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Tips for Traveling with Knitting

If you’re like me, you take your knitting with you wherever you go. But sometimes traveling with knitting can be a bit challenging. These 10 tips can help with planning for traveling with your projects.

1. If you're driving, try to get someone else to do most of the driving if possible. Being a passenger allows for a good chunk of knitting time. (I got almost all of a sock finished while traveling from Florida back home to Texas. I would have finished the whole sock if I hadn't done part of the driving. *grin*)

2. If you're flying within the United States, TSA guidelines say knitting needles are fine to bring in your carry-on bag. If you're worried, you can print out the TSA guidelines and tuck them into the bag with your project. (Scissors need to have blunt tips and be under 4" long.)

3. If you're flying internationally, you'll need to check the guidelines for the location(s) you're traveling as well as the specific airline. Some countries do specifically prohibit knitting needles and others prohibit "sharp" objects, which might include knitting needles. (If in doubt, it's better to just put your knitting in your checked bag than risk losing it.)

4. If you're worried about not being allowed to take your knitting needles on a flight and being stopped with them at security, try these suggestions:

  • Don't take your best needles (pack them in your checked bag and use cheap needles on the plane).
  • Bring some waste yarn or stoppers for your interchangeable cord in case you're not allowed to bring the needles; that way you can keep your project even if the needles have to go away.
  • Bring a self-addressed, stamped envelope that you can use to mail the needles back to yourself so they don’t have to be thrown away/confiscated.

But, truly, as long as you've looked up the guidelines (and followed them), you shouldn't need to worry too much.

5. Pick a smaller project for the car or plane. It's a lot easier to take a sock or hat with you (especially if you're knitting on a plane or in a car) than the giant afghan you've been working on. (Although, if you get cold on planes, a giant blanket might be nice to have!)

6. Pick a not-too-complicated project for the actual traveling part. If you're having to juggle a big chart or a long list of instructions, especially in a small space, that can be a recipe for disaster. And doing a beaded project on a plane probably isn't the best idea (although the Yarn Harlot has done it before). Once you're at your vacation destination and have more room to spread out, you can work on a more complex or bigger project.

7. Bring more than one project. Even if you don't truly think you'll have time to knit, it's always nice to have options. Plus, if you do end up with more time for knitting than you thought, you won't run out of something to do. (One of my readers wrote, "My sister was judging me for bringing so many projects on our last vacay. My response was to remind her of the cruise ship that was stranded for several days. Her reply was 'good point,' and she tossed another project into her bag.")

8. If you're planning to start a new project, make sure to wind your yarn before you leave. Also, read over the pattern to make sure you have all of the needed materials—and skills. You don't want to be in your amazing cabin in Colorado with no internet access only to find out that the cast on for a project is something you've never heard of before and now you have no way of looking it up!

9. If you're using a printed copy of a pattern, print out an extra copy and put it in a different location in your baggage. That way, if something happens to the copy you're using, you have another one and can continue with your project. If you use an electronic version of the pattern, print off a copy just in case as a backup.

10. Don't beat yourself up if you don't get much knitting done during your vacation. Sometimes you're just too busy or too tired for knitting. And that's okay. (I had to remind myself of this after a recent vacation as I didn't do any knitting the whole time we were at Disney World!)

And don't forget to check out any yarn shops along your travels or at your destination. Getting souvenir yarn is one of my favorite things to do! (You can search Ravelry for yarn shops in specific locations. Look on the left side for the local yarn shop directory. There's even a road trip planner!)

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