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:
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!