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Traveling with Crochet: What You Need To Know About Flying, Driving and Taking Your Projects On-The-Go

Flying with Crochet

What if you’re traveling in an airplane? First, find out the TSA rules and make sure you are looking at their updated list. With that in mind, pack a bag that can fit under the seat in front of you, not the overhead bins. Set it at your feet and crochet the minute you find your seat! But be warned, you will get lots of questions like, “How do you knit?”, “What are you making?”, “Do you think you could teach me?”, and lots of other fun comments are sure to follow. Make the most of your time and have fun and maybe even teach someone along the way.

Going on a trip always means packing well to make sure you have everything you need without overpacking, and this is especially true for crocheters. If you’re flying, deciding what to pack is even more important as you only have one or two carry-ons to work with. I personally always have a work-in-progress on hand when travelling to help with my flying fears, but until recently one of the things that continued to give me anxiety was what I would be allowed to take on the plane. The rules seemed to constantly change and sometimes I’d hear stories of friends who were forced to check or throw their knitting needles or crochet hooks away while others were allowed to bring everything on board. To help you out and allay your fears, I spent some time researching what is and isn’t allowed in the hopes that it will help you out as well.

1. First, whatever project you choose to bring, it must abide by the size guidelines for carry-on baggage, so that queen-size granny square afghan probably isn’t a good idea. Our WIP bags count as one of the allowed carry-on allotment, so keep that in mind, especially if you carry a purse and/or a backpack when travelling. I tend to carry a small project in a compact WIP bag that I tuck into my backpack and only pull out once I sit down. It also is probably a good idea to pick a project that you can weave in the ends later, even though sewing needles are permitted, and likely plastic sewing needles for weaving in ends are especially fine.

2. Secondly, go through your bag and check your cutting implements. We are allowed to carry small scissors (blades with less than 4” length).  I’ve found that if I don’t have any scissors in the bag when it goes through the security, then it’s less likely that my bag will be questioned, but I usually have a pair of nail clippers in there for when I do need to cut.

3. Finally, you shouldn’t have to worry about your crochet hooks or your knitting needles. Of course, if they’re on the bigger end (US Q hooks or US 35 needles), you might get noticed or questioned, but you shouldn’t be stopped by security. I’ve recently carried straight needles, my entire crochet hook collection and a few very long circular needles onboard with no questions. To be on the safe side, make sure that you have a bit of scrap yarn on your WIP bag so that you can put a lifeline in should the TSA agent tell you that you need to remove the needles. If you’re lucky, you’ll have time to run back to your luggage and put your needles in your checked baggage so you won’t have to toss them.

Above all, remember that the TSA has the final word. If the person checking your bag says they need to go, they need to go. You can politely question and even point out the rules on the website, but the men and women at airport security are there for a reason and they are just trying to keep everyone safe.

Driving with Crochet

If you’re planning on taking a road trip, you need to start thinking about what you really need to pack…your yarn! I personally bring it all. Just kidding! I wish I could bring all of my totes and bags and shove them in the car without my family noticing. So, in thinking about a trip, let’s discuss how we can travel and crochet at the same time.

First, I must mention that you must be the passenger. No driving and crocheting. I shouldn’t have to say that, but I have heard of so many people trying to get those few extra stitches in at red lights and stop signs. Find any excuse to be the passenger! You’ll get a lot more done, and we’ll all be safer for it.

Whether you’re planning for a day or a week trip, you really do need to plan your yarn and supplies. I think more about this than my clothing, and I always overpack both just in case.

No matter the length of trip, I start with my yarn bag. If you don’t have a cute storage bag, maybe a tote or mini basket will do the trick for you. Something that can go in your floorboard or in the back seat if you have the extra space.

Before we talk about yarn, let’s talk about the pattern that you will be working from. I would suggest simple repeat patterns. If you want to work on something detailed, make sure you have quiet time to think and work it out or else you’ll throw your work out the window in frustration and we don’t want that. For example, traveling with a van full of cute kids might not be the best time to tackle a detailed project. So, think easy pattern repeats that you can find in a baby blanket, bag, or scarf pattern. One thing that I’ve thought about is working on solid motifs. That would be fast and easy, but make sure you have space to store them as you will end up with a stack a mile high before you know it! So, once you figure out what you want to work on, let’s talk about supplies.

This is where the yarn comes in. Like I said, pack it all. One of everything you have. Shove it in every cup holder, trunk nook and cranny, and under the seats… just in case. That’s the feeling I get: I need everything ‘just in case’. You can always find a shop by using your phone on the way and can buy more if ‘needed’…and yes, we always NEED yarn. In that case, pack light and plan on finding a yarn shop along the way.

Best Types of Projects for Traveling

Need a few more crochet and traveling ideas? Try these:

  1. Single color projects: If you can, work with one yarn for a project. Not only will this save space but this will help eliminate yarn tangles and frustration of finding scissors. But if you just have to have multiple colors, keep it organized! There are bags that keep the yarn threaded through specific spaces to keep it clean and simple such as Yarn Pop so check them out!
  2. Light weight yarn: This is ideal if you’re needing to maximize space. Think about it, a #3 weight skein usually has more yards so you can complete a scarf, shawl or even a lacy blanket with this one skein of yarn and not take up much room!
  3. Large skeins: Picture this: You’re working on a blanket and you bring along 10 mini skeins…or 3 large skeins. Plan your project according to your space. Keep it simple so you have FUN and RELAX!
  4. Center pull skeins: If you possibly can find the center of the skein, do it! This will keep the skein from rolling all over the car or plane. If you have a cake instead of a skein, pull from the outside so that the center doesn’t get all tangled. Every time I pull from the center of a cake, I get it in such a mess. I really don’t like tangles (pet peeve!) and I will cut and tie it together to avoid that time-eater-tangle. In short: Center pull from skeins, outer pull from cakes.
  5. Keep your notions (yarn needles, scissors, stitch markers) in one small container: I like to use a small school box that can hold all the ‘extras’ neatly. I keep my small supplies all together at home in this same box, so this is a no-brainer for me when packing. I just take the box. It’s not too big, so it fits nicely in my bag.
  6. Use a hook case: I bought my case from Hiya Hiya and I’ve had it for YEARS. It holds all of my main hooks, scissors, measuring tape, and more! Actually, I think it was originally a double point needle case, but hey, it works for what I need and want!
  7. Plan on a second project: If you have the space, make sure you have a backup project. If you really get going, you might finish the first project! Wouldn’t that be awesome? So, make sure you have a second project in mind.

In the end, it’s not all about what you pack or even how you pack it. It’s about how much fun you have crocheting along the way!

This article combines expertise from past articles by Kristi Simpson and Chris Hammond

Do you have any tips for traveling with crochet? Would love to hear them below!

  • Love the idea of using a neck pillow for wool , I crochet my own in very soft king Cole thick fluffy wool so I’m going to definitely do this . Thank you

  • Kristina M.

    I have flown with my entire case of crochet hooks in my carry on because either I’ve had several projects in mind but hadn’t figured out which hook I’d need for each or I knew the one project I was working on would be finished before I got home. After the first time, when I was pulled aside and asked to empty my bag, I’ve pulled that case out and opened it up so it will be clear what it is. I had a good laugh with 3 TSA agents who were much relieved when they saw what had looked so concerning on the Xray.
    If I’m taking a knit project, I’ll use circular needles whether I need that for the project or not. I don’t seem to have a problem dropping my hooks but have dropped my knitting needle and had to hunt for it, finally finding it several rows back. With circulars, even if I drop a needle it’s still attached to my work.

  • Tracy P.

    I have discovered that if I crochet while my husband is driving we have a lot fewer arguments! I just have to remember that I am the keeper of the map and the GPS!

  • I have purchased plastic crochet hooks even the ones with batteries. I am aloud to carry them onboard and purchased a very small pair of scissors from a quilting show that are TSA approved.

  • I use zip-loc bags for my yarn cakes. Slide them in flat and poke a hole over the center of the ball and pull the yarn through. They lay flat and rarely get tangled.

  • Margaret D.

    I travel from the U.K., our security is a lot stricter, no scissors, no knitting or Crochet hooks, I also take my tatting not allowed, everything is packed in by suitcase into the hold that way, one I don’t lose anything, two it’s safe hopefully and the case will be there when I get off the plane. I know many people have not realised just how strict our airports are, even baby food has been taken away, make up bags are removed some ladies have lost pounds and pounds of cosmetics because they were in hand luggage, even a lipstick can be taken away, babies milk in bottles have been emptied, so it be safe than sorry just pack it.

    • I’m in the uk and crochet hooks are allowed on BA and some others if you check the airline before you go . I didn’t try knitting needles as they’re pointed and don’t want to lose any but some routes allow these too . Children’s round headed plastic scissors are fine or a helpful stewardess always has nail scissors if you ask her to cut it not borrow them . There is a necklace with cutters inside where you just cut the yarn in the necklace it’s got a long chain , can’t remember the name, sorry I’m sure if you google cutters it would come up .

  • Robin R.

    A tip I got from another online crocheter was to use cuticle scissors when traveling. TSA has no problems with them. They are very sharp and meet the blade requirements. Easier than clippers to get around the yarn to cut.

  • Patricia M.

    When you go through airport security, place you crochet bag in a bin, separate from your other carry-on items. That way, the TSA agents can easily see what those odd pointy objects are … and know that, since there are no alpacas on the passenger list, your stuff is not dangerous.

  • Susan H.

    I was on a flight from Germany to US and would prefer to do something rather than sleep or even read for that many hours . I crocheted which kept me busy and still allowed me to chat with my sister. upon leaving I left scarves for 2 of the attendants. Win,Win!

  • Reader L.

    I love the tip of replacing the neck pillow stuffing with yarn. I will definate6 use this tip. Thank you

  • Melinda M.

    Does this mean that the patterns on this site can be downloaded or printed somehow? I don’t have a Smart Phone, just a tablet I can only connect to my WiFi.

    • Nicola P.

      We currently do not allow downloads of our patterns, but are exploring options in the near future. You are welcome to save this pattern by copying and pasting into a word document or by printing the pattern via the printer icon on the left hand side of your screen. Hope this helps! – Nicola, Editor

    • Susan C.

      I take screen shots of the online instructions so they are in my gallery. Fast and easy.

    • Susan G.

      If I’m going somewhere with no Wi-Fi, I’ll take a screenshot of the pattern and then pull it up from my photos.

  • Rebecca E.

    Take several hooks of the size you are using for when you drop one on the floorboard. Also put your hook in the same location if you stop crocheting for any reason. It is so easy to lose one between the seat and console.

  • Lezlee R.

    I always take my project that I am doing in cake yarn. I start my cake yarn from the center when beginning project. I keep the cake in my project bag and it can’t roll around. I am left handed and when I pick my airline seats, I always pick an aisle seat where my left hand will be towards the aisle so I won’t be cramped and bump my seat mate while crocheting.

  • Susan D.

    I had my crochet bag with me while waiting to board my plane and left my yarn, brand new scissors and ergonomic hook in the waiting area. Reported it to airline and airport, but not found. Keep it close to you.

  • Sandra P.

    Question. I made a beautiful baby blanket soft
    I washed on delicate and the yarn list the softness What can I do to fix this

  • Susan M.

    For airplane travel, I have opened a U-shaped neck pillow and replaced the stuffing with yarn. I put some snaps in to close the end, but still let the pull from the center yarn to be pulled. I can fit 2-3 skiens in depending on the size. This also helps keep yarn from being tangled in anyones feet if the person at the window needs to get up.

  • Patricia F.

    Thank you for these ideas. Yes, I’ve traveled with things in my crochet bag that later I questioned how it went through security! Lol! ????????


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