Many knitters are keen to put time on flights and waiting around in airports to good use. The question many ask is, “Can I take my knitting needles on the plane?” The simple answer is yes.
But of course, there are always exceptions to any rule.
Read on to find the policies outlined by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) in the USA.
Table Of Contents
- Can You Bring Knitting Needles On a Plane?
- Recommendations For Knitting On A Plane
- Other Tools Used For Knitting
- Traveling Outside the United States
- Best Knitting Needles For Travelling On Planes
- Lykke Driftwood Interchangeable Gift Set in Grey Denim Pouch
- Clover “Takumi Combo” Interchangeable Knitting Needles Set
- Denise Interchangeable Blue Kit Brights
- Helpful Tips For Just In Case
Can You Bring Knitting Needles On a Plane?
I’ve put together this guide to make sure you don’t have your beloved knitting needles confiscated when going through Airport Security.
The current TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has a pretty clear policy on US flights (flights that take off and land within the US):
Carry On Bags: Yes
Checked Bags: Yes
It means you can take knit needles on the plane in your carry on luggage and your checked baggage. Hooray! It’s worthwhile getting yourself a set of point protectors since the TSA specifically adds:
Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.
You should have point protectors for knitting needles in carry on bags if a TSA agent needs to check your items.
It’s important to note there’s a warning on the TSA website stating:
The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.
Recommendations For Knitting On A Plane
Here are a few recommendations to keep your knitting needles and to be considerate of other passengers:
Use circular needles, preferably wood, bamboo needles, or plastic.
Metal is allowed, but some sharp metal needles may flag an agent to confiscate them. The beauty of circular needles is both needles are connected to a cable, so no accidentally dropping one needle.
Using circulars means you can knit in front of you with little range of motion. You’re less likely to elbow anyone!
Use circular needles no greater than 31 inches. Projects like cowls, scarves, or hats are good options for knitting on a plane.
Leave larger projects at home or in your checked-in bags.
If you’re knitting with straight needles, don’t have ones that are super long. Using these in a confined space is uncomfortable for you and the passengers next to you.
Although technically there’s no restriction on the size and length of the knitting needle, make sure yours aren’t intimidating or seen as a weapon.
Be aware a flight attendant may ask you to stop if they believe it is an inconvenience to other passengers. Also different terms may apply on your return trip back to the United States.
Other Tools Used For Knitting
Circular thread cutters or other cutters with blades must be placed in your checked bags before security screening.
Scissors must be blunt for carry on bags, and the blades no longer than 4″/10cm from the pivot point. If you have sewing scissors, sewing kits or other needlepoint tools longer than this, place them in your checked luggage.
The TSA website says :
Carry On Bags: Yes
Checked Bags: Yes
As I’ve mentioned above, sharp objects need to be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors. A good idea is to carry your hooks in a roll-up case or notions pouch.
You can bring sewing needles in your carry-on bag or your checked luggage. I would leave them in your checked-in luggage. Doing any finishing would just be annoying on a plane.
Particularly if you drop your tapestry needle mid-project and have to disturb other passengers to find it.
Traveling Outside the United States
Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks are only allowed in checked-in bags. Don’t take them in your carry-on luggage.
I’ve read more than one account of knitters losing their needles while departing Mexico (but not flying in so you can knit at least one way).
Knitting needles and crochet hooks of any size and type (e.g., plastic, aluminum, bamboo) are permitted in carry-on or checked baggage.
There used to be a restriction on knitting needles on a plane in Australia but has been removed. You can check them in or take them on board.
United Kingdom (UK)
They’re allowed in your carry on. You can take your knitting needles in your hand luggage on flights within the UK and in your hold luggage.
European Union (EU)
On their list of prohibited items is the following:
…tools with a blade or a shaft of more than 6 cm capable of use as a weapon, such as screwdrivers and chisels.
Steer clear of taking any metal knitting needles on board and stowing them in checked-in luggage. It’s best to have bamboo or wooden circular needles with a blunt point.
They specifically discuss scissors (no more than 6 cm / 2.3″ measured from the fulcrum) are allowed. Small craft scissors with blunt points are a good idea or small nail clippers.
It is strictly prohibited to take knitting needles on a plane in France. They must be checked in, and aren’t allowed in your carry on.
Make sure you do your research before you go. Going through airport security can be stressful, so make it easy on yourself, so there will be no issues.
Best Knitting Needles For Travelling On Planes
As I mentioned above, it’s best to avoid sharp-pointed metal knitting needles and opt for wooden, bamboo, or plastic for getting through the security checkpoint. Circular Knitting Needles are a great idea.
Interchangeable Circular Needle tips can be removed from the cable and end stoppers placed on each end of the cable to secure your project. Choose ones with a blunter tip.
Most Interchangeable needles can be replaced. I wouldn’t advise taking the whole set with you on the plane, just the ones you need for your project. Leave the rest in your checked-in luggage.
Here are some options for the Best Interchangeable Knitting Needles.
Lykke Driftwood Interchangeable Gift Set in Grey Denim Pouch
Lykke is a Norwegian word for happiness, and this company aims to, you guessed it – Make knitters happy.
5” sets come in 3 different styles. The one I feature here is the Driftwood Interchangeables in the Grey Denim pouch.
The Driftwood set is a soft, weathered grey. They aren’t made from driftwood, rather from birch.
The 5” sets come in the following sizes (in both US and Millimeters (mm)
US4/3.5mm, US5/3.75mm, US6/4mm, US7/4.5mm, US8/5mm, US9/5.5mm, US10/6mm, US10/6.5mm US11/8mm, US13/9mm, US15/10mm, US17/12mm
Included are 2 cords for 24″ length, 2 cords for 32″ length, 1 cord for 40″ length. It comes with 2 connectors, 4 keys, 8 stoppers, all enclosed in a Grey Denim Carrying Case.
The tip isn’t as pointy as other brands, but they aren’t blunt or dull either. A good in-between tip.
When first using these needles, tighten the joint between cable and needle tip with the kit’s key. The key looks like a wire with a loop at the end.
This makes sure both are securely fastened together before you start knitting.
- Wooden needles have a smooth finish and lightweight
- The weathered grey look is appealing
- The joins between the tip and cable don’t snag the yarn
- Connecting the cable with the needle tip uses a screw join, be sure to use the key for a secure connection
- Twelve different needles sizes and the labels for each size is etched into the end of the needle tip.
- Cables are flexible
- Some users felt the cable connectors are too long and snagged the yarn.
Clover “Takumi Combo” Interchangeable Knitting Needles Set
Takumi refers to the type of Japanese bamboo the needle tips are made from. I’ve knitted with a range of fixed circular Clover knitting needles and Double Pointed Needles.
The bamboo is very smooth, lightweight, and easy to work with.
The set comes with twelve needle tip sizes – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11, 13, 15. Each needle tip has the size and mm version etched onto it.
Five cord lengths – 16 inch, 24 inch, 29 inch, 36 inch, and 48 inch.
A screw join connects the cord and needle tip. You easily screw the needle tip into the cord. They’re neatly enclosed in a leather-like zippered case. This set is made in Japan.
- The bamboo needle tips are smooth and don’t snag the yarn
- The joins are very smooth, and stitches will not catch.
- Cables are very flexible and easy to work with.
- The points are tapered
- Some users have said the joins can sometimes separate. I think it’s a matter of making sure they’re securely fastened before you begin.
Denise Interchangeable Blue Kit Brights
The kit contains ten pairs of needles in sizes between US5/3.75mm and US15/10mm. Six cords (in sizes: 5 inch, 9 inch, 12 inch, 14 inch, 16 inch, and 19 inch,) two connectors for joining cords together, and four end buttons.
All items come in one 8-1/4x7x1 inch blue case.
- Tips are made from specially formulated plastic resin.
- Plastic needle tips come in fun colors.
- A simple twist and turn to attach the tip to cable
- Made in the USA.
- Family owned and operated business
- Smallest pair of needles may bend a little if you knit very tightly
Helpful Tips For Just In Case
Travel rules and permissible items are subject to change – while this list is accurate for now, new rules can go up anytime. Always check the requirements of the country and airlines you’re flying with before you fly.
The rules are also up to the discretion of the security screening officer.
Here’s a handy tip: consider taking a padded mailing envelope and sheet of stamps with you when you travel. On the odd chance your needles will be confiscated, you can mail your package home to yourself!
Before you go to the airport, add stitch markers, and a lifeline to your knitting project. Or, bring a stitch holder to place your project on if they ask you to put your knitting needles in your check in.
Be sensible about the knitting needles you are traveling with, don’t take any you’re not prepared to lose.
Enjoy your travels and your knitting on board the plane when allowed. If you’ve had experience knitting on planes, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.