at home, or in the LYS, but in public? GASP!

  120. Often I am left laughing out loud when I read this blog…but usually because of something Stephanie wrote…but today it was what another blogger (Joy) wrote, and I quote:
    “A whole new meaning to the “mile high” club
    Amen Joy!!!

  121. I felt the same way on the train from Kingston to Toronto for the Creativ show….there was at least 5 people in my car knitting/crocheting/rughooking….
    It was great!

  122. Yea, and verily I say unto you, I have such anxiety that they shall take away my needles and projects that I always check one bag so that I mayeth keepeth the bulk of my projects away from the unholy hands of those satanic security peoples who may take away my solace and life’s existence.
    (okay, okay, I know, they’re just doing their jobs…but I still want to smite them!)

  123. Hurrah for knitting on a plane! What a fun flight. It’s always nice when the flight attendant is supportive. The worst I’ve had happen to me on a plane was to be asked to put my knitting away during the take off.

  124. I travel with my knitting all the time, and only recently lost my blunt, bandage scissors (nabbed in Jeddah while trying to get to Frankfurt). The scissors were made in Pakistan, so maybe they’re happy now, being somewhat closer to home and family and all.

  125. I was at the Toronto airport yesterday and lost my February Lady Sweater (I only own 2 sweaters that I’ve ever made). If you saw a distraught knitter sobbing as she went through customs last night, that was me.
    Stephanie, I know you understand what agony it was to decide between going back to scour the airport, and boarding a flight after traveling for 4 weeks through 3 countries, 3 trade shows, and at least 2 bouts of illness– I had the choice, but there was no way I could both go back and make it in time for the last flight home that night. I was so travel-weary, I chose to go home, but I felt a stabbing pain in my heart with every step. I did, however, knit a bit on a pair of socks on the plane, and the flight attendant (a crocheter) was very understanding and sympathetic to my weeping, tear-stained self.
    If anyone in Toronto has seen it or hears of it (it’s yellow, orange, red, and purple– there’s a photo in my blog), please turn it into the Toronto Airport lost and found or contact me. I’ve linked to the relevant blog post in my comment URL.

  126. OH I wish I were going too!!!!! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be in the knitting section with you.

  127. I had switched to crocheting on planes (finished an granny square afghan doing it!)because it turned out the TSA didn’t know what crochet hooks were (they didn’t have the dreaded “needle” word in them), and since they were wooden, I could keep the hook with my agenda (and it looked like a pencil. Which was allowed). I’m so glad to be able to knit again, and have done so on my last bunch of flights.(Years ago I had a flight attendant ask me how I got the crochet hook on board. She was a knitter/crocheter who missed bringing her stuff with her!!)

  128. someday I hope to attend SOAR, but the prices are a bit steep for me… I shall continue to buy lottery tickets, so that I can not only attend soar, but add to my wheel/spindle collection! Enjoy, can’t wait for your report.

  129. I’ve flown with straights, DPNs, and circs, with each of which I could do far more damage than with a bottle of water or an extra ounce of curl-friendly hair goop.
    Not that I’m bitter.

  130. Of course you can knit on a plane! I have only once had someone “test” the sharpness of the end of my knitting needle. I showed him that his pen was sharper and that was the end of that nonsense! ;)

  131. I also was able to knit on the plane to and from Las Vegas recently and no comments were made by anyone except for people who couldn’t believe that knitting needles weren’t hard to get through security. Not even the small scissors elicited a peep from them. It does help to take the edge off of tension from turbulence, until I thought about what could happen to me in case of a sudden dip or bump. Oh well, my stitches were getting a bit uneven anyway.

  132. I’ve never had issues getting on planes with my knitting, they’ve even let me on with my scissors. Guess the bag screener wasn’t paying attention that day, real reassuring eh? I did have a problem trying to get into a pro football stadium with my socks one time, but the supervisor must’ve seen the crazy coming out in my face and let me through. Smart man, me at a football game with idle hands would not have been pleasant for anyone.

  133. I’m almost done with Sam’s Blanket, just in time for the baby shower Sunday! It is gorgeous.

  134. I remember a plane ride from Houston, TX to Denver, CO in January. I was frantically trying to finish a pair of mittens before arrival. When the captain announced the temperature in Denver (cold), my fellow passengers started cheering for me. I finished the second mitten as we began our descent. Congratulations erupted. I don’t imagine that I’ll have such a public knitting triumph again. What fun!

  135. I’m so glad you are traveling again! I love the posts afterwards.
    So… tiny blue baby? Furnace/foundation/chaos? Certainly glad you escaped that craziness.

  136. Hi,
    Please let us know if the furnace has been installed. I feel that I have been reading a great book and I am waiting for what happens next. I know that you are off knitting but at least in my house those left behind usually have some stories to tell. At least you are away and things may seem to move smoothly.

  137. I have taken crochet hook and yarn on a United Airlines flight from Sydney to Melbourne (Australia) and back again without a problem.
    Security at both airports let me through without hesitation.
    I am flying VAustralia to LAX in December and will take it again…..will have to wait and see if its an issue being an international flight.
    I will of course be seeking out either plastic hooks or cheapo birch metal ones and packing my expensive Japanese Hamanaka’s in my checked luggage.

  138. I never had a problem taking my needles thru security in the US, including Philadelphia. When my carry-on approaches the X-ray – I give the TSA person my best smile (while I am grimacing inside) and say ever so kindly and helpfully in a very naive tone – “I have knitting needles in that bag.” I say this in a manner that I just want them to know what those “pointy things” are in my bag so they don’t have to try and figure it out. Since I started doing this I have never had a problem whereas I had problems in the past – additional searches, etc.

  139. See, more knitting on planes would also mean pilots have something to do and could still pay close attention to the flying.

  140. I usually avoid bamboo needles, but do use them to sneak past metal detectors. We went to an Obama rally before the election and stood in a blocks-long line for hours. Prepped by stuffing a new sock project in my tiny purse, I was the only one with something to do. I like my Obama socks and wear them for luck when I need to have a good day. (I gave a duplicate pair to some conservative relatives and smile when I see them worn).
    But people do look at you like you’re using ninja throwing stars to make household items.

  141. I’m beginning to think a lot of flight attendants knit. When I went to Alaska last FEbruary, at least 2 of the 5 planes I travelled upon, had flight attendant knitters.

  142. I also knit whenever flying, usually socks on bamboo needles. I alway have a pair of very slim pencils in my carry on with a ball of scarf yarn: if my sock needles are ever taken away I plan to start a christmas scarf. I’d like to have the discussion about why I can’t knit with pencils if everyone else on the plane is carrying them (or pens) also….

  143. I never had any problem knitting on the plane before, but recently on a flight from Wellington (New Zealand) to Christchurch, a flight attendant on the Australian airline JetStar made me put my needles away. She was quite rude about it too. “Hey! You’re not supposed to have those!!” She made me put them in my carry-on luggage. Totally unreasonable. How much harm can I possibly do with bamboo knitting needles, really??

  144. I recently flew from Nashville, TN to Connecticut, and had both knitting and crochet in my carry-on bag. Not a word was said at any check point. However, in one of my checked bags, I had a whole collection of various knitting needles and yarn. That bag was searched both ways on the trip (and it was the only one checked). Yes that’s right the knitting needles in the belly of the plane were MORE dangerous than the ones IN the cabin. Way to go TSA.

  145. I flew four times in the last couple of weeks, all within Europe (Switzerland, Croatia, England). I had knitting with me every time and nobody batted an eyelid. I already experimented in the spring with DPNs on a flight from Switzerland to England (and back), convinced they would take my (specially bought cheap bamboo) needles off me. They totally ignored me. The flight attendants weren’t bothered either.
    This time, I tried Addi Turbos, metal and with a cable that could easily garott someone (did no one ever read that murder story a few years back about people being garotted by circulars in a multistory car park??!! I will never forget it!!) and again, no reaction from security in any country – and England is known to be pedantic about stuff “just because” and even if it doesn’t make sense… I was so surprised!!!
    So I guess it is now ok to take knitting needles into/out of England. But it is idiotic that the same rules don’t apply everywhere when the number of knitters is so great!!

  146. I went on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas last week. Of course I brought a knitting project with me but I was stopped at the metal detector prior to boarding the ship beacause I had a pair of embroidery scissors that I had tucked into my knitting bag. They did not confiscate the scissors but it was very embarrasing and I felt bad for holding up the line. The scary thing is that I made it through the airport without detection.

  147. Yep, knitting on a plane is not as difficult as one would think. I knit on a plane. The perky Westjet staff “oh’d” and “awe’d” over the construction of a vanilla sock. It always thrills me when non-knitters describe me as “amazing,” “brilliant,” “talented,” and all sorts of adjectives that I rarely describe myself with when I knit…even something as simple as a vanilla sock! (PS: I wish someone would tell my boss just how really amazing and talented I am!…Oh wait…as a freelancer…that would be…ahem…ME!)
    So knit on, fellow travelers and knitters.

  148. Yesterday I flew on British Airways from London to New York; my Brittany birch DPNs went through security in my carry on bag and I was able to knit a sock on the plane for the first time! In the past, I have always asked at check in if I can bring knitting needles on the plane – I’ve even showed them my little wooden DPNs – and they’ve always said ‘No’. This time I didn’t ask – I just did it, and didn’t have a problem.

  149. You are normal. Also, converting people. I’ve now met several knitters on planes who told me they took up knitting after watching other knitters on other flights, and they saw how easy it was — in other words, simply watching a knitter on a plane is contagious!

  150. When folks question you about the safety of your knitting needles, you may respond that neckties, ink pens, pencils, and belts (with or without) buckles are dangerous and they are not taken away.

  151. I’ve kind of given up trying to knit when flying in/out and around Australia. I do try to do handsewing on the international flights though. I only take the piece of fabric, a roll of thread and 1 sewing needle. They usually don’t pick up the needle and I haven’t had the flight attendants take it off me.

  152. I’ve just flown London-Tokyo and return, two 12 hour flights without knitting because until recently the owners of most British airports (BAA) wouldn’t allow knitting needles through security (though the airlines were perfectly happy to allow knitting on board). On this occasion, I very reluctantly left my lace shawl on the needles in the carpark, for fear of confiscation, but checked with security as we passed through. The woman security officer showed me the page in their manual – “knitting needles ok – profile” She explained to me that generally speaking, it’s ok to allow knitting needles through but they are required to do a profile of the person carrying them. Do I look like a knitter? then fine….
    So, the question is, what does a “safe” knitter look like?!? Or, possibly more to the point, what does an “unsafe” knitter look like? (Perhaps something like the knitter who has had her needles confiscated in Dublin?!)
    I shall take my knitting with me next time I fly from Heathrow, London, no fear.

  153. I understand and do knit on the plane but how did the lovely RachelH retrieve her sweater and get it on?

  154. I found myself sitting next to a burly scottish rollercoaster engineer once on a flight from Marseilles to London. I was knitting and thought it might be bothering him so asked him if it did. He said no and looked a bit restless. Not long before landing he put down his book and blurted out “Do you mind if I knit a row?”. He said he had been ill as a child and his grandmother had taught him to knit – it was a closet passion of his!

  155. That bit of a tease of a look at what is on your needles in the last photo tends to confirm my speculations in the past few weeks: The rock-and-a-hard-place kind of tension that you lived through these weeks brings one to mind of what you went through late last year, from whose ashes was born “Pretty Thing.” I’d been wondering what might have quietly, innocently gestating during this current crisis. Regardless, it looks lovely.

  156. Love the pictures. I made a trip to Oregon to visit my Mom last summer and took my knitting on board. One flight attendant said that she sees people knitting on the plane, but had never seen a sock as close to being done as mine was. I was working on the foot.

  157. I just got home from a Southwest flight from Tampa FL where not only did I knit, but I had a wonderful talk wtih the male flight attendant who was knitting a Norwegian sweater. The older man next to me was flabbergasted as he said he hadn’t seen anyone knit since his mother! I think the idea that an actual male was knitting about blew his mind.

  158. Ok–Now I have a Dr. Seuss thing going in my head
    Can you knit them on a plane?
    You can knit them on a plane, you can knit them again and again!
    (So Dr. Seuss is safe from me and my rhyming!)

  159. I just took the best flight of my life recently. The male flight attendant was a knitter and we nattered all the way across the country. We swapped Ravelry usernames, he brought his laptop by my seat to show me pictures of his project, and then brought his latest project by to show me (a fair isle hat he’s making). I love this community of knitters we all belong to.

  160. just to let you know, you still can’t knit on a flight in Australia – you can knit coming IN to Aus, but if you have a connecting domestic flight they’ll snatch them away from you :(
    Sorry on behalf of my country.

  161. Lucky you. The UK airports generally won’t let you take knitting on board planes, and many of the airlines explicitly forbid it. I had some little bamboo sock needles confiscated 10 days ago, whilst they ignored the 5″ long chopstick pins in my hair, the garotte that I wore around my waist in the form of a belt, the sharp metal pencil in my purse. Security – don’t get me started!

  162. Glad to hear the rules for knitting on UK flights appear to be relaxing. In some parts. Possibly. Or not.
    I’ve been trying to learn to crochet (as airlines weren’t quite so excitable about a blunt hook) but with no luck. Would still love to master a granny square…but in the meantime it looks like I might be able to take my knitting on business trips. Maybe.

  163. I’m thinking, at the risk of being called out as a red-headed stepchild, that I’m glad I’m a crocheter (though I’m seriously envious of the whole sock-making ability you knitters posses)since we seem to be less of a “security threat”. I spent the “hanging around on the tarmack” time of a recent flight untangling a skein that had gotten unruly and proceeded (to my rowmate and the flight attendant’s amazement) to complete the better part of a baby hat for my newborn nephew during the flight. Couldn’t imagine the long hauls without a hook and wool!

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