Stress Reflex

So yesterday I was wondering what I was going to knit on this trip (Eight days, many airports, many cabs, much waiting.) and I was futzing through the stash with nothing and everything appealing at once, and the doorbell rang, and the inevitable happened.

Yarn arrived that I didn’t remember buying.

Now, I don’t get yarn online a lot, so It should stand out when I do it, but nope. No memory. I opened the box, knowing that it must have been something really good if it moved me that way…

Cookiessocks0229

That explains it. Two of Cookie A.’s patterns and the solid colour sock yarn to go with them. Totally reasonable. I wound one skein of each of the yarns I choose (Louet Gems) and tossed myself out the door onto a plane to Pittsburgh. (If I knit fast I will have to wind more by hand.)

I wish you could have all been on the plane with me. I clear security with my various knitting needles and yarn and sit myself down and get out my ipod and the German stocking pattern, and I settle in. I have only once, in all of the flights that I have taken all over Canada and the US been told I couldn’t take my needles. (That was a tiny plane with no door between the cockpit and the passengers. I can see why they might be extra thoughtful about what the passengers have. ) Once I get them on many people comment on how they can’t believe that they are allowed, but with the exception of the occasional rare arse, I’ve never had a problem.

Germanstockingst2903

So today I’m sitting there, knitting away and as the flight attendant walks by my seat she looks over, sees the knitting and advises me that I will have to put it away for take-off and landing and only knit when there is no turbulence and the seat belt sign is off because – get this….

Things could be bumpy and I could let go of a needle and it could go flying through the air and hurt someone.

I put the knitting away like she asked me to (of course, I’m not going to argue on a plane, Twitch a little maybe, but argue? Never)…but as I put them away I commented that this was the first time I’d been asked to do this, and she told me that technically, I should be asked every time. (That would mean that there are a lot of slacker flight attendants out there, but I digress.) I harumphed and looked out the window, hoping for a smooth flight so I could pick up my sock, but I couldn’t help but notice that the guy next to me had a very pointy metal pen that he was using to fill in the airlines “sudoko” in the in-flight magazine, and that pen could totally have gone flying through the air too, and being about 100% heavier than my needle and since according to the laws of physics impact force equals mass times velocity…his pen was far, far more dangerous.

All I ask for is a little common sense and consistency. I hope I get that flight attendant again. I’ll be the lady knitting with pens.

(Ps. it was bumpy the whole way.)

Tomorrow, Representing in Pittsburgh.

271 thoughts on “Stress Reflex

  1. Honestly. You’re more likely to get burned by the hot coffee they serve (I’ve been baptized like 5 times now on just slight air turbulence) – but do you see them not serving coffee?

  2. Yay! Pittsburgh is just one stop away from Cleveland. All you CleveKnitters come on out and give Steph a BIG CLEVELAND WELCOME on Saturday!

  3. But pens don’t *look* dangerous. Theater – and the ‘security’ measure are pure theater – is about how things look, not how they function.
    I’ve spent way too much time trying to figure out vulnerabilities in everyday civilian life (paranoia made more sense where I lived then): human hands are right up there on my list of “things that can be way too dangerous”. Let’s see the flight attendant asking everyone to put THOSE away.
    Meanwhile, try knitting meekly; that should be deemed less offensive. Maybe if you wear a bonnet…?

  4. Seriously- they give knitters and old people with canes a hard time, but they let people with shoe bombs on. Personnally I think that all of these charades are red herrings to keep the public from realizing that you cannot keep a plane with that many people 100% safe. Very nice work on your impact equation (impact=Force times time duration; force = mass times acceleration; ergo: impact= mass times velocity) And you claim you can’t do math πŸ˜‰

  5. Here in Australia we’re *still* not allowed to take knitting needles on flights AT ALL. Perhaps us Aussie knitters look much much more dangerous and frightening than everyone else? I think the bigger risk is what we might do on flight if we don’t have knitting to keep us calm!

  6. I have always been asked to put my knitting away during take off and landing. But I figured it was so I didn’t put my own eye out (which make a little more sense than the flying needle).
    Pens and pencils should be included! I’m always tempted to point out the Gross Point Blank scene where he kills a guy with a pen but then I figure that could backfire.

  7. I’ve never understood why I can’t take my bamboo size 1 dpn sock needles on the plane, when they’re easier to snap in half than a pencil. If I can have a pencil, I should be able to have my bamboo sock needles. At least the sock needles won’t give anyone lead poisoning if they get stabbed with one. Hope the flight wasn’t too long and boring!

  8. Was it US Air? I’ve had this happen to me. The same touchy titchy stewardess was snarky and spilled apple juice all over me, too. (sticky!) It’s only happened to me once, I travel a lot and I’m still grouchy. If it happens again, I’ll ask if they tell people to put away their pencils, too! (of course, I always obey the “no needles” rules in the UK, Australia, and NZ…it’s their country, after all…)

  9. lol
    i have never been asked to put the needles away.
    but i have knit with mechanical pencils:)
    also i just started that pattern myself only in different yarn.
    πŸ™‚ its pretty isnt it?

  10. You are a saint. I would have totally punched the attendant button and requested that all ball point pens and pencils (lead is poisonous, after all) be taken away from other passengers. And then I’d be hauled away, but I would have made my point.
    Then again, if it gets bumpy one might, ah, hurl and that wouldn’t be good for knitting, would it?

  11. My mom was told the same thing many many years ago. Way before anyone ever thought to ban knitting needles. But I agree about the pen.

  12. That is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard (and the most frustrating). I’ve never had a problem with needles on a plane, though I usually take my bamboo ones if I can. Good luck!

  13. i’ve been salivating over that pattern myself… stupid double standards keeping you from your beautiful socks!

  14. Honestly, people can be so dumb sometimes!! In 25 years of knitting in all kinds of situations I have never, never had or been the cause of a knitting needle injury. I was once in a high speed collision in a car and didn’t even drop a stitch, let alone have a needle fly out of my hand. The doctor I saw in emergency told me that knitting had probably saved me from getting a bad whiplash, since I would have been relaxed, head slightly down, and body in a balanced position.

  15. I, too, appreciated your math equation, as I was thinking this myself when you mentioned the pen. Just today, I foolishly packed my BRAND NEW squeeze bottle of yummy NEW! lotion, weighing in at a healthy 4.5 ounces. I know, I know, the limit is 4 oz. but you think she let me take it? NO! “This is too big and if you want it you’ll have to check your bag” Right, like I’m standing there, sans shoes, sans belt/vest/purse/bag, have already tossed my water and now I’m going to go back and check my back because of LOTION!? Ugh. I think the “security” measures are not only a red herring but also a plot to further the economy: Ergo: Make everyone throw out things uselessly and then they’ll have to spend money to buy the exact same thing 25 feet away: More money spent, more water purchased, more lotion sold. I am fearing also the environmental impact of all this needless chucking of plastics, but I digress.
    I am watching your trips unfold and really enjoying your comments. AND I can’t wait to see you myself in JUNE! Petaluma! Hooray!!!
    anie

  16. I think they should ban men’s ties on flights… I mean, you could choke the living **** out of someone with a man’s tie… and then, what about bras?… one could strangle someone with a bra… or sleeves… you could do some serious damage with a simple sleeve…
    You get my point – RIDICULOUS!!!
    See you in Oak Brook, IL!! Yay!!

  17. Good call on not complaining in-flight; however, a well-worded letter to the airline might be in order. Even if a needle did fly out of your hands…it would just fall. It would take a crash, or loss of cabin pressure or something to make them fly fast/hard enough to do damage. Sigh. Gorgeous stockings, though.

  18. Oh Stephanie, My mother in law once said if I was knitting next to her on a plane she would ask me to stop because of the pointy needles. I responded by saying that the books she reads have rather sharp corners. She was not amused.

  19. reasoning in airline situations NEVER works. they can always pull out some rule, real or made-up, and what are you going to say?
    the customer service that is expected in other industries goes out the window in the name of “safety.”
    wasted non-knitting hours. what a crime!

  20. Welcome to the ‘Burgh! I hope you enjoy your stay here and that you and the sock get to see some of the city.

  21. I, too, appreciated your math equation, as I was thinking this myself when you mentioned the pen. Just today, I foolishly packed my BRAND NEW squeeze bottle of yummy NEW! lotion, weighing in at a healthy 4.5 ounces. I know, I know, the limit is 4 oz. but you think she let me take it? NO! “This is too big and if you want it you’ll have to check your bag” Right, like I’m standing there, sans shoes, sans belt/vest/purse/bag, have already tossed my water and now I’m going to go back and check my back because of LOTION!? Ugh. I think the “security” measures are not only a red herring but also a plot to further the economy: Ergo: Make everyone throw out things uselessly and then they’ll have to spend money to buy the exact same thing 25 feet away: More money spent, more water purchased, more lotion sold. I am fearing also the environmental impact of all this needless chucking of plastics, but I digress.
    I am watching your trips unfold and really enjoying your comments. AND I can’t wait to see you myself in JUNE! Petaluma! Hooray!!!
    anie

  22. I’m so glad I’m not the only one lacking a short term memory. I often get packages and think, hmm, what did I order this time? I must be sleep shopping on the computer at night πŸ˜‰
    Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  23. Hey Sweetpea-
    Our showtimes have been posted on the DIY network – go check ’em out… I’m on on Monday (or maybe Tuesday). Thank G-D I don’t have DIY.

  24. Once I was in a fender bender and I was knitting in the backseat (socks or something on 4 dpn’s) I very nearly had one through my chest and through the eye of the guy next to me. But to get that kind of turbulence on a plane, the needles would be the least of your worries.

  25. The SAME thing happened to me on our flight to NC!!! I also asked why, as I hadn’t been asked to do this before (mind you I think you’ve been on WAY more flights, but still!).
    Her answer? Yep, my needle could go flying out of my hand and either put my, or someone else’s, eye out. At the time I was using CIRCULAR needles!!!

  26. Ah, dear Harlot, I refer you to pages 190-191 of your own just-published book. Which I just finished reading. I think I went into some sort of trace. All I know is the kids had leftover cold pizza for dinner and I’m done with the book. Amazing.
    At least you didn’t have to sit next to Mr. “Hey Baby, Want To Have An Affair” again!

  27. I so agree, on how many flights from Paris to Sydney have I had to content myself with a sudoko and a sharp pencil because I can’t knit (minimum 22 hours without knitting) it is so stupid. Not even a hint of a knitting needle, nor even a plastic crochet hook. It’s all about lobbies. I’m just going to have to learn to knit with those little styluses (styli?) they use on those fruity-named palm tops, why not?

  28. Stephanie,
    I got one for you…
    I was on a plane to Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago and never got stopped at security for anything other than a little tube of cover-up I had in my make-up bag. The security guy told me that I had to put in a ziploc baggie or it was going to have to be confiscated. Quickly, remembered what I had in my knitting bag. So, I opened my knitting bag, which made it through the little scanner thing un touched, pulled out my ziploc with my sock in progress in it (needles and all) and put my little cover-up tube inside.
    Then, imagine my surprise when on my plane trip back home (second plane ride…thus knitting bag had been through two security check points) sitting on my seat, ON THE PLANE, I noticed a FULL SIZE PAIR OF SCISSORS in the very same ziploc bag I had pulled out right there in the security line!
    False Sense of Security? What do you think?
    Marlaina aka Marly
    http://www.knitthing.blogspot.com
    Can’t wait to see you in Denver! Remember me

  29. Believe it or not, I had the same thing happen to me last year on a flight to Orlando from Philadelphia. I was knitting on Inox circs! I was tempted to tell her I was better able to choke someone with the 40″ cord than stab someone with the (fairly) blunt nickel tips… but thought better of it. πŸ™‚ Common sense goes out the window when it comes up against what I call “security theater.”

  30. Shaking my head in wonderment. I so far have not been asked to put my needles away. I usually wait until we are in the air anyway. Pre flight I am usually to nervous to knit and don’t want to drop stiches.
    Silly muggle attendant…

  31. Well, technically, anything can be a danger given enough propulsion, so in a crash, you might actually impale someone. That being said, I’d assume there are bigger things to worry about if your plane is crashing (although it would be galling if you survived the plane crash only to be speared by an errant needle).
    I have been asked to do that once, I tucked the knitting down beside me on the seat, and as soon as the flight attendants sat down, I began to knit again. I am a serious rebel.

  32. I’ve heard of women not being able to take breast milk onto planes (it might have even been on the comments on this blog now that I think of it). It’s crazy! Killer knitting, killer pens, killer breast milk, the list could go on and on.
    Good luck on the rest of your flights. . . knit on sister!!!

  33. ROFL – once I have been told about the same story (to put them away on take-off and landing). Only the rationale was that I might hurt myself when the plane moved on the take-off. ??????? Only a muggle – a truly sheltered one – would think that.

  34. You poor thing! I had 14inch metal needles 5 months after 9-11. Go figure. People are always surprised that I’m allowed on w/ needles (mostly wood now), but sometimes my smart ass mouth goes before my brain and says ‘well, it isn’t my needles you need worry about it is my well trained hands and feet’ (as a 3rd degree black belt). oops. they just look at me funny.

  35. I have come across some very “learning-challenged” flight attendants. I am a large woman. One flight attendant announced to the entire plane that unless I moved from the exit aisle, we would not be able to take off, as I was too large to be sitting there. A very kind gentleman offered to switch places with me. She came to me later and whispered she was sorry if she embarassed me. Can you guess what I said to her?????

  36. wow… I would have loved to have her as my flight attendant when I waltzed on board a plane with US 19’s and proceeded to knit a scarf for a friend. Imagine what one of those could do if I had accidentally let go!

  37. I’m thinking of the knitter who knitted with glass pipettes on a plane while needles were being totally banned, and how much more dangerous those potentially were. Wondering if Sheila’s handflamed glass circulars would get the same reaction as your metal straights did? Or would the stewardess just go, oh, those are cool!
    Love that kneesock pattern!

  38. Oh, for Pete’s Sake. The complete idiocy of people. And muggles, at that. That said, one of my finest moments was disabusing a rather dense someone of the notion that if the hull of an airliner was punctured that the whole thing wouldn’t explode and spew the passengers to Kingdom Come. Truly a choice and satisfying event. Anyway . . .
    I think you should keep a set of pens with some “emergency yarn” in a little bag in your carry on. So, you can just whip them out when you’re asking to put your needles away. You could even knit my Easter Tie pattern with them. It’s knit in moss stitch of worsted weight yarn, so it would be easier than socks.
    Have fun on your trip–after looking at the tour page, I don’t envy you at all. Travelling that much really takes it out of a knitter. But, if all else fails, you should be able to get a lot of practice with your pens . . .

  39. OH! Please tell us how that pattern is! I have 2 of cookie’s patterns and I’m going to start one as soon as I finish some UFOs.

  40. OMG! I bought the Thelonious Sock pattern too! I have yet to cast on, but when you do, please post pics! πŸ™‚
    Can’t wait to see you in Victoria!

  41. OMG! What would she have thought if she heard the suggestion for a mosh pit in NYC?
    P.S. That Cookie A. is a freakin’ genius. I saw her at Stitches West but I was afraid to go up and talk to her because she, like, sits at the right hand of the sock-knitting God for crying out loud. I will be similarly afraid to approach you in Petaluma, but I know that you can be appeased by chocolate and coffee, so I will come appropriately equipped and face my fears. You can freak out about having to speak to the knitters, the knitters can freak out about meeting the Harlot. It’ll be a regular freak out party. Then we’ll all go have a beer and knit a couple of rows, and all will be well in the world.

  42. I’ve had similar thoughts about projectile dpns while knitting in cars in NYC traffic, but maybe I’ve never been in turbulence bad enough to make me think about it in flight.
    Honey, what did you do with your hands for the whole flight? I’m worried.

  43. I’ve been through the whole range of (airline)knitting rule hell, and none of it makes any sense. The powers that be ARE into the theater of it, and the sheep think that being inconvenienced means that they’re safer. We see through that, though.
    One disagreement, however… don’t I remember from Physics One that force equals mass X velocity SQUARED?

  44. You are going to one of my favorite cities in the whole world. I will never forget the thrill I felt the first time I rode from the airport into the city — I was 16, on my way to an admissions interview at the college I would eventually attend — and the instant our car shot out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel and into the city…oh, man, I still don’t have words for how spectacular that view is. I don’t know how much time you’ll have to play, but if you have some time, try to take at least one ride up one of the inclines, and absolutely try to get to the Strip for food shopping. (Or, if you’d like to continue the art appreciation course for the sock, the Warhol Museum and the Mattress Factory are both great.)
    Have I mentioned that you’re going to one of my favorite cities in the whole world? πŸ™‚

  45. I have never had any trouble getting knitting needles (sometimes many sets) through security, but was once told by a flight attendant that I was not to knit during take off. She made it seem as though it was for my own protection, not others’ (“you could poke yourself in the eye”), and I of course obliged but sat there fuming and thinking about pencils being just as “hazardous,” too!

  46. See, I would have screamed, clutching my face, half way through the flight–the pen IN_MY_EYE!!!
    Yeah I don’t fly much–so I can be snarky here on the ground.

  47. Sorry to hear about the muggle flight attendant. I’ve never had my needles taken, but I have had the x-ray guys see them and think they were acupuncture needles. I’m really not sure how I got through long flights before I started knitting…
    Can’t wait to see you tomorrow night in Pittsburgh!!!!

  48. You make knitting socks seem very easy and enjoyable. IΒ΄m still unable to finish a pair that I started about a year ago, at least I was smart enough to CO for 2 at the same time. You have inspired me, if not infected me, with the “sock bug”. TheyΒ΄ll get done!
    p.s hopefully before my first winter in Minneapolis.

  49. Harumph – don’t get me started on the inconsistencies of flight attendants. Try taking a baby and all the apparels needed to care for her/him on board today… It must have been torture watching the knitting project that whole flight. My fingers are itching just thinking of it.

  50. Gotta love it! Knitting needles vs. ball point pens and pencils.
    That’s my line too- a pen would be a lot more dangerous than a bamboo toothpick.

  51. One time my tweezers (my super-sharp, $20 tweezers) got taken away. The guy in front of me? Got to carry through one of those little cases of tiny screwdrivers that you use to take apart and put together things like computers and toasters, and, you know, bombs and stuff. Go figure.

  52. I just flew from SLC to LAX two weeks ago and was told the same thing. And to be extra safe they put my knitting bag into the overhead compartment so that the needles didn’t go everywhere. Never mind they were stored neatly in a zipped container. I was allowed to get them once we took off. Did I mention I was on the inside seat and asked not to get up once in air since I had a lap rider? Grumble grumble. πŸ™‚

  53. Well damn, I had no idea you were coming to Pittsburgh. Phil and myself will see you tomorrow. I’ll actually be normal and say hello and speak to you rather than running away nervous….hehe…can’t wait! We’re going to dinner on the Southside after seeing you…maybe FatHead’s. They have awesome beer, you should come along πŸ˜€ I’ll buy you a pint.

  54. Is it strange that I await my vacation so I can knit on the plane? Pencils for knitting needles would so work. Having never harmed anyone with my knitting needles, I did once stab my friend with a pencil in an incident involving fits of pre-teen laughter and a waterbed.
    I have already finished one Thelonious sock and am taking a bit to knit some baby booties. They are commissioned (less exciting than socks) but fit into the Feb/March Project Spectrum triad. Gotta squeeze them in there. πŸ™‚

  55. I once got through airport security with 4.5mm bamboo circs by comparing them to the very nice (and expensive-looking!) pen the passenger behind me was collecting from the little tray. Not that I think it’s ever a good idea to freak out on the security people, but I was already having a really cruddy day, and that was the last straw. Guess who knit quite happily for the entire plane ride?

  56. Before security got so tight, I once boarded a plane with size 13 metal straight needles and a full size pair of scissors. The scissors, ironically, were some cause for concern, but they let me fly with them any way as long as I promised (PROMISED) not to do it again. Oh well . . . it still irks me that I can’t take my Chinese fighting stars on planes, but thems the rules.

  57. i’m so excited – i’m headed to pittsburgh to see the yarn harlot for the first time! i’m a new knitter so i’ll probably be the only one in the crowd not knitting. i have yet to learn to read a pattern – but have been inspired by the harlot’s books to knit many wonderful things!

  58. I’m really beginning to think that cargo gets treated with more respect and common sense than passengers on planes.

  59. I had the same thing happen on a recent Swiss Air flight, for the first time. I was told I had to put them away during takeoff and landing, because “you could poke someone’s eye out with those things” (Knitpicks Options). I did not protest, as it was a 10 hour flight and I didn’t want to take my chances. I did comment, as well, that it was the first time I was told to put them away. Fortunately, I’ve never had a problem at security either – my trips tend to be over 30 hours each way (between 4 flights and airport time in between) – if they took away my knitting I think I would have to change careers!

  60. Lemme guess: it was an Air Canada flight. That’s the only airline on which that’s ever happened to me, and I got the exact same response from the flight attendant.

  61. They should learn how to phrase those requests properly… If they want you to put away the needles during take-off and landing and any turbulence, they should say not “Things could be bumpy and [you] could let go of a needle and it could go flying through the air and hurt someone”, but “Things could be bumpy and you could let go of a needle and drop a stitch”.
    Have a nice trip!

  62. MacGyver and knitting might not be such distant cousins after all – two mechanical pencils and some earphone wires, presto! Circular needles. Of course I’m thinking foam knitting needles, hmm. Or, knitting needles? Oh no, these are just bread sticks. Remember – infinite resourcefulness.

  63. That’s awful! I always get worried on planes, but nobody has ever said anything to me. One time, a flight attendant actually came over to ask for knitting advice πŸ™‚

  64. HAH. Common sense and consistency? GOOD LUCK.
    (I don’t sound bitter, do I? They have never, ever, even once, outlawed fountain pens on flights. Hmmm, I wonder why.)

  65. People are sure dopey about knitting needles. They seem to think they’re dangerous. I’ve never heard of anyone ever causing mayhem with one. Although I admit one time I scolded a mom in my yarn group because she’d given her 2 year old a sharp, pointy one to play with and he was holding it while standing up on a chair. A lot of us just had a bad feeling about that squirmy little toddler, and we convinced her to take it from him (and boy, did he wail!).

  66. Oh, oh! (waves hand frantically). I was just in Pittsburgh, well like a month..or two ago, and that is one cool town. My son was interviewing at a college and we were there three days exploring the neighborhoods. I thought it had a LOT of character – that town. And lots of cool little places to shop and eat. i see you’re doing a book signing in South Side Works shopping area and that’s where we discovered this brand new restaurant called “Tusca” that is very chic but yummy too with “small plates” tapas, if you prefer and wine. A little pricey but a nice atmosphere and very enjoyable. While I was sitting there with my 18-year old I was thinking that it would have been fun to knit in there…but I couldn’t risk embarrassing him with that..so I kept the wool and needles tucked in my purse. I like Pittsburgh – check out the little Shadyside neighborhood near CMU. AND I wonder if you’re staying at the Omni William Penn Hotel downtown?? We did, and that is one very nicely restored historic hotel. Beautiful!

  67. Hey, I’m new here, but I really enjoy your blog. Regarding the needles on the aircraft, I wonder if circular needles would be okay, since technically they can’t fly off without dragging the knitting with them?

  68. Hard-back books are more dangerous than knitting needles — a friend was in an aisle seat, and a hard-back book fell out of the computer bag that some guy was trying to hoist into the bin. The bok hit her, corner first, right on the top of her head!

  69. OK, that has got to be about the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a good long while. Obviously Missy Stewardess has not been watching MythBusters! In one episode they tried to prove the myth that more fatalities were caused by flying splinters than by bullets in the days of wooden sailing ships. Even with large explosions, and their “human analog” (a pig who’d died of natural causes)situated right next to the wall of the mock-up ship, they couldn’t get a splinter to penetrate more than a fraction of an inch! So I’m having trouble believing that a “flying” knitting needle could do much damage unless under the force of such an explosion that, um…Well, let’s just say that I don’t think anyone would care much! Keep on purlin’.

  70. The stupidest thing I was ever told was that I couldn’t bring a crochet hook on an airplane.
    A crochet hook?! I’m trying to think of exactly what damage a crochet hook could do to anybody, even if it became airborne. Idiotic. I had brought it precisely because knitting needles were not allowed (Ireland-U.S. – knitting needles haven’t been allowed for years – they’ve been security-conscious for a LONG time in Ireland).

  71. You’re on to something – knitting needles that look like pens! Knitting with pencils! Knitting with chopsticks?! It’s been said before – good luck with the common sense and the consistency…..

  72. I feel your pain Stephanie. I once had a flight attendant yell at me to “put those dangerous objects away” when we hit a small bit of turbulance flying from Boston to Halifax. My needles were 5″ resin dpn’s – not even metal!

  73. Before I went into teaching, I spent 25 years in insurance…and traveled 20 of those years. I was never without knitting and a book. Once I was the only person stuck at SFO who had a blanket. So what if it was on needles at the time?…
    After 9/11, I bought the Denise interchangables and never had a problem taking them on board and using them in flight. I usually use them as circulars, but they have stoppers to make them a flacid sort of straight. The main benefit of those needles was I don’t have to worry about breaking a needle if I sit on it.
    My most recent trip was to Dublin via Warsaw (long story)…it was fun watching the flight attendants look at my knitting and nodding approval, but not understanding a word I said (my Polish is horrid). If they told me to put it away, I didn’t understand, either! πŸ™‚ But I also taught one attendant how to knit; knitting transcends the language barrier (another benefit of the interchangables…always have the right size and extras for teachable moments/muggle conversion).

  74. That happened to me once! About 10 years ago, pre 9/11 even. I told the flight attendant that if she didn’t want me to puke all over the seat during take off that I would rather just keep knitting to calm my nerves. Heh.

  75. I have had the pen argument with people (off of planes — don’t argue on the plane) many times. An engineering knitter I talked to the other day seemed to think I was nuts, and that knitting needles are far more dangerous. But I only think in little size dpns, and I think he was thinking bigger knitting needles.
    Also, I know many flight attendants who knit, so that makes the whole thing even more strange.
    P.S. If anyone needs an instantaneous Cookie sock fix, you can buy pdfs at cookiea.com as well.

  76. Did you notice that Monday David Sedaris is reading at that same book shop in Pittsburgh? You are in good company. I wonder who will draw the bigger crowd?

  77. A while back someone on a sock list complained about a taxi driver who threatened to toss her out the car if she didn’t put away her knitting…the worst sort of Muggles imaginable.
    Perhaps next flight some Valium? No, not for you, for the attendant…

  78. Huh? The needle might fly out of your hand during turbulance? Okay, my apologies to all flight attendants with common sense – this had to be THE dumbest airline employee! Either that or she was wildly jealous of your amazing knitting skills, hers being so lacking she was filled with a jealous rage – it overcame her and the only way for her to deal with it was to have your knitting out of sight! Personally, I’d have pulled my knitting back out and knit on. I like to buck the system sometimes!! πŸ™‚

  79. Knitting with pens…..I almost fell off my chair laughing
    When needles weren’t allowed through Security, the lady who owns my LYS told us to take our Denise needles off the cord and put them in our pockets. It would look like we were carrying pencils. Of ocurse you weren’t able to knit in flight at that time but would have your needles when you reached your destination.

  80. You know, it astounds me that in your part of the world, you can take knitting on a plane, but all the way down here in Australia, we can’t. Who suffered the terrorist attacks? Us? No. America. And we’re the ones who are paranoid. Sheesh.

  81. I used to fly between St. Louis and Chicago a lot. I enjoyed knitting on the flight. It was the most productive thing that I accomplished on those trips. Then 9/11. And it took less time to drive to St. Louis than to try to fly. I still got to knit, as I could go with a friend and he liked to drive.
    Has anyone had this experience with wooden needles?

  82. Heh. I pointed that out once to a man sitting next to me. He was clearly nervous about my DPN sock needles and watched me warily. He finally piped up and said that he was surprised I was allowed to use them, that surely they could be viewed as dangerous and maybe even as weapons. He wasn’t any less skeptical when I told him that they weren’t any more or less dangerous than the pen he was using to write in his journal.
    We definitely each had an eye on the other during that trip — I was as fascinated by his journaling in his native German as he was by me and my knitting. ; )
    I’ve never had an attendant say anything about my knitting — except to ask WHAT I’m knitting.

  83. Oh noooooo! It’s tomorrow in Pittsburgh! I knew you were coming here early on and I was so excited. However, I also convinced myself that it was in April and well, since I haven’t turned the calendar over I didn’t write it down. You’d know it’s the first Friday night planned in advance thing I’ve had in weeks.
    Maybe you should make it like NYC and announce how you’ll be amusing yourself tomorrow, I’d be happy to stalk you from a far, unstalkerlike, shy person distance during the day tomorrow. I’ll be the person with the aggressively shy 4 yo, scowling from behind my legs. I don’t even have a book for you to sign yet…amazon is taking its time.

  84. I wish you’d gotten that flight attendant’s name, I seriously do; I am a flight attendant and I’ve never heard of such a rule on our airline or any other. In my opinon it was totally her own personal rule, and if it happens again you should get the FA’s name and write a polite letter of complaint directly to the airline. Won’t help you on that flight, but it might help someone else down the road.

  85. It really is amazing that people are so frightened of knitting needles. Didn’t any of them see the movie Grosse Point Blank?
    I’ve never had trouble getting needles onto planes (knitting or cross stitch), and I can guarantee that if a flight attendant asked me to put them away I would tell her that I’d be happy to after all the pens and pencils on board had been safely stashed. I’ve never heard of this crazy idea, though, and it is a good thing I’ve never been told to put my needles away. I’m not generally argumentative, but don’t mess with my plane knitting time.
    Honestly, if someone really wants to kill you, they can kill you. Especially if they are a trained killer. They certainly don’t need a knitting needle or even a utility knife to do it.

  86. Heh. Next time you must tell the flight attendant that you will happily put away your needles, but that you have a strange anxiety disorder that causes you to rock back and forth and groan while on a plane and the only thing that tames the beast within is to knit. You could probably get a dr. friend to write a note. Then, for the sake of knitters everywhere, follow through if she still makes you put them away. My guess? She’ll let you knit all you want.

  87. Holy crap, I’ve been Harlotted! FYI, depending on which version of Thelonious you have, ignore Round 1 instructions on the leg if there is one, and go straight to the chart.
    I had a crazy flight attendant do the same thing to me. It sucked, but I tried not to make a fuss. I was afraid that if I put up a fight, she’d start talking to the other flight attendants later and say “Do you know what some weird knitter had the nerve to say to me today?!” And then more muggle flight attendants would be on the lookout for us. Now I try to bring a sharp pen and sudoku as a backup.
    See ya at Sock Camp!

  88. Common sense? I’m flying to Amsterdam in a few weeks and have been told that I won’t even be able to use circulars on the flight. I’m going to write to the airline and try to get *written* permission to knit. What about the sidepieces of one’s glasses — they could do some real damage if one so wanted. Insanity, pure and simple.

  89. I’ve long had a fantasy about hail being (rather than the size of a softball) the size of a full ball of Filatura di Crosa Zara. I now have a fantasy about pens labeled by knitting needle size for our convenience.
    Imagine all the knitters…

  90. I usually print out the latest page of TSA requirements before each flight. I haven’t had a problem yet. I usually use 40″ circ. needles for my socks, so the 4″ sections of metal with only one point each don’t look too threatening. I know you are a double point gal, but it may be something to consider as you travel promoting your book! See you in Denver! Liz

  91. I can see a business opportunity for an enterprising knitter – pencils with calibrated diameters! Available in sizes US 0-10, and if you need DPNs you just put the other end through a pencil sharpener πŸ˜‰

  92. that same thing happened to me. but it was on Air France and I almost laughed in her face. but I didn’t. I figured she wasn’t a knitter and felt terribly sad for her.

  93. Now, I don’t know about y’all but the only time a needle flies out of my knitting is because I’ve yanked it out and thrown it. That’s when the flight attendant should really worry about “turbulence.”

  94. I had the same experience last year coming home from Maryland on AirTran. I thought that starting to keen and rock when the plane took off might get her to soften her stance. But pride took over. Claudia and Sil were on the flight, and I was afraid I would be giving them blogfodder.

  95. Have I got a knitting needle/pen story for you! I had to go to a conference overseas last fall, and flew in and out through London Heathrow. I got my knitting onto the Virgin flight in LAX just fine (and thank goodness, because talk about nine hours wasted without knitting!), and figured that I’d be able to do the same coming home. Just to be safe, though, I checked with a security guard at Heathrow before checking my luggage (figuring that way, if worse came to worst, I could put them in my checked baggage instead of having everything confiscated). I showed the guard my needles and said, “I can take these on, right?” (figuring the phrasing might give him a clue as to what the answer is supposed to be). And he said absolutely not. When I looked surprised, he brandished (I kid you not, brandished) a ball point pen at me and said, “Have you ever heard of 9-11?” I said that indeed I had. He looked at me sternly and said, “They used…one of THESE!!” (still brandishing the ball point pen; it was starting to feel like a bad Monty Python sketch — I kept waiting for the Spanish Inquisition) I said, “So do you want all my ball point pens?” A moment of silence, then, “No.” He still made me pack my knitting needles, though. Can you believe? It’s clear we need to represent in Heathrow.

  96. Props on the math, Steph … but actually, the impact (mass times velocity) of airborne needles on a bumpy flight would probably only be terminal velocity, i.e. they would just fall on the floor. IF, however, you clung tightly to the needles while your arms and hands were flung violently about during a very bumpy flight, you actually MIGHT put someone’s eye out.
    Anything more serious than a bumpy flight? Knitting needles would be the least of your worries.
    You know what? You can knit pretty good with those little orangewood sticks for fingernail care. A dollar for a set of four, they work out to US size 6 sock needles.
    I hate it when I have three security people conferencing over my size 2 bamboo dpn’s or size 4 nylon circulars, while the man in the suit behind me is unquestioningly allowed his gold-tone matching pen and pencil, tie clip, Lee Iacocca eyeglasses, etc. etc. Security folks must find it much less threatening to harrass women for their knitting needles.
    Steph, I hope you don’t have to go through the Phoenix airport. They are THE WORST. I have been hassled every time I have boarded in Phoenix. Last time, they demanded that my husband remove his support boots by himself (Dave has had TWO strokes) while offering NO assistance whatsoever. I shoved past the security dudes to assist Dave, and was challenged, so I said, “I am going to help my husband. If you call Homeland Security, I will call Anderson Cooper.”
    And folks, I really do hate to be the class weenie, but pencils do NOT have lead in them. They have graphite. It’s been many, many decades since pencils contained lead.

  97. Dear hubby looked at your post, looked at me, and exploded “how the heck would a knitting needle go flying?? You have a dozen loops of yarn on those things!” LOL, he’s been brainwashed by a knitter!

  98. I HAVE FLOWN WITH THAT VERY FLIGHT ATTENDANT!! And, I had the very same reaction except that I actually asked her if all the dangerous pens would also be put away. She said pens were not dangerous. If I had had a lifeline I would have started knitting the lace I was working on with 2 pens. I just could not bring myself to mess up my lace even to make a point.
    Sherry

  99. Knitting needles were banned for a week or two after 9/11, then someone realized a BIC really was more dangerous, not to mention the heavy pen you spoke of. Cudos for obeying and for keeping your seat. However, this flight attendant was way out of line to ask. Especially since knitting is a hobby many flight attendants practice, especially during red eye flights.

  100. What I wanna know is – did you ever finish your original Cookie A socks? The Poma-whatevers? I believe I was at least partly responsible for you wanting to make those in the first place (and for the record….I’ve still only got one).

  101. Once when going through security, the guy told me I was allowed to take my needles, but in his opinion, I shouldn’t be allowed. I said “why not?” and he answered “you could stab me with them” and I answered, “I could stab you with a pen, too.” Then I shut up because I didn’t want him to take away both my needles and my pens, or maybe arrest me. People are stupid sometimes, especially when they get a little power.

  102. Almost forgot to mention:
    My flight attendant stepmother uses her aluminum circular needles on red eye flights to knit scarves. Let’s see the junior attendants try to stop HER.

  103. My book arrived. Sigh. I’m, not good enough to read and knit at the same time. What I’ve read I’ve loved. Thanks!

  104. I copied this from the TSA website…Why were they picking on your socks??
    Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage. However, there is a possibility that the needles can be perceived as a possible weapon by one of our Security Officers. Our Security Officers have the authority to determine if an item could be used as a weapon and may not allow said item to pass through security. We recommend the following when bring knitting needles on an airplane:
    Circular knitting needles are recommended to be less than 31 inches in total length
    We recommend that the needles be made of bamboo or plastic (Not Metal)
    Scissors must have blunt points
    In case a Security Officer does not allow your knitting tools through security it is recommended that you carry a self addressed envelope so that you can mail your tools back to yourself as opposed to surrendering them at the security check point.
    As a precautionary measure we recommend that you carry a crochet hook with yarn to save the work you have already done in case your knitting tools are surrendered at the checkpoint

  105. Try flying with a violin. There are no circumstances under which a full-sized violin can fit into the carry-on size restrictions. There are also no circumstances under which a violin should ride “checked”. I usually don’t even try to get the knitting on the plane because it’s enough to be the cause of ONE *major* problem. (I love how they make an enormous deal out of it). Next time I’m takin’ pens.
    And I love those German Stockings. The fact that you forgot about your purchases means you get to enjoy them twice for the first time. Read nothing further into it.

  106. Oh good lord, I had THAT EXACT FLIGHT ATTENDANT on a trip to Las Vegas last year. I was incensed but calmed down when I realized that getting thrown off a flight full of rowdy, drunken fratholes would be humiliating. I would never live it down.

  107. You know, once I was on the Green Line here in Boston, right? And I was knitting, and some woman with some serious crazy in her eye asked me if I ever accidentally stabbed myself when they took the corners too fast. I looked at her incredulously for a moment and then said “No, why, do you punch yourself in the face a lot when that happens?” I mean, the physics are just way off!

  108. I have jury duty in August. I had already been envisioning the philosophical discussion I could have with some security guard over why bamboo knitting needles are sharp instruments, but pencils are not.
    Note to self: some people are just not that into philosophy.

  109. I’m a little confused about the idea that poking a hole in the fuselage skin would (or is it wouldn’t?) make the pressure vessel explode. Airliners are designed to take the loss of two adjacent windows and the chunk of fuselage between them and maintain a constant pressure altitude. That is to say, they have enough excess capability to pressurize the hull even with a fairly good-sized hole in it. You could shoot holes in the fuselage with handguns and not affect the pressure, let along the structural integrity.
    On a more imaginative use of knitting needles to inflict harm, I once read a short mystery in which a really awful woman mystery writer was stabbed in the heart by her knitting needles, which had been sitting on the dash and were propelled by the expanding airbag. The observer from whose point of view the story was told wasn’t sure if the little collision that set off the airbag had been accidental or not.
    Incidentally, you’re supposed to put pencils and pens into a zippered or Velcro-flapped pocket if you’re going to eject from an airplane, if you have time (which you sometimes do). They also ask airliner passengers to remove pens and pencils from shirt pockets when assuming the crash position. Obviously, neither situation is anything like normal flight.

  110. I’ve been wondering about air travel, as I will be traveling in May for the first time since becoming a knitter. I recently had jury duty and was not allowed to bring knitting needles – even though I pointed out that pens & pencils and even heavy books could be just as deadly (they were not amused.) So, I knitted with pencils. I showed the bailiff and the attorneys afterward, didn’t have a chance to show the judge, hoping they might take it to heart and see about getting that weird rule changed. One of the attorneys just said she would tell her mother, who was about to travel by air.
    Maybe some day. In the meantime, I got a pretty good start on my Jury Scarf!

  111. Good grief, that’s ridiculous. I mean, when I get too excited about my sock sometimes I’ll drop a needle. Guess where it goes? Straight on the floor, no one’s ever lost a vital body part. I hope you have better luck on your next flight. Can’t wait to see how the Cookie socks turn out-I have a few of those patterns waiting to be knit up! Oh, and if you have time would you mind writing a bit of a review on the gems yarn? Will it hold up? (I’m scared of knitting one of those really complex patterns from yarn that will disintegrate after the second wash…)

  112. I’ve been wondering about air travel, as I will be traveling in May for the first time since becoming a knitter. I recently had jury duty and was not allowed to bring knitting needles – even though I pointed out that pens & pencils and even heavy books could be just as deadly (they were not amused.) So, I knitted with pencils. I showed the bailiff and the attorneys afterward, didn’t have a chance to show the judge, hoping they might take it to heart and see about getting that weird rule changed. One of the attorneys just said she would tell her mother, who was about to travel by air.
    Maybe some day. In the meantime, I got a pretty good start on my Jury Scarf!

  113. Good grief, that’s ridiculous. I mean, when I get too excited about my sock sometimes I’ll drop a needle. Guess where it goes? Straight on the floor, no one’s ever lost a vital body part. I hope you have better luck on your next flight. Can’t wait to see how the Cookie socks turn out-I have a few of those patterns waiting to be knit up! Oh, and if you have time would you mind writing a bit of a review on the gems yarn? Will it hold up? (I’m scared of knitting one of those really complex patterns from yarn that will disintegrate after the second wash…)

  114. I flew from Chicago to Little Rock recently and when I landed, realized that my pepper spray was still hanging from the outside of my bag! They let me through security carrying pepper spray in plain view, but a flight attendant asked you to put away your needles! Unbelievable!

  115. Maybe you should have a Representing Tour on a flight. Would be interesting to see how the flight attendants handle a plane full of knitters with pointy sticks πŸ™‚

  116. I had the Exact. Same. Experience. A year ago on a flight from Boston to Indy. That stewardess must have changed routes!

  117. Logic and reason aren’t qualities they specify in the airline attendant job requirements.
    I want to see pictures of socks knit on pens.

  118. I’m very impressed with how quickly and easily you whipped out the physics in the name of fairness and getting to have your knitting. πŸ˜‰

  119. Clearly, she’s been influenced by the weenie from last year’s flight. Perhaps the man with the “air rage” that was fined $12k recently was told the same thing about his sharp, pointy pen?

  120. It looks as if DD and I cannot make it to Petaluma to see you — it’s a little too far, a little too late in the day, and a school night. So, I went to a local bookstore today and asked for your latest book, “Do you have the latest in knitting humor by Pearl-McPhee?” They had Knitting Rules, but not Cast Off. The man was delighted to have it sent over from another branch for me to buy tomorrow. I told him a little about you and he was intrigued; I’m certain he’ll have read the book before I get to touch it.
    Bethly says your books are dangerous because she wants to read and knit, not go to work. She calls and is upset with me for giving her the set, then in the next sentence tells me yet another part she enjoyed and how much she wants to meet you.
    I know it’s not the same, but you could do what DD does on flights: pre-draft silk caps.

  121. “Impact force” is sort of an ambiguous term.
    “Force” is one thing. Mass times acceleration; units of kilogram-meters-per-second-squared (kg-m/s^2). A weight is a force—a mass acted on by the acceleration due to gravity.
    “Impact” typically involves one of these four quantities:
    Impulse or Momentum; or; Work or Energy.
    Momentum is Mass times Velocity; units are kilogram-meters-per-second (kg-m/s). People with big handguns, like 44Magnums, like to think Momentum is the big deal.
    Impulse is Force integrated over time; units are the same as momentum (kg-m/s^2 times s, and the s’s cancel, which works out to kg-m/s). Impulse is for typically short duration events like a hammer hitting something, but it’s also used with rocket motors pushing rockets. (Yeah, it’s rocket science.)
    Impulse and Momentum have the same units, and can be used in the same equation: Impulse = Momentum.
    Work is a force exerted over a distance: Force times distance, so the units are kilogram-meters-squared-per-second-squared (kg-m^2/s^2). If the force is due to gravity, the work is mass times the acceleration due to gravity times the vertical distance—mass*g*height, where g is about 10m/s^2.
    Energy is one-half times mass times velocity-squared, or 1/2 mv^2; units are kilogram-meters-squared-per-second-squared (kg-m^2/s^2).
    Work and Energy have the same units, and can be used in an equation together: Work = Energy.
    People with big handguns, like 44Magnums, like to think Momentum is the big deal.
    People with smaller handguns, like 9mm Berettas, like to think energy is the way to assess their guns, since the velocity is a lot higher than the big handguns, and in this equation, velocity is squared, so it makes their gun look really good. They’re probably wrong.
    Momentum is probably the best indicator for stopping power physics, be it for handguns or, horror of horrors, for knitting needles.
    So—The Harlot called it “impact force”, but she used the right formula (i.e., the formula for Momentum). The Harlot is fiendishly clever, you know. I suspect sandbagging; so the geeky, male engineers have something about which to talk.
    The flight attendent, on the other hand, is simply ignorant. It’s really hard to think of a way that a needle would come loose from the knitting, which is acting somewhat as a tether, and go flying across the room (even under a worst case maybe 4g gust maneuver) and cause harm. “Oh—You’ll put someone’s eye out”. Right.
    Next time, try to get the traditional photo of the perp’s feet, so we can call that person a “boobie”.

  122. how does a city get lucky enough to be harlot-ized? does one get in touch with jamey the wonder publicist somehow? or besiege one’s local bookstore? there are plenty of knitters in indianapolis who’d love to meet you!

  123. Oh lawdy Miss Claudy,
    This is just about one of the funniest/silly things I have read. Knitting needles flying through the plane indeed. Frankly I’d be a bit more nervous with something more heavy like a baby flying through the air. Still don’t understand why it is perfectly okay for babies to be held in a parent’s arms– as if that is really going to protect her in turbulence or a crash.
    Silly people ask you to do stupid stuff because they can. These days any little thing can set off Airplane attendants- like my 79 year mother and young son(who is very pigmented) being searched extra everytime either flies.
    Although I guess if someone is very motivated knitting needles could be a dangerous weapon. But so can stilleto heels, large pens/pencils, even a cell phone if you lob it correctly. Frankly friends have told me my tote bags are a dangerous weapon (always filled to the brim with all sorts of stuff)
    On to a more serious note. I too have ordered/purchased yarn in a “yarn haze black out”
    I feel like I have arrived. Definitely back in the fiber zone.

  124. first: GREAT sock patterns! I checked out the site and they are really cool. very beautiful and creative! we just flew overseas and i didn’t bother bringing knitting because i was afraid they would make me leave it behind or something and I couldn’t part with it! you know, i did not see one single skien of yarn in paris. don’t they knit over there?? i also have another comment. every so often i refresh your page to see if you have added an update. when you do, i read it and see that there are already over 100 comments! either people are REALLY fast or my computer is REALLY slow. hope you have a wonderful safe trip!

  125. Sadness envelops me πŸ™ I have been pouting all week…you are coming to Cleveland Saturday, will be just miles from me, and I. CAN’T. GO. Wahhhh. And I was one of the fans who suggested you fit it into your tour 😐 I was so hoping your visit would be in the evening! I have to work…wahhhh. Enjoy your visit, I can’t wait to read about it and see lots of pics, and I hope all the other Cleveland knitters do our city proud in welcoming you πŸ™‚

  126. I have more than once had the attendant ask what I was knitting, but they have never told me to put away the knitting. I did however have the passenger next to me ask if I was going to “put those away” as we landed, because they could be dangerous, they could become a projectile. You know, if we are landing so hard that my 3 oz. of sock yarn and dull size one dpns go flying out of my hands, we have WAY bigger problems than my needles. I told him that no, I wouldn’t. He got huffy, but I explained that it was how I stayed calm. I have been flying for all 26 years of my life, and the more I fly, the less I like landing, so whatever it takes to stay calm. I have to say that on that flight, I got a little tired, and would have put away the sock if it hadn’t been for the stubbornness that I refused to put the sock away until after I had shown that we could land safely with my knitting in hand. I did pause in my knitting, though, as we touched down, becaue it was a lace sock and I didn’t want to risk dropping a stitch. πŸ˜‰

  127. I have always used ‘the rule of pen’ when selecting needles for flights. If the needle is smaller in girth than a standard pen I feel I can argue my way through any attempts at taking away my needles.

  128. A story from when I was in New York last week – I went from the Launch to the Empire State Building, with my knitting in my bag. It went through the security scan, and the guard asked me to open my bag, looked at the knitting needles and said “You can’t bring those in.” I had to check my knitting at the door.
    Apparently, you can bring knitting needles on a plane, but not up the Empire State Building.
    At least my friend and I had a good laugh about someone trying to hijack the building and fly to Cuba…

  129. OKay… once, during an ugly ticket-while-gestating episode that I don’t want to repeat, I tried to take my knitting needles into the city courthouse…”You can’t do that.” Said the security guard indignantly, “Look at those blades!” Blades? They were size 3 6″ dpns–seriously–you couldn’t even check a cake with those…so the next time I went (to argue that 3 days after delivery was really too early for me to appear in court–“Were there any other complications?” asked the judge. “Besides the 4 days in labor?” I asked him. I got $200 off the failure to appear–seemed fair) I took 4 1/2 inch wooden dpns–they didn’t even bat an eyelash. Honestly, the wooden ones can splinter, and that scares me. Muggles are just plain weird.

  130. Sounds to me like a case of someone who doesn’t get paid very much compensating by exerting her power to control others. (I suspect that your small size may have made her feel like it was pretty safe for her to do so – bet she wouldn’t make Rosy Grier put his needlework away [for those who may not know him – he is a former professional football player – a massive man – who for many years has unashamedly spent his time on flights doing needlepoint – not a knitter but still a needleworker]).

  131. Y’know, I don’t know whether it was in comments way back here, or on the old Ample Knitter’s list, but one woman came up with a great knitting needle solution to demented security. She rolled up some sheets of paper into really tight rolls, then pulled out the ends so they formed spiralled tubes. Covered them with a couple layers of white glue to hold the paper together and stiffen them. Let dry between coats. Voila; paper knitting needles.
    Made it on the plane with no problem, too. πŸ˜‰ Think you could make sock-sized needles if you rolled the paper tight/the sheets were thin enough?
    Have a good trip, Stephanie, and better luck with your flight attendants and airlines!

  132. I was asked once to put away the needles during take off, and they were even circulars (perhaps if the flight were bumpy, they could accidently fly around someone’s neck, strangling them).
    I totally agree that the “lack of consistency” theme is one of the most annoying ones in the world of official encounters. I’m in Russia (for now), where lack of consistency has been elevated to a new form of consistency: On Represent Day (NY), I was doing my best to represent on a Kaliningrad city bus, when a woman came up to me to ask me to put away my knitting because “public transportation is dirty, and it endangers your health to be touching your knitting on the bus and then take it back into your home.” I just pretended not to understand. You could maybe try that option, although claiming not to speak English on an international flight from Canada to the US probably won’t work, sadly.
    Have a good trip!

  133. Heh, I just knitted my first pair of socks and they joined the mile high club! πŸ˜‰ That is I managed to the get almost the whole second sock done on an interstate plane trip.
    I actually found trying to knit during takeoff quite challenging!
    Cant wait to see how those stockings turn out.

  134. I’ve never had any trouble bringing my needles on flights,or had anybody commenting them. But I always put them down on bumpy flights cause I’m afraid to poke my own eyes out. Have never thought of them as a risk to other passengers though. You would think that someone able to knit lace has enough body control not to let go of the needles in case of an emergency!

  135. I had the same thing happen to me on a Horizon flight form Seattle to Bozeman, MT. The flight attendant was real snotty about it. I rolled my eyes and almost said “yeah I don’t want the turbulence to ruin my knitting”. Horrible turbulence the whole way there. But that was the ONLY time.

  136. My size 0 circs with a sock in progress did not clear security as I reported for jury duty at our county courthouse earlier this month! No knitting during jury duty = complete panic. Fortunately, I was excused.

  137. I had a similar problem on a plane from Phoenix to San Francisco – the guy next to me was pitching fit about my “dangerous” knitting needles.
    I told them they were to be used in case zombies took over the plane. He couldn’t seem to think of a comeback to that.

  138. LOL! Dude I don’t think I could manage a take off without knitting through it, let alone a whole flight.

  139. In England we are not allowed such luxuries – I had to finger knit last time I flew and it wasn’t much fun. It’s those muggles again …

  140. I just got back from India where I flew a domestic airline. In the security line the woman inspector pulled out my knitting and then called over another inspector to look. They poked at the tips, had a conversation and then I see the woman imitating knitting to explain what they were for (never mind the 12″ of sleeve hanging off my circulars). They let me keep them. And knit during takeoff/landing!

  141. All knitters should unite and protest that the airline allow knitting without asking.
    When I was leaving for to visit home (Thailand) last year, I had just started knitting. I couldn’t find any rules about knitting needles being allowed or not allowed on the planes…so just to make sure, I emailed the airport and ask them whether they knew any regulations (I live in Munich, Germany). The email came promptly to tell me that no knitting needles are allowed…not even if they were puny tiny dpns in bamboos. I complied, of course, but it was one of the most boring flight I’ve ever taken (13 hours straight with out knitting!).
    Now…I wonder how they feel about crochet hooks.

  142. I asked the Charles de Gaulle airport security in Paris if they wanted to put my pens in the “Dangerous Objects that We Took From People” see-through box, but they refused.
    We’d all be better off if we stopped calling them needles, and started calling them something like “Harmless Blunt Sticks.” I know, not much of a ring to it. I’ll work on that.

  143. I always laugh when one of my fellow commuters (usually a guy) on the NYC subway remarks how dangerous my size one bamboo dpns look. “You could stab someone with those!” When I point out that I also could beat someone to death with my wooden cane if were so inclined, they usually just smile weakly and tell me to have a nice day.

  144. This nonsense was happening pre-911 as well. I was asked to put away my knitting because of the ‘flying needle’ issue – and I was knitting a hat on a circular needle… Even sillier, the woman sitting next to me doing cross-stitch was told the same thing – her tiny little one-inch needle (tethered by the embroidery floss, mind you) might go flying off & hurt someone.
    The few times I’ve flown since 911, I haven’t even tried to take knitting – just sat quietly twitching…

  145. Last time I was on a plane, they confiscated my knitting. Denise circulars, for pity’s sake. It spent the journey in the cockpit with the pilot….so had a much better view than I did. ~x~

  146. Yeesh, my three year old can bend the tips of my size 6 metal needles into pretzels (I don’t know how she does it), so how dangerous can they be?
    Last month in LAX I had a young female security agent root through my bag and pull out my metal needles. Without waiting for her to say anything, I said, “You know, by TSA rules, I AM allowed to carry those on the flight. If you want to take them away, I will understand, BUT they are considered to be OK as carry-on.” She put them back. I don’t know if she was going to take them, but I thought a pre-emptive strike was called for.
    And for the comments: pencils haven’t had actual lead in them for decades, they have graphite, which is totally non-toxic, but will cause tattoos if the “lead” breaks off under the skin…

  147. Have fun in Pittsburgh! The PPG Building is really COOL! Looks like a glass castle.
    Road Trip! See YOU in Ann Arbor! :::::very, very, very excited:::::

  148. Stephanie: Who do I have to sleep with to get a copy of your book? I went to 3 bookstores yesterday in Atlanta – the muggles don’t have it. The nerve. Humph.

  149. Shortly after 9/11/01, I was on a plane from Boston to Portland ME, and one of my fellow passengers was relieved of his nail clippers, but was allowed to keep a rather nice fountain pen. Have you ever seen the nib on a Mont Blanc? That sucker could do more damage than a nail clipper any day.
    Makes you wonder, eh?

  150. What a load of crap.
    I was on a plane once where a woman pulled out a bag of accupunture needles and proceeded do practice on her arm and hand during the flight.
    The flight attendants looked at her strangely, but never said a word to her about the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of performing accupunture on an in-flight airplane.

  151. I’ve been told that I need to put my knitting away during take off and landing once before as well. It was a smaller, commuter hop and I assumed it was just the flight attendant being over-cautious as I’ve never been asked again (not that I fly anywhere near as regularly as you!); guess now I know better, but I’ll still hope that most flight attendants will be lax about enforcing that particular rule. I mean, there’s not a single other activity that involves a non-electronic device that any other passenger is asked to stop doing during take off, landing or during turbulence so I don’t see why they should single out knitting!

  152. I’ve been told that I need to put my knitting away during take off and landing once before as well. It was a smaller, commuter hop and I assumed it was just the flight attendant being over-cautious as I’ve never been asked again (not that I fly anywhere near as regularly as you!); guess now I know better, but I’ll still hope that most flight attendants will be lax about enforcing that particular rule. I mean, there’s not a single other activity that involves a non-electronic device that any other passenger is asked to stop doing during take off, landing or during turbulence so I don’t see why they should single out knitting!

  153. The entire security thing is a hoax, just something that the Bushites put in place to keep us all fearful and controlled. I would have put the needles away, told the flight attendant her reasoning was faulty and I sincerely hoped that she had a perfectly lovely day. You can’t argue with the idiots never mind the muggles. Of course when her back was turned I would have flipped her off and mouthed Bit&h.

  154. Knitting pens….. I smell a new invention in the air! How often do you need a pen to mark your row on a piece of paper, or write down funky patterns and such. That sounds like a kick ass idea. Kind of like the stylus/pen but a knitting needle/pen

  155. Usually use wood needles when I fly- loving the tiny Lantern Moon sox stix- not scary at all…
    Literally cried (i was hormonal- )in the Dallas airport when they took my 3″ tiny Sterling handled scissors, from my knit bag. Obviously a dangerous weapon in the hands of the wrong people. Probably used for ritualistic snip killings- due to the sterling…
    I was able to remove the handle grips but haven’t found another pair of scissors they fit on- that sucked.
    whatever- as long as they get you where you gotta go- the airlines are the boss.

  156. I just checked: standard #2 wooden pencils and Cross pens both come out as size 11 US (8mm) on my needle sizer. Not much good for socks but you could knit a nice fluffy scarf.
    Be interesting to see if the IFA (idiot flight attendant) would try to make you put a pencil needle project down while folks were using pens next to you.
    Given that a lot of the commercial cargo that goes in the belly of passenger planes is still not screened, I think my water bottle, knitting needles and size 6 sneakers are definitely the most dangerous things in the air–with the possible exception of that 4.5 ounce bottle of lotion. sigh.

  157. I’ve never had this happen to me with knitting needles, but rather a crochet hook. Flying to tradeshow – across the country. I was working on a design for one of our catalogs – a lovely baby blanket and was under pressure to finish it (read way passed the deadline and photo shoot was imminent). I was crocheting in my sleep at this point. I was working as we waited to take off and sure enough, I had a very similar situation “you need to put that away during take off and landing for safety reasons”. I too have flown enough to know not to argue, but I thought – what “safety” issues could a size G Susan Bates crochet create? Hope the rest of your travels include fiber-loving flight attendants and such.

  158. Oh man! You are going to be here in ohio again! And you didn’t shout it from the rooftops for poor ADD me!
    hmm
    Have to scheme.. it’s only a short drive.. but must probably take children with me.. hmmmm
    Ahh and I must ask you about good places in Toronto.. my hubby has a job interview up there in two weeks..

  159. Don’t let the muggles get you down!
    Recently though I’ve been struck by the thought that really I’m probably pretty likely to get skewered by a dpn if whoever I’m riding with ever gets in an accident…. Not a good thing, really.

  160. I know this isn’t the theme of your post, but I actually did knit with a pen. Once. I was in a conference, working on my OLYMPIC KNITTING (a rug), and I’d forgotten one of the size 11 dps that I needed. Could not believe that I was going to have to sit for eight hours, twitching and mindlessly doodling. And then I saw the pen. So – FYI – a Holiday Inn, barrel pen (remove the cap) is a workable substitute for a size 11 dp. (Note – I was working on a rug.) I wore my ink stained fingertip as a badge of creativity.

  161. Ooh. *Love* those designs by Cookie A.! I hope you’ll have at least one German sock done by the 4th when you visit us in St. Paul — I’d love to see one done! (I have the pattern but don’t knit anywhere near as quickly as you do!) Looking forward to seeing you here in Minnesota.
    Too bad about the flight attendant…that’s why I always bring my knitting *and* a book to read. You just never know what the muggles will come up with to keep you from your knitting.

  162. That stewardess sounds like a muggle to me. I have knit socks on countless flights and never been asked to put the knitting away during takeoff/landing or turbulence. I will say that I have dropped both stitches and double point needles when the turbulence is severe. The needles never fly through the air, they just drop straight to the floor of the cabin and roll forward (or backward, depending) never to be found again. I always carry spares on the plane!

  163. I have never heard of that restriction on airlines before. Leave it to you to run into a flight attendant who thinks DPNs hurtling through the air during turbulance will hurt someone. Maybe it’s time for sock-knitting on 2 circs during air travel.
    At the risk of sounding like the rude person who keeps correcting your spelling I’m going to go out on a limb and correct your physics equation. You are correct that mass and velocity of an object both contribute to the amount of damage in a collision but I think the equation you want is:
    Kenetic Energy = 1/2 x mass x ( velocity squared).
    (other equations to know and love involving mass are Momentum = mass x velocity and
    Force = mass x acceleration).
    Maybe the flight attendant figured that since a DPN has a point on each end (compared to the ball point pen) that the chances of one end inflicting damage is doubled. But then maybe not, since she really didn’t sound like a very deep thinker to me.

  164. You should submit your story to Mythbusters. I bet Jamie and Adam would love to figure out if knitting needles or pens could actually hurt someone due to turbulance. πŸ™‚
    In almost 3 years of knitting and flying, I’ve only had one flight attendant ask me to put my knitting away during take-off and landing. But she said nothing about waiting until the fasten seat belt sign was off!
    Can’t wait to see you tonight! I hope my 7 week old daughter will behave while you’re speaking…

  165. Holy crap–I am totally thinking about taking a drive to Pittsburgh. I’ve never been and this is the perfect excuse. After being at NYC Represent, I can imagine that Pittsburgh will do you proud Stephanie!
    Flight attendants suck ass. I had the same nonsense when I was flying to Jamaica this past October–and lots of outraged passengers muttering “I can’t believe knitting needles are allowed! They can hurt someone!” Damned muggles.

  166. I say go for it. There are thin pens and pencils…if you use colored pencils, they’ll be less likely to get on the knitting.
    I would do it, just to prove a point! If they say to put your knitting away, just get out the pencil knitting! he he.

  167. Force equals mass times velocity. Hilarious!!! She was probably new and all into making everyone think she was doing her job.

  168. I just got the Thelonius pattern and some Louet in the mail 2 days ago! Can’t wait to see your progress. See you in Oak Brook!

  169. I’ve been flying between London and various major US cities regularly for the past 3 years. Sock knitting keeps me sane on the 10 hour flights. I’ve learned to:
    a) take wooden needles as 2.5mm ones don’t show up in the security scanner (too thin)
    b) don’t ask if it is ok to carry them on as the person will inevitably say ‘no’ even if that is not correct
    c) Atlanta is the singularly most insanely stupid airport when it comes to security – you have to go through a security check to EXIT the airport
    I’ve never had a flight attendent tell me to put away the needles nor anybody comment on their dangerousness. Even the poor kids being shipped off to Iraq were polite to the knitting guy.

  170. I’ve only be asked to put my needles away once. A few times people have asked incredulously how I managed to get knitting needles/crochet hooks on the plane. In general, I find that despite all the fuss, no one seems to have a consistent definition of what comprises a security risk.
    I totally want the German Stocking. Cookie A’s designs are so wonderful that I can’t imagine anyone being able to resist the call to sock knitting.

  171. The muggles strike again. I took my copy of the book to my knitting group on Wednesday. Three members decided they had to have it right away and rushed upstairs to Barnes and Noble to buy it. It was not on the shelves and while employees said that the computer showed a large quantity in stock,they were not on display and no one was willing to walk back to the stockroom to look for them. Its only a knitting book.

  172. So, turbulance could make my needles could go flying through the air and hurt someone…
    I do Magic Loop for socks. Does that mean my 40″ circs might accidently strangle someone if they take flight during turbulance?
    Dumbasses.

  173. I took a self defense class two days ago. I learned how to use a pen as a weapon. If everyone knew how this was done, pens would not be allowed either.
    Cookie A’s patterns are amazing. I only wish I had the skill for them. Someday…

  174. I had the same flight attendant once. What to do, especially with a more than mild case of claustrophobia that only knitting eases? Soon I’ll be on a 14 hour flight to Hawaii. Any suggestions?

  175. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I had a problem in jury duty once. My knitting needles were confiscated (in the holding room, no less–we weren’t even assigned to trials), yet people wrote all day long with pointy pencils and pens. The reason, I was told, was that a defendant could leap into the jury box, take the needles from my purse and harm someone with them. And, to add insult to injury, while knitting needles were not on the banned items list cell phones were, yet they did not confiscate those and people talked on them all day. Wanna amuse yourself sometime, check the TSA list of approved and banned items. Common sense has taken a flying leap…

  176. I have to fly on those many many hour-long flights to Hawaii a lot–and I’ve taken knitting needles every time. I get a lot of stares, but usually just from the guys in the security scanning area, who want to measure my scissors and all and I bring a printout saying “ohyesicanbringmyneedlesmister.” But I’ve never had anybody tell me I can only knit when the flight is smooth–don’t they know how hard we clutch them?! Those needles aren’t leaving our hands!

  177. Let’s look at a possible positive interpretation — maybe the flight attendant is right and it really _is_ the rule. Which means that most flight attendants are smart enough to realize that it’s a stupid rule and choose not to enforce it.
    It’s more likely that the rules don’t specify knitting specifically, it’s up to flight attendants’ discretion to determine what activity is unsafe or dangerous.

  178. I feel your pain. I carry the TSA regulations with me and highlight both the knitting needles allowed and blunt scissors under 4″ blade. They always let me keep the needles but I have had 4 pairs of barely butter cutting scissors confiscated. Yarn ain’t pretty when you cut it with your teeth.
    Can’t wait to see you in Cleveland tommorrow.

  179. I finished the book. There’s a quickie review on my blog. I tried to post a real one at Amazon (no one has done this yet), but I couldn’t since I haven’t bought anything from Amazon. Who’d like to go first?
    Has anyone thought out a set of dpns that are disguised as pens or pencils? Or assembling a list of non-needle items that pass the TSA’s arbitrary standards yet meet gauge?

  180. I’ve never been on a plane (sad, I know, but true), so I have no experience in this kind of situation. I have a friend who flies to England about once a year to see her sister. She has been told before that she can take bamboo needles but not steel. Go figure! I don’t think she’s ever been told that she can’t knit or to put it away, though.

  181. Hmm, well I was a flight attendant for many years and was yelled at by drunks, druggies, naked folk, people smacking their kids, a guy spanking his pony, newlyweds who wanted a free upgrade to first class on the Maui flight (like half the plane isn’t newlyweds dumbhead) etc., but never did I make anyone put their knitting needles away. Sure a crochet hook, those acrylic afghans are dangerous.
    It’s really not against the rules to knit, trust me I had to memorize them. If it’s safe to have people walk around the use the john and to shove carts of drinks about, it’s safe to knit.
    Honestly, I’d email the airline’s “We want to hear from you” department and tell them that story and make sure they educate their staff that if knitting needles are a TSA approved item, you should be able to knit barring extreme turbulence (which is very very rare).

  182. LOVE IT! Rick Steves (the travel writer) wrote in one of his books that he always took his pen out of his pocket and stowed it away during take off and landing, so that it would not fly through the air and impale him. He then said that after flying a million or so times, he realized that was pretty irrational…and the pen was not much of a threat! I am sure he would feel the same way about knitting needles.

  183. I fly A LOT. To minimize any hassles, I try to use my bamboo needles. I have never had my bag screened more than once with them, meanwhile with the metal ones, they often re-screen and go through it. I have never had a problem with attendants though, and once one actually showed me something she was crocheting herself.
    It is so nuts. I am a martial artist and fly often with big scary dudes who have in the past pointed out that you could kill someone with a 3″ pencil if you wanted to, but you don’t see 3″ pencils being removed from bags. Nope, they want my chicken salad sandwich, my contact lens solution, and look suspiciously at my Addi Turbos. I say go for wood, and point out that it’s no bigger than a pencil.

  184. You can buy the Casts Off book from overstock.com. I ordered it on Wednesday, and they shipped it the same day.

  185. First of all, when are you coming to Spokane for the book tour? Huh? Huh? I have a felted Chester waiting for you…
    I’ve always wondered about knitting on planes, so when I fly, I take the bamboo needles with me and my sock. Were yours metal? I think if I brought the metal ones, I’d keep them near my PDA stylus, and while the FA was still watching, fish that out and blithely start fiddling with the PDA. You can get styli that are pens as well in case the PDA is verboten, you can use it to do the Sudoko.
    I wish you were still allowed to argue with flight attendants.

  186. On a flight back from Prague, while crammed into the second seat in of the center row of five (who designs these planes, anyway), I had a flight attendant tell me very sternly to put my crochet hook away. That was before I knew how to knit. A crochet hook?! It doesn’t even have a pointy end! I’m always a bit traumatized by the take off part and the smooshed in like sardines part–taking my yarn away did not help matters any.

  187. My mom has a *permanent* injury/scar/item lodged in her body from a pencil. She accidentally placed her fingertip on a very very sharp pencil and the graphite point came off in the tip of her right pointer finger. The doctor couldn’t get it out without… well… painful and risky surgery.
    Apparently with all the nerve endings in your finger it’s a VERY painful and somewhat risky rescue operation to get it out (nerve damage or something). The tip of her finger is permanently greenish gray (graphite also has stained/ spread to the surrounding skin) and her skin has just grown over the spot. (The incident was 17 years ago)
    I can’t even imagine having someone slice the tip of my right pointer finger in half to retrieve a foreign object. I’m right handed. No Thank You.
    Knitting needles more “dangerous” than pencils… I think not! And… well… I have proof!

  188. I’m sure she was just doing her job but still!!! I have never heard of that stupid rule. Don’t they realize that you’re holding onto your knitting as you knit, therefore it’s not like the needles are just sitting there, waiting to fly into someones face! How horrible….

  189. I love to read all of the comments, but as a physicist I have to contradict some of the “corrections” to your physics. I know this is a bit off of the real topic, but I am a scientist and somehow feel the need … yes kinetic energy is 1/2mv^2, yes force=mass times acceleration. And yes, you called your equation impact force instead of impulse, but that is just semantics. You have it right- impulse is mass times a change in velocity. As one poster remarked this initial velocity would be equal to terminal velocity for the dpn (the final velocity would be zero unless it punctured through your body and sailed onward). The same way a baseball catcher feels an impulse on the glove by bringing the ball to a halt, so would your needle impart an impulse on whichever eyeball is being poked out. Since the mass and cross section of a size 1 needle is so small, the terminal velocity could be ballparked at 2m/s. Would give you an impulse of about .002kgm/s. Compare this to a #2 pencil, (terminal velocity ~10m/s, mass ~20g) at 0.2kgm/s. That is 100 times more impulse! Beware the #2 pencil.

  190. I admire your self control in the face of this muggle/CHOKE double standard. I don’t think I would have been able to control my mouth. Needles flying through the air? Monkeys are more likely to fly out of my arse!

  191. Dear knitting Harlot, I’ve been in your seat, literally. I too cannot believe the arse-ness of the attendants telling anyone to put knitting away. I cringe every time I’ve been told I can’t have my knitting out πŸ™ during take off/landing.
    One of these times I’m going to tell them NO because it’s my therapy, and I will twitch and become unbearable if I can’t knit…maybe.
    And I take circs on the planes because they’re more flexible than DPs.
    Freeking Muggles are way too scared of us!

  192. Someone in our guild did knit with pencils when knitting needles were still disallowed after 9/11. Not sure why pencils were allowed.

  193. I’ve always had on-board knitting on needles I could bear to part with–and a good set in checked luggage. Since we could take knitting back on planes, I’ve only been denied flying England back to US, and they were nice enough to be asking folks about what was in carry-ons as we waited in the check-in line, so I could stuff them into checked baggage.
    Never carry scissors, but no one has objected to my little container of dental floss; that cutter works on most yarn. And I’ve been tempted to try actual toothpicks. Might take 7 or 8 for a sock, but my bamboo 0’s and 1’s get called toothpicks anyway.
    thanks to all for the jury duty reminder; I’ve been called for next week. Now if only department meetings weren’t “knitting free” zones.

  194. I had almost the same thing happen to me on a plane. I was asked to put down my knitting (on a circular needle, whaaat?)lest I put my eye out during take off. Then she noticed I was wearing glasses and decided I would probably be okay. The whole comment was so dumb it was cute, I just wanted to pat her on the head like a puppy.

  195. Honestly I would never think that there are any commonalities between a knitter and terrorist but if the airline actually looked at the dps or circs and thought about them they too would be banned. My Dad and I once used one of my metal dps to pick the lock of the office bathroom since we had accidently locked ourselves out. Now I don’t think the locks on the plane are as basic but who knows….

  196. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh flight attendants.
    I also fail to see what an ipod, that does no radio transmitting or whatever you call it at all has to do with the controls during takeoff and landing, but whatever. FINE.
    the flight attendants are usually pretty lax in kansas though.
    just saying.
    good luck with the impending chaos!

  197. Oh no! Does that mean they didn’t let you knit at all?? I bet she would have said the same thing if you were knitting a sweater on circulars….It might unwind itself from all the stitches and go flying through the air and hurt someone.
    I hope your next batch of flight attendants isn’t so nutso.

  198. I actually learned to knit on two pencils with a ball of twine – that was three years ago, now I have over 20 sets of Addi Tubos and countless bamboos

  199. Sigh. I look forward to any expanse of time to knit these days, with kids I am constantly setting it down for SOMETHING (mom, I have to pee…Mom, I’m Hungry…) I have elaborate fantasies of knitting on a plane uninterrupted. (the plane is headed to somewhere exotic byt the way…) Now I must totally revise my fantasies.
    Seriously looking forward to seeing you in Denver, praying I get a seat (grrr first come first serve) and hoping I don’t cry if I do get to meet you…cause I think that would be a little to wierd.

  200. Oh man. Were you sockless the whole flight? I’m sorry! That just sucks.
    I’ve never been asked to put away my knitting (or my camera, which is frequently on my lap during takeoff/landing) but I have been asked to put away my mp3 player (once).
    Didn’t the Mythbusters do an episode about cell phones/electronics on planes? IIRC they completely busted it.

  201. Seriously! They do say that the pen is mightier than the sword. I had a stewardess question my size 11 sharp beading needle once. I think a shoe lace could do more damage.

  202. Yeah, you need the common sense to go along with that consistency. You could just have the consistency of that flight attendant and you would have your knitting interrupted every flight.

  203. Woohoo! The Cute Mailman just delivered your book to my door, I’ve refreshed my coffee, turned on Regina Spektor softly in the background, and feed the kitties so they won’t bother me for at least half an hour, I’m good to go! The thing is, I told my profs that your book would be arriving this weekend so I wouldn’t get any work done and they just nodded! Hah! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  204. JK Rowling was told she couldn’t bring the pages of Harry Potter 7 that she’d written while in New York on a flight back to London. She refused to board, and said she’d take a boat instead and they relented. Because, you know, she might take over the plane by giving the pilot a paper cut.

  205. I hate that you have all these problems knitting in the sky….I fly a lot in the U.S. and over to London and have not had problems. The pens and the phones are the problems!!!! Don’t these people know who you are, for heaven’s sake? They should be happy to have you Representing in the air. I can’t wait for Amazon to deliver my book next week!

  206. Welcome to Pittsburgh! I am looking forward to seeing you tonight for the first time!!! I hope the rest of your trip in our lovely city is more enjoyable than the knit free ride here.

  207. I have been told to put my knitting away during take off and landing and turbulence once too (and I fly nearly as often as you!) As if! Can’t wait to see you in Denver next week!

  208. When I flew to England last year I was afraid that I too wouldn’t be able to knit. Just thinking of 9 hours of guilt-free knitting; no jumping up to wipe a nose, or fix dinner, or do laundry made me quiver! I bought new bamboo circs and came prepared with the TSA rules. Imagine my surprise when on the return flight out of Heathrow a few rows up from my seat there was a young woman using size 10 metal(!) needles. I mean she could have used these things as crutches, they were so long.
    I had no problems (whew!). But the scanners did stop to really scrutinize my carry-on bag, problably for the sheer volume of knitting that I brought.

  209. Books have escaped from Amazon!!
    I stopped home at lunchtime to check on my recovering parrot and found your book in my mailbox. I started to thumb through it, and it was all I could do to *put the book down.*
    During this particularly busy tax season, if I could take off time to spend with the Harlot, I would have gone to the launch party last week.
    But I can assure you, it’s at the top of the reading list tonight.

  210. Next Harlot book: “101 ways to kill with muggles with knitting needles…..”
    BTW- saw the poster from NYC— power to the knitters- maybe we’re scaring them?
    I swear- no more comments- I promise- not today anyway.

  211. I’ve also been told to put down my knitting during the landing. The excuse given was that if we landed hard I could poke out an eye. So, I put my knitting on my lap and carefully covered the dangerous sticks (bamboo) with my hands and as soon as the wheels hit the tarmac – quite smoothly I might add, I picked up the dangerous sticks and started to knit again. Also, I sat next to the stewardess flying out and they were seated because of turbulance and they did not once say a word about me knitting. Also, must remember to take my Christmas gift certificate that I’ve been saving with me on Saturday so I buy the book.

  212. Ah, so THAT’S what you all do – put the bamboo dpns/circs in your bag and the scanner doesn’t pick it up. I foolishly asked at the booking in desk and had a gaggle of steward debate the potential lethalness of my bamboo circs before telling me I couldn’t have them on the longhaul flight to Thailand. I’m printing out Jenn’s reply to you for future reference. Now, on the in country flight – no probs.
    tutmut, on the lookout for flying needles.

  213. I have been a flight attendant for 18 years and I have NEVER heard of that rule. I agree that it must be her own rule. Maybe she had a boyfriend/husband who ran off with a knitter and shes just jaded!!!! πŸ™‚ I bring my knitting on every trip and I fly overseas all the time and have never had a problem. I do get comments from passengers from time to time on “why can you bring those things and I can’t bring my lighter!!!” ???????? Like they are on the same level. Knit away dear Harlot and if your ever on one of my fights we will set up a knitting zone!!!

  214. I Only flew once, NY to Vegas. They had no problem with my Knitting bag full of yarn any only quickly looked at my crochet hook(my choice at the time)of course the one they picked up on was the size of my thumb. They wanted to know how many times I glued the bottom on it. It did kinda look that way from the manufacturing process. It was a good thing they didn’t take my projects away since I found out I don’t fly well.

  215. How strange — and frustrating! Logic is all to often missing on planes these days, and it’s too bad that there’s no use arguing. I knit on every flight, and no one has every given me a problem — in fact, it usually invites conversation! On my last two flights I had one flight attendant, a very accomplished knitter, come over and chat with me about my knitting, and another asked me to teach her how to knit! She’d just bought needles and some yarn that day, thinking it would be a good way to keep her occupied on long flights.

  216. I too have been asked exactly once, to put away my knitting during takeoff and landing. I also looked at the flight attendant like she had 3 heads. Of course, I can’t take my lipgloss on unless its in a special plastic baggy, but I’m ok for taking 10 sets of size 000 metal needles (featured in a Chinese murder mystery called “Judge Dee” as an almost untraceable way to kill your husband, long before X-Ray machines were invented.)

  217. I am flying next weekend from Cleveland to Vegas. First time flying as a knitter, and I am hoping there will be no issues with it.

  218. You know, I probably would have said something snarky like “well fine then, no socks for YOU!”
    Patience is a virtue. Remember that muggles must be led gently to our knitterly ways.

  219. You could totally put an eye out if they go flying thru the air and hit someone! Never mind the dude with the pen next to you. Needles in a sock, are far more harmful then a pen in a dudes hand. Makes you wonder doesn’t it? Wish I could be there to see you, but PA is a little far. πŸ™‚

  220. And your iPod could go flying during turbulence and knock someone unconscious while simultaneously strangling you. Perhaps it would fly sideways and kill Sudoku man, and then he’d lose his grip on the pen and inadvertently loose its dart-like fury upon the cabin.

  221. That’ll teach you not to knit socks Magic Loop. LOL After all, how could they go flying anywhere, the whole kit and caboodle?
    Personally though, I think she was full of crap. I admire your restraint. That was EXTREMELY serene of you.

  222. To avoid the whole situation, I just keep my knitting under cover of my lightweight grey cape (seriously lightweight) that I wear to keep from freezing on airplanes (and in movies, etc.) and pull out a book. Then, once we’re in the air and the attendants are busy with the drink carts, I finish my chapter, pull out my knitting and achieve cloud-level knitting nirvana. (At least until I screw up in the pattern. Then I have to seek nirvana again, one corrected stitch at a time.)
    In truth, I’ve never been asked to put it away and always thought the hard part was getting past the TSA numbnuts screening my bags. The closest I was ever scrutinized occurred about 2-3 years ago, when my carry-on bag got x-rayed twice and handsearched. I thought it was about my knitting equipment, but no, they’d seen a promotional ink pen I’d gotten at a conference… a pen that had a computer thumb drive built into the upper part. I’d forgotten about it completely. They let me keep it and never even looked at my knitting needles.
    Happy travels, everyone!

  223. Asking for common sense and consistency in airline “security” regulations, hmmmm? Well, I hate to break it to you, but Not Going To Happen.
    You’re right about the pen though, it’s much more dangerous because it doesn’t have a yarn leash. And pencils are dangerous too, but not so much poisonous any more as they use graphite, not actual lead (see Juti’s comment way up there).
    You should see the looks I get with my blunt point kids’ scissors on the plane! Especially back in 2004.

  224. Late to the party, but I have a story!
    On the way to Florida last fall, the flight attendant asked me to put away my knitting during takeoff and landing. I was using my Denise interchangable needles with the size 7 tips. Dude, you could stab yourself over and over with these guys and not break the skin, which wouldn’t likely happen since they’re Attached To The Circular Cord. But fine. I put it away during takeoff and landing.
    On the way home, having finished that project, I was working on a sock on my favorite Inox size 1 dpns. These things are serious weapons with their super pointy tips, which is why I love them some much. I was all ready to put them away when the flight attendants made their final walk through, and all I got was a, “Cool! Whatcha makin’?” Go figure.

  225. Last spring, while on an overseas flight, I pulled out my sock knitting. After a while a flight attendant cruised by, paused, silently looked on, and went on her way. A few minutes later another attendant did the same thing. Then another. I figured, “Oh well, soon a good thing will come to an end.” Pretty soon, the first attendant came by again, paused a bit longer, then stooped down and said, “There’s an empty seat toward the back. If you move back there, can we (the flight attendants) take turns sitting down to watch how you do that?” An otherwise boring flight turned into a series of mini sock knitting lessons.

  226. When I travelled from Ottawa to Calgary on Westjet I was told I had to put the needles away during the landing. I was trying furiously to finish my row and the attendant actually threatened to take them away from me. I was five stitches from the end, luckily didn’t lose a stitch.

  227. It is outrageous to think there is any chance of needle injury.
    However, as a high school science teacher I could not stop myself from pointing out that force is equal to mass times accelleration. I do not point this out to be nitpicky, but it is even less likely that a needle would have much acceleration during turbulence or take off.

  228. 2 weeks ago flying from Atlanta to Chicago, the flight attendant tried to make me put away my knitting. After more than 200K miles in the past year and a half, it didn’t happen. The pilot I was sitting next to just sat and shook his head while I pointed out that I knit all the time on the flights. That it’s where I get most of my knitting done and that I wasn’t a ‘happy camper’ with her trying to make me put it away. I had a baby blanket to finish. Actually I have 3 to get finished here shortly. She told me she didn’t want to upset me. I said..too late. Ok, so I was a little bit tired (didn’t go to sleep the night before) and got a little cranky. I fly nearly every week and I wasn’t going to put my knitting away. She came back and said, and I kid you not, “Oh, so that’s like a blanket, and you’re going to put it out on your lap? Like a blanket? Ok, you can do that. But the bag has to be put away. I didn’t mean to upset you.” Note here, that bag? Was the attached skein of yarn for the blanket. Brillant, huh?
    Now, the over sized, hard covered book behind me, the purse on the lady’s lap to my right, and the huge tote bag on the lap of the woman in first class..would have done much more damage than the bit of yarn I had in the bag on my lap in the event of turbulence. I just kept on knitting.

  229. Reminds me of when I was flying the March after 9/11 from The Netherlands to Mexico, with layover in Cuba.
    I had in my bag a few aluminium pens and uhm.. what I’d call an automatic pencil (You click and a little bit of pencil comes out). Also, I apparently had a little nailclipper in there. I swear I had no idea.
    I got on board at Schiphol airport, through security when deboarding on Cuba, we were put in this hall with only one way out (Back to the plane), but they insisted on checking luggage again for reboarding. It wasn’t until I REboarded there that this overactive-guy-with-a-hat made me hand in those nailclippers. While I still think the pens would have made much more of an effective weapon.
    Can you tell I’m still miffed?

  230. I have just discovered your wonderful blog as my mum bought me At Knits End and Yarn Harlot for my birthday a week ago. I am an English knitter completely jealous of all you knitters in the US and your amazing yarn stores – we have very, very few here and the only place I have within 60 miles sells only Rowan and Debbie Bliss.
    I get nearly all my wool (yarn!!) online and much of it comes from the US and so takes so long I’ve forgotten what I ordered when it arrives so I totally empathise with your sense of surprise at opening the box – happens to me all the time.
    I have been tempted by Cookie A’s German Stocking for a few weeks now – look forward to you posting some progress pics, is it knitting up well?
    Anyway, thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts in your books, I am very much enjoying them.
    Do you ever make it this side of the Atlantic????

  231. Okay, here’s the trick: print off a copy of the airlines’ rules/regs as far as carry-on stuff. And when they harrass you?? Stuff it in their face – or anywhere else that seems appropriate. Works every time…..

  232. Not that I want to freak out y’all knitters, but IMAGINE if you will, the huge stash of knitting needles Homeland Security has confiscated…
    Needles sitting there all lonely, and without yarn…
    Never to be fondled again…
    Needles sitting in the dark, unappreciated…
    Something tells me the Homeland Security Muggles are gonna get mugged soon. Film at 11…

  233. i have a horror(ish) story for you, regarding the needles. i flew from portland, oregon to sacramento, california to see my folks. i brouhgt along a sock because, really – the cardigan won’t fit into my purse anymore. anyway, after doing that weird thing where they ask you to remove your shoes, they tore open my purse and pulled my needles out of my sock. now, yes, they were steel or somesuch, but really. i was able to address an envelope to myself, so at least they would go back home. they were my best friend’s grandmother’s needles, and i’m not about to let some drone in security… argh.
    if they wanted to be safe, they woulda let me keep my needles, man. you know how knitters are, when they’re told to stop that thing with the pointy sticks.

  234. I just flew from Delhi to Singapore to Hong Kong to San Francisco with my knitting. Other than a flight attendant out of Singapore being charmed by my socks, nobody batted an eyelash – as usual. I’ve been round the world many times with my knitting, never once had needles questioned (tho I did have a crochet hook inspected once – go figure!) On the Hong Kong flight they DID stop serving hot beverages due to turbulance, but I knit on. I was so sure I’d complete the socks and move on to the backup pair of gloves, but I kept falling asleep so didn’t even finish one! Oh well, I actually won’t need (or want) another pair of wool socks in India (we’re up in the Himalays, but still…) until the fall so no hurry.

  235. I showed this entry to my BFF and best knitting pal Brian and he suggested you take a Finger Crochet class from Kevin, one of the owners of Flying Fingers, our favorite LYS in Tarrytown, NY. I’ve seen him finger crochet, it is quite a feat. They can’t make you put your fingers away in case of turbulence.

  236. A little late but here’s my thought. By the time security realizes they “need” to confiscate a “weapon” because it has been tried, the idiots who choose to do some nasty deed to innocent people are already in their caves figuring the next move. They have no intention of repeating their offense with the same weapons. So my question is? Why isn’t Homeland Security in their offices figuring out what their next move will be?
    I agree with the whole pen/pencil issue, the hands, the feet……..well you get the picture.
    I love the socks. I too have been looking at that pattern. I hope to go hear you speak someday.d

  237. comment #264 I took have been told not to knit during take off and landing (by the only other non-slacker flight attendant in the business) because I could impale myself if we crash! I have also been told to concentrate on my knitting by another attendant noticing my nervousness with flying. Finally I was told by one attendant that I would need to put my french horn, harmlessly sitting under the seat in the overhead bin as it would block people in an emergency. Unfortunately after we landed the guy in front lept up and opened the overhead bin and my french horn fell out…on my head…straining my neck muscles…

  238. Ohhh I almost forgot I did manage to flick a plastic stir rod across a plane one time and hit someone in the head…and yes I sometimes walk into walls…

  239. I have only been told once to put my knitting away during take off and landing…it was a puddle jumper. The lady was really nice, though and we talked knitting the whole time as soon as we were at cruising altitude.

  240. I finished the book earlier this week, and I think that its GRAND. I love your humor (humour?) and I admire the hell out of you.

  241. Well…the one time I went to a concert with security, they took not only my 8mm bamboo circ (16″, and with knitting on it) but also my ballpoint pen. I was just happy that I got my needle back after the concert, and that they searched my bag but not the pocket in which I had my pocket scissors/knife.

  242. Once, flying from Seattle to Pgh (that is, Pittsburgh), I was told to close my mouth so as to avoid injuring myself by accidentally biting tongue and others, just in case my dentures flew off and hit someone else during turbulence.
    I did and continued to knit with my extra extra sharp lace Addis, which subsequently jabbed self and 42 others during the flight and was blamed for the emergency landing due to pressure loss in cabin.
    Sue – she who still has all her own teeth and tends to ‘create’ a set of facts just to deal with absurdity and inconsistency in policy.
    Just sharing.

  243. A friend of mine just returned from a trip to Cambodia where they tried to take her plastic Denise needles out of her work at airport security. She threw a fit and they dragged her to a little room with an official where she completely lost it, screamed at him that in all-too-recent Cambodian history soldiers jammed knitting needles in children’s ears to keep them from learning from nuns, and promptly fainted. I’m sort of amazed they didn’t lock her up.
    PS I just bought all three of Cookie’s knee-high patterns. Divine.

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