Sewing & Carrying Sewing Materials in an Airplane

The holiday season is almost upon us which means that majority of the people will be traveling to either spend time with family or just enjoy some time away. Crafting, and especially knitting and embroidery is one of the hobbies that people turn to while away flying or waiting times. But then again, comes the question on whether you are allowed to bring along sewing equipment on the plane and whether you will go through security checks in the first place.

Transport authorities throughout the world deter travelers from carrying any item or object that could potentially be used as a weapon. This implies that you might have to leave behind some of your favored sewing equipment or pack them in your checked luggage. While we provide an insight into some of the things you could bring along, doing your research before traveling would be ideal as flying rules invariably change.

Different authorities’ take on traveling with sewing equipment

Canada and UK’s rules and regulations on the personal items you can bring to an airplane are quite common. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as well as the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, explains that scissors whose blade is no longer than 6 centimeters and with rounded edges are acceptable in your hand luggage. You will need to consult your airline if you need to put them in the hold luggage as well. These rules are quite similar to those of the Transportation Security Administration which is responsible for the safety of the traveling public in the US. Traveling with other tools such as seam rippers and thread cutters are quite unclear, however, you might want to store them in your checked luggage to be safe.

Can I bring along my sewing machine?

Yes. There are no restrictions on carrying your sewing machine, however, you need to ascertain that the machine along with its carry case is within the weight and size restrictions enforced by the airline. For instance, the Bother Jx2517 sewing machine is quite light. Prepare your sewing for traveling by doing the following:-

  • Detach the presser foot and remove the needle, thread, and bobbin. Depending on the machine’s model, ensure that all the thread holders are folded or detracted. Alternatively, tape down any part you think is at a risk of coming loose.
  • In the event that you do not have the machine’s packing box and material, consider getting some foam or other packing material to keep the machine intact.
  • Place the machine inside a plastic bag to keep it protected in case it rains.
  • If it is among your carry on luggage, you will most probably have to unpack it for the security check, so, bring along a roll of packing tape for re-sealing.

Can I knit during the flight?

While knitting in an airplane happens all the time, it is important to remember that you do not have total control over what could happen. The cabin crew has the authority to request you to stop doing something if they think it poses a risk to the other passengers. You could be asked to stop if your project demands a lot of movement, thus disturbing other passengers. For this reason, you might want to consider smaller projects such as knitting a hat, socks, or a scarf rather than knitting an afghan.

Tips and tricks on how to travel with your knitting tools

  • Carry small-sized scissors and needles

To be safe, carry kids’ scissors as they are normally quite small. While they are a little uncomfortable to use, they will still cut the thread and, after all, you will not be working with them for long. Better yet, bring along your rounded-tip scissors. Alternatively, you could use a dental floss container or nail clipper in lieu of a pair of scissors.

While metal needles and crochet hooks are allowed, plastic or bamboo ones are less threatening. Carrying small-sized needles will not only help you pass through security checks, but it will also help you avoid elbowing the people seated next to you. Circular needles will be hard to drop and do not roll away.

If you plan on working on more than one project, choose those that have a similar pattern so you do not have to change the needle or crochet size.

  • Have a special bag for your knitting supplies

Invest in a bag that will be used exclusively for your knitting supplies, but one that fits into your traveling suitcase. Stuffing them with other traveling supplies raises the chances of them getting lost. Whether you use a handbag that doubles up as your outfit’s accessory or a cheap reusable bag, a project bag will help you pick up or put down your project in a moment’s notice. Apart from helping you keep your work clean and tidy, it will also make it easy to present your knitting supplies to the airport security.

Use a pincushion for your needles and straight pins before putting it into your embroidery bag. On the other hand, you could use a magnetized case which will prevent your needles from rolling about. The ArtBin Sew-Lutions Slim Line Magnetic Box is a perfect example.

  • Cut only the yarn or fabric that you’ll need during your time away

While taking as much fabric or as many colors of yarn as you can is tempting, chances are that you will not have sufficient time to work on a major project. Plan on exactly what you will be working on and take only the supplies you need. Should anything run out or if you finish your project earlier than expected, you could purchase some at your destination. Consider using a center-pull ball of yarn as it is less likely to tangle.

  • Consider starting off the project before you leave

Although knitting tools are not entirely banned from checked and carry on luggage, you will be less likely to be questioned if there is evidence of work in progress.

  • Carry a notebook with you as well as your patterns

It is inevitable that you will get interrupted at one point or the other. Having a notebook with you will help you note down your stopping point as well as any modifications to your project on the go. As well, consider having travel-size booklet of your patterns. Alternatively, you could use your tablet or e-reader.

  • Throw away things that you no longer need

Throwing away the things that you are no longer in need of will keep you from ending up with a lump of scraps in your knitting bag. Dump the wastes whenever you come across a trash can. This will further help you keep tidy.

Precautionary measures

It would be helpful to pack a self-addressed and stamped envelope which is large enough to accommodate your knitting tools in the event that they do not pass through the security checks. You could also purchase cheap knitting tools for traveling purposes. This way, you will not feel devastated if they are confiscated and you have no means of getting them back. Consider bringing along stitch markers too. These will be helpful for the times you have to pause as they’ll keep your work from unraveling.

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