Airplane knitting

When I told you about my yarncrawl I mean, romantic weekend in Edinburgh, I forgot to tell you – we flew to Edinburgh…and I knit on the flight!

It was a big decision, what to take to knit that wouldn’t offend airport security – a decision up there with what clothes to pack!

I can fully understand that metal knitting needles could easily be used a weapons and are not allowed for good reason. They are “weapons of mass construction” in my case! That ruled out taking my Top Secret project or Hildegard – both of which are on fine metal needles 🙁

**Warning – Ranting ahead**

But what is acceptable? The web is awash with stories of of needles being confiscated simply because they are knitting implements, whether made of plastic, bamboo or wood. If you ask, you are told a flat”no knitting needles” despite size or material. I hate the way knitters, who are typically not society’s most radical members, are reduced to “smuggling” something onto the plane. I wish the airports would be a little more specific – they could easily put it in the small print on the internet – no metal and nothing smaller than a certain gauge perhaps? I don’t know a knitter who wouldn’t comply with that kind of restriction. It’s just easier for them to say, “No” 👿

In fact, on a trip to the Science Museum in London I was told I couldn’t take my 6mm bamboo needles (along with attached scarf) into the museum because they were dangerous! When I pointed out to the jobsworth security guard that the museum shop, just behind her, was selling giant sharpened pencils (and chemistry sets!) more pointy and sturdy than my needles and offered to demonstrate how much more damage a pencil was capable of, she relented in a gigantic huff. She clearly had delusions of working in a airport – Where has this idea that anything used for knitting is a weapon?

**End of Rant**

Enough ranting – back to what I could take on the plane with minimum fear of being accused of terrorism. I have a set of Denise Interchangeable Needles which are sold as Aeroplane safe.

They have plastic tips and removable cords that you can put end stoppers on. They are a really useful set and work very well but, for me, I don’t enjoy the feel of the plastic tips to knit with so don’t use them that often. But ideal for a flight!

I leave the half done knitting on the flexy plastic cord with the end stops on and put the needle tips in my makeup bag – now to be emptied into a clear plastic bag, probably in case I use my mascara to hijack the drinks trolley. “Give me gin and tonic now or I’ll make you look like Liza Minelli…Don’t make me use the unflattering shade of blusher!”

So what item did I knit on my airplane friendly, easy to smuggle needles??

Remember my Snuzzle Scarf – chosen to go with my lovely new green jacket?

In a strange incident of sisterly synchronicity, My sister Carol had, all they way away in Cardiff, fallen in love with the same green jacket. Unfortunately she hadn’t bought it on the spot and it had sold out when she went back. Can you imagine how jealous she was of mine? Luckily, I managed to find her one at my end of the country and posted it down to her. How could I let my sister be seen without the perfect accompanying scarf?

The scarf is knit in fabulously soft Misti Alpaca chunky on 9mm needles, is narrow so lends itself to a circular needle and is a very easy pattern – ideal!

I didn’t make a point of saying “Oh look, I have knitting” to security but they didn’t bat an eyelid – in fact my chunky metal belt buckle that set off the metal detectors was much more interesting to them!

I got home with only the end frill to finish….

…and a very warm happy sister!!

I may have to do a third one though….

…somebody else liked it….

Completed Knit Report  
Name: Snuzzle Scarf No.2
Pattern: Ribs and Ruffles Scarf, Free from Misti Alpaca’s site
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky – Chartrese Melange colour!
Pattern Problems: None
Pattern Modifications: None
Washing and Wearing: Fantastically soft and warm, my original has stretched a bit lengthwise but still fab.
Knit It Again???: Yes, This is my second!! Might make it wider though and use more yarn.
Difficulty: Very easy
Rating: 5/5
Other Postings Relating To This One: Yarncrawl – The Sequel

Green snuzzle scarf

5 Responses

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  1. Cheryl
    Cheryl April 1, 2008 at 11:59 am |

    A model in the making will the cat allow you to have it back?or will you be knitting another one 🙂

  2. Sharon
    Sharon April 6, 2008 at 6:34 pm |

    Hi Susan
    Love the scarf and the green jacket! My daughter wanted to take her knitting back on the flight from Exeter to Glasgow, she was using rather chunky bamboo needles. The security staff wouldn’t allow them through, but I think that’s because she was looking fairly menacing. We did however, both take metal knitting needles with us into Buckingham Palace a couple of years ago. We were common tourists looking round during the summer open days rather than special garden party visitors (or even better, recipients of some grand award). Seems to me that it depends on the staff at the time rather than any strict policy.

  3. smug sheep
    smug sheep April 7, 2008 at 4:16 pm |

    Totally agree with you on the ridiculousness of the BAA policy. Interestingly, the US FAA does NOT have the same problem with knitters, so if you fly to the States it’s ok to knit on the way back but not on the way there…

  4. teeweewonders
    teeweewonders April 7, 2008 at 9:35 pm |

    I love planeknitting. My DH claims it makes me sit just that wee bit more still. I’m a terrible fidgeter!
    I set up a wee group on Flickr “Commuter knitting worldwide”, but it has yet to catch on (4 members at last count. LOL!). http://www.flickr.com/groups/commuterknitting/

    Pictures are welcome.

    OH, and GREAT colour and nice scarf. I love the frilly edge. I made that on a very basic ribbed scarf recently and it makes a nice change to the rib.

  5. Layla
    Layla April 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm |

    I completely agree with this! And thanks for the tip about the Denise needles – I’m a hopeless flier & have been searching for a solution so that I can take my knitting on the plane to help keep me calm – the needle set is expensive…but so worth it!! 🙂

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