Thursday, February 4, 2016

TAC - Have Yarn, Will Travel

One of the most frequently asked questions that I have seen in recent months has been
"are crochet hooks allowed on planes?"



And with all the chaos going on all over the world - the question is valid.  But no matter how many times I have seen it answered, it is one of the questions that is constantly asked, because it varies from location to location.

The best answer is that for the most part, crafting supplies ARE allowed on most airlines, trains and buses, although your usual materials may need to be changed slightly.



- Crochet Hooks & Knitting Needles are, by most, considered non-lethal; but an overzealous security agent could make your departure a nightmare should they wish to view your crafting hardware as anything other than just crafting essentials.  
Aluminum Hooks and Knitting Needles may not 'fly' with security, so opt to take with you plastic or wooden alternatives (crochet) circular needles (knit) to work with in during the actual flight/ ride.  (pack your aluminum hooks/needles in your checked bag if you wish for hotel hooking.)


- Your cutting tool will be the biggest hassle that you will face.  Scissors are considered a weapon - not only are they sharp, but most come to a point that can 'stab' just as effortlessly as a dagger.  Many pointy scissors and any scissors with more than a 4in blade are banned from commercial flights.  As are the Pendant Yarn Cutters - which I don't understand, but hey, I don't make the rules - I just have to follow them, like you.  

But there ARE alternatives.
A small pair of NAIL CLIPPERS work GREAT!  It's what I use even when NOT traveling.  You can also opt for a pair of your toddler's safety scissors or even travel size dental floss (there's a blade in there to cut the floss!)


But you can do everything 'right'.  You even called ahead and made sure your airline/ train/ busline, allows your items - but if you get a Security Agent who is having a bad day -  well, you may just lose all your carry on crafting materials!!


My suggestions:


- DO NOT put your most expensive hooks/needles in your 'carry on' bag.  Purchase cheap alternative hardware for your crafting needs that you can live with, but if confiscated, won't break your heart.  Besides, how many of us have (at least temporarily) misplaced a hook in our own homes?  and you are out and about??  ... with the excitement of visiting new places or old friends?  Leave the good stuff home!

-  Keep your crafting materials together in a 'craft bag' (even if it's ziplock).  Security is more apt to allow your items when they can see them in relation to their usage.  
Scissors in your purse.  A crochet hook holding your ponytail in a bun.  A few cakes of yarn shoved in the bottom of your bag - that doesn't look like a serious crafter.  Keeping them all neatly together, showing pride and care in your craft, is more likely to allow your items safe passage with you.

- Always be kind an courteous when dealing with security.  There is no point in giving someone an attitude because they are trying to keep YOU safe. 
 If they question a craft item, politely let them know that you called/checked the regulations prior to bringing your materials and that you believed that your items were acceptable and can they offer suggestions for 'understanding the limitations better' or what alternative item would be better in the future.   And even if you know you are "right", the fine print says 'at agent's discretion' - so it's not wise to argue the point with them - you are not going to win.  At best, you are even more upset, frustrated and annoyed - at worst, a loss of a few dollars of materials turns into a loss of a few hundred dollars of a ticket and you having to find a new ride to get to where you are going.
 
- If the agent REFUSES to let your crafting items on with you, don't FIGHT!  Yeah, it stinks and you are bound to have a long travel without your distraction; however, with shoe-bombers and people who have no problems with crashing a travel vehicle - it's security's job to error on the side of caution.
 






Another alternative would be to catch up on your craft related reading.  Purchase a copy of the latest publication from your favorite crafting magazine.  Brush up your knowledge of new stitches with a "stitch encyclopedia".
 
I have known plenty of people who've had no issues getting their crochet needs on a plane with them, and even more who've had no issue on trains and buses.  BUT, I have heard of a FEW though that have had their items confiscated or have had to throw items away because they were not allowed. 

Courtesy and Common Sense go a long way when traveling and dealing with security.