Kniftybits's Blog

All knitting, all the time.

Knitting Needles of Terror December 6, 2010

Wednesday I made my final (sob) visit to my LYS, Yarn on the Square, where I snagged the vibrant yarn I’d lusted over countless times – enough to make a hat (please, let it be enough for a hat!).  During discourse over my purchase the proprietor informed me that the UK ban on flying with knitting needles had been lifted.  Rejoice! She said she read it in a magazine about a month ago.

Whew!  No more secreting my needles among other items and holding my breath until I was through security.

Travel day arrived and I shoved my sock project in my hand baggage with a clear conscience.

We received a final tour of London as our cabbie avoided the M25 due to snow and bad drivers.  We watched snowflakes swirl as we passed the London Eye, Parliament, Westminster, Buckingham Palace, and Harrods. It was lovely.  The American Airlines check-in line, however, was not lovely at all.  The announcement that they were closing our flight caused us and a multitude of other impatient travelers to jump to the head of the line.  (Yes, we were the ones that you hate as you wait your turn.)  However, it wasn’t our fault as the service was unaccountably slow with the many jauntily dressed employees doing a stellar job of holding the floor down as they chit chatted.  Once at the front, a brief disagreement ensued with the AA gatekeeper about whether our extra baggage was included in the ticket.  We emerged victorious, in spite of her threats.

We raced to security, stripping as we went, only to be stymied by the inept who insist on waiting until they get to the black buckets to remove every bit of lint from their pockets.  Those of us standing there with shoes, coat, scarf, bagged liquids, laptop, belt and change in hand, glaring at you offer the following bit of traveling wisdom, “You know this is coming so get ready before you get to the front of the line or we are going to start invoking our right to jump ahead of your unprepared self.”  (Not that I’m bitter.)  We arrived at the gate panting, sweating, shins screaming from the 8,000 mile hike and £15 in hand that we were going to spend on breakfast, but instead spent at the vending machine.

Then we settled into our seats with a sigh of relief and I readied for a movie and knitting marathon.

Halfway through Eat, Pray, Love the nice expat Brit living in Tucson leaned over to ask me how I got my knitting needles on board.

“Oh, they lifted that ban,” I answered authoritatively. “Not that I ever let it stop me.  I figured the worst that would happen is that would take my needles and I would cry.” I smiled brightly and returned to my sock and Julia Roberts.

But then I started to wonder.  Did I just lie to that woman?  I envisioned her being escorted to a tiny sterile room by a burly security guard holding her knitting needles of terror in an evidence bag as she cursed my name.  I should never disseminate unverified information.  So, today I checked.

And I sort of lied.

According to the UK government guidelines listed on direct.gov.uk you are allowed knitting needles in your hand baggage.

However, according to the Heathrow website, you are NOT allowed knitting needles in your hand baggage.

Hmmm, which is correct?  What’s a knitter to do?  Well, I, for one, will continue to travel with my needles and hope my fellow traveler never finds herself in trouble for listening to me.  Which reminds me…I need to check up on TSA guidelines.

What’s been your knitting needle travel experience?

 

Don’t Take My Needles Away! September 23, 2010

I am no terrorist, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to smuggle something on to a plane.  That something?  My knitting needles.

We’re off to Croatia for three days with no checked luggage.  I can’t go three days without my knitting.  The mere thought of it gives me cold chills and knitting withdrawal hives prickle my skin……… gasp, gasp….sorry, I almost passed out from hyperventilation.  I’m going to have to risk it.

“Do you think they’d set off the metal detector?”  My mother asks.

“They’re metal, so I would imagine so,” I respond.  “Why do you ask?”

“Well, I thought you could hide them in your bra or something?”

“I think I’ll take my chances putting them through the x-ray machine, rather than explaining to the person who pats me down that I honestly only wanted them to knit with and not for some nefarious purpose.”  I laugh, imagining how that would go over.

So, here’s my thought process: I know from experience that plastic needles are easier to get through security than metal.  (I think you know how I know that).  However, I’m on a sock knitting bender, and I don’t have plastic DPNs.  Do they even exist for that matter?  So, should I risk one of my precious nickel plated DPNs?

I envision myself lunging at the security guard screaming, “You can take my soda, but you can’t take my knitting needles!”  And thus ending up in airport prison.  So, better to take one of my less loved and less obvious wooden DPNs. However, I only have them in 2.75 mm.  I have three socks in progress and as it turns out only one of them is on 2.75mm needles and I don’t want to take that project with me because I’m waiting for edits from the tech editor and I want to knit it off the edited pattern.  Blarg!

I really don’t want to start ANOTHER sock project so I’ll go another route and take a scarf project.  I can’t fathom successfully smuggling 14″ plastic needles in my backpack, so I bring my interchangeable circular needles, broken down, with the needle tips in my sunglasses case.  But not the favored Knit Picks needles, my abandoned older set.

This is about the point in the story where my husband rolls his eyes at me and tells me it is a scary place in my head.

Day of travel: The key is to remain calm.  I approach security as if there isn’t a care in the world, being careful not to give the security people a shifty eye while sweating profusely and wiping my dripping palms…actually, we were through so fast I didn’t even have time to worry.  And they made it through!  Hoorah!

And thank the knitting deities they got through, because on our “fun filled” 1,000 island day cruise , turned into a nightmare with us trapped on an chilly, wind-assaulted, broken-toilet-having, drunken-tour-group-packed, water-bottle-refilled-from-the-tap-providing, altered-itinerary-so-you’ll-spend-more-time-on-this-misery-ship-but-will-see-less-and-oh-we’re-telling-you-this-now-that-we’re-20-minutes-at-sea, torture boat.  Knitting was my only salvation.

Moral of the story – sometimes it’s worth the risk!

Disclaimer: I hate to have to add a disclaimer, but I feel I must say that I am not advocating anyone try to sneak anything onto a plane.  I am merely relaying my own experience.