Maybe Pencils

Tomorrow’s a day I’ve been thinking about for a while.  A month ago I got a summons to appear for Jury Duty selection. My first thought was that it was sort of cool – it’s my first time and I sort of like the idea of doing my civic duty. My second thought was that it was going to be a pain in the arse, but it is for everyone, so I let that go. My third thought was the one that we concern ourselves with here today.

There are no knitting needles allowed in the courthouse.

Well, let me clarify, there are no knitting needles allowed past security, and I admit that I’m not sure if this first part, the choosing of jurors, is past security or not, but I have a very bad feeling that it does. I went to court for a traffic ticket I got on my bike (don’t ask, it got thrown out) and when I arrived there, the very nice people at security told me that my sock in progress couldn’t accompany me. I must have looked stricken, because one of them offered to hold it for me and return it at the end of my visit, and she said it was a very nice sock, but I wasn’t there long, and the other agent didn’t like it much, so I get the feeling that relying on finding a knitting sympathizer on the other side of the desk isn’t my best bet.

I’ve been thinking it over, because a whole day without knitting, especially a day without knitting that involves mostly waiting, and an hour each way on the bus and subway isn’t something that I think is going to bring out the best in me. The idea of it actually gives me a cramp in the pit of my stomach – though I’m sure I can do it if I have to. A friend suggested that I bring a book, and of course I will,  but she’s forgotten that I knit while I read. I’ll tuck a paperback in my bag as insurance, but I’m not totally ready to give up on the knitting thing. The way I see it, there’s a few ways that tomorrow could go down.

My knitting isn’t allowed in, because it looks dangerous, and they’re sticklers for the rules.

This is the worst case scenario, because it means that I’ll lose my knitting – there’s nowhere to put it if it’s declared a danger to the masses. If I were driving I could run out and put it in the car, but that’s not an option with a subway arrival. If worse comes to worse I’ll leave it under a bush outside and hope that it’s there when I come out, but really I think that my best bet is to take yarn and needles that I won’t cry over – should we be parted forever. So, that means my current project is out, because I love it and it was expensive and in the name of all that is woollen and good I will not be parted from it, and cannot predict my behaviour should that be the case. I don’t think the needles look particularly dangerous – they’re blunt and 5mm,  and… well, sometimes we knitters are misunderstood as artists, so I’m not counting on common sense to prevail.

grusmostlydone 2017-01-26

Pattern: Grus Yarn: Woolfolk Far (It is completely delicious.)

It turns out they are slaves to their metal detector.

That means my current sock project is right out. I love both the yarn and the needles and even I (sporting several 2.25mm puncture scars on my body) can agree that they pose a tiny risk, should I turn out to be some sort of maniac.

toopointy 2017-01-26

Pattern: I’m faking it Yarn: Must Stash OCD Perfect Sock/ Kama Sutra #20  Needles: 2.25mm Signatures.

That means that whatever I choose should be on wooden needles, something that won’t upset anyone, something breakable, blunt, and benign looking. Maybe wooden circulars? 8mm? I’m thinking that a ball of yarn and two pencils might not be the worst thing I could tuck in the bottom of my bag.* Part of me wants to educate, to try and tell them that knitters are so much more dangerous without this stuff than we are with it, but I have a feeling that won’t work.

What’s the most innocent looking knitting you can think of?

*As a public service, I can point out here that a standard pencil is about 7.5mm, as are chopsticks.

(PS. I just tried to sharpen said pencils, and discovered that the family pencil sharpener is full of what I am pretty sure is black eyeliner.  Thanks Sam.)

390 thoughts on “Maybe Pencils

  1. How about crocheting? As tenuous as your relationship might be with crocheting, maybe a hook would be allowed where knitting needles aren’t? Worth a shot, anyway.

        • I was called for federal (US) jury duty and was told no knitting, no crochet hooks. I was never so happy as when I found out they didn’t need me after all. 🙂

      • My first thought also. Last time I went to jury duty (US) I looked it up and knitting needles are not allowed but crochet hooks are okay. Got something that needs an edging? 🙂 Good luck!

    • I was summoned for a very high profile case and brought a crochet project. I didn’t have any problems (other than a close examination of the hook), but they wouldn’t let the lady behind me bring in her knitting. Go figure.

    • When I was called for Jury service neither knitting needles – even bamboo ones -and crochet hooks were not allowed . However the finest ballpoint pen and my fountain pen with metal nib were allowed!

    • On YouTube Bella Coco does a very nice c2c baby blanket. I’m doing it in variegated yarn fora Canadian baby due in April (our Godson is farming outside Ottawa)
      Maybe a simple idea for your new arrival?

    • Try a plastic crochet hook. The last time I had to go through the courthouse at the US state level, plastic was OK but not metal because of the metal detectors.

    • Oh no, how horrible! I was called for (US) district jury selection a couple of years ago and I could bring my knitting-just no scissors. It was both interesting and boring at the same time. There was a lot of waiting in the jury room for the next jury to be selected. And then waiting in the courtroom if you weren’t selected for that jury. Then back to the jury room to wait some more.
      Pencils might work. You wouldn’t even necessarily have to sharpen them ahead of time. I am sure someone there would be glad to sharpen them for you or bring you a sharpener (or bring you to a sharpener). Good luck!

      • Oh my…I’m so glad I work in a courthouse in Northern Ontario. I did not know they were banned in other locations. There are two of us that knit at break and lunch on a daily basis.
        I’m thinking wooden circular might pass but what do I know:)

      • My daughter (age 12) has been knitting on pencils for over a year, as her school does not allow the students to have knitting needles on campus. The pencil thing has worked very well for her. It works pretty well for scarves and hats. Good luck! 🙂

      • You can sharpen them and coat the lead point with clear nail polish so it won’t come off on the yarn. I have a scarf project all started with some beautiful velvet ribbon yarn that is perfect with the size of the pencil/ needle. I bought those big rubber erasers for the end if the pencils so the knitting won’t fall off. Got it ready for flying but didn’t need it. Ready for anything!

    • I had jury duty a few years back. Did my research – Knitting needles were on the banned list. I am a rule follower so I didn’t even try it. Low and behold someone is sitting there KNITTING. On a break I happen to be standing by one of the security or bailiff peeps and commented on the knitting and suggested I run to the car and get mine. The look he gave me drove that thought right out of my head.

    • I have put my hair up and put wooden circulars in my hair like a hybrid chignon/bun. It totally works. Definitely wash cloths.

  2. I find that plastic needles tend to be the least frightening to security but if they’ve declared “no knitting” even that might not work. I find that crochet hooks are often allowed where knitting needles aren’t, since they have a blunter end, but if you don’t crochet that’s no help.

    A security guy one time got mad at me for trying to bring my “sewing stuff” in.

    • I agree about the plastic needles. I have kept some old plastic circulars, being sure that the actual needle point bends, and I think that would be your best bet.

  3. A washcloth is would be the least heartbreaking to lose. But you could play up the new grandmother card and try to play to their sympathies.

  4. Speaking from recent Toronto jury duty experience, don’t pack the yarn and pencils in close proximity to each other, it looked suspicious to the friendly security guard I got who told me his wife both knits and dreads jury duty.

  5. bamboo needles, mittens or a scarf. That’s what I’ve brought in the past – the bamboo needles can be tucked in a pocket and won’t set of the metal detector.

  6. When I had to replace my passport in a hurry, I had to take my suitcase into the federal building, where all bags were being opened and searched. No way did I want to make a transatlantic flight w/o knitting. So I dug out my needles etc. went up to a pleasant panhandler I’d noticed earlier on the street, and gave him my needles and HALF of a $5 bill. “Keep these for me until I come out, and you’ll get the other half,” I told him.
    I chose to stay in the building while my passport was rushed through — about 3.5 hours.
    When the man saw me emerge, he smiled in relief and told me he was glad I was back because he’d been so worried about missing me that he hadn’t dared go to the restroom!
    I got my needles, he got his money. Crisis averted, and we both have a good story to tell.

  7. Staggering the rules that are in play. Could you wear a couple of shawl pins or one shawl pin and a hair pin that happened to match?

    • This is what I did when we were not allowed to bring needles on Australian planes (long ago now – common sense prevailed). Or perhaps try tatting?

    • I was going to suggest this same thing! Put your hair up with some nice bamboo “hair sticks” and close your shawl with a crossed pair of matching “shawl pins.”

    • I think that’s only at the airport, not the law courts. I was told I had to throw out my serger tweezers. I did as Steph thought and went outside and hid them under a bush.

      • At least in Portland (OR), they no longer allow mailboxes anywhere near courthouses – or much of anywhere else.
        I knit happily – in the front row, so they saw me – on bamboo circs all through a LONG morning waiting to be called to a jury. I had phoned first and they said it was OK. Are you sure you aren’t allowed?

        • Washington County (Oregon) doesn’t allow them; they’ll take them away as you go through security at the door. I took tatting. Sounds like every jurisdiction is different.

  8. I don’t have any insight into jury duty, but I know that the one time I was stuck in the psych ward of the hospital for a week (don’t ask) I wasn’t allowed metal needles, but they allowed me wooden ones. Of course we only learned that after my friend helpfully snuck in chopsticks for me thinking to circumvent the “no stabby implements” rule.

    • Exactly. With a plastic shuttle.
      My guess is that there are probably only 3 security people on the continent that know anything about tatting.

      • A single-shuttle hen-and-chicks edging, or even a whole doily done in a single-shuttle pattern, can fit into a chewing gum tin. I’ve done it. It’s lovely. If not for the fact that tatting is so brutally difficult to tink it would be the perfect portable craft.

        • I got stopped at Edinburgh airport for a metal tatting shuttle with a tiny hook. It had about 12 inches of tatting attached. I hadn’t thought about it as a weapon, I’m not sure you could EVER do anyone any damage with it! I just looked bemused, and the security guy said something like “in view of the profile of the passenger I’ll let it go this time.” In other words “this daft old bat looks harmless, but I’d better just warn her not to do it again!” I now take bamboo/wood crochet hooks.

  9. Things must be very different in peaceful Canada because in the United States if someone caught you stashing a package under a bush and walking away, you would probably find yourself face down on the ground while the whole area would be cordoned off and all nearby buildings evacuated. I will keep you in my thoughts.

      • I don’t know how likely you are to get away with it near a courthouse, but in general, it wouldn’t be a big deal, especially for a package as small as the knitting would likely be. Worst case scenario is that someone would try to do the friendly thing and pick up the trash.

    • So true. I actually once got stuck with knitting at the doors to a capitol building (I wasn’t even planning to go in, I had a meeting in an office attached to the visitors’ center). The guard wouldn’t hold the knitting, and he made pretty clear that if I left it anywhere on the capitol grounds–under a bush, say–it would be instantly destroyed. I couldn’t go all the way home, since I would have missed my meeting. What to do? After some thought I remembered a small house museum about three blocks away, free to the public, where the ladies’ room featured a pretty antique armoire with drawers. I strolled the three blocks, entered the museum, made a casual stop in the restroom, popped my knitting bag in the armoire (the drawer was empty except for some old membership leaflets) and strolled back out. After my meeting I made a return visit to the museum and was relieved to find my knitting in the drawer undisturbed. Won’t make that mistake again!!!

  10. I took my knitting on bamboo circulars and I got a pendant yarn cutter for the occasion. I went to a courthouse in Barrie On. and they had no problem with me. I sat and knit all day. Ditch the metal needles for the occasion.

  11. I was able to bring knitting into jury duty when it was on a circular needle. The whole thing is truly ridiculous because a sharpened pencil is as dangerous, if not more so, than a knitting needle if the person carrying it intends to do harm to someone.

    • And please don’t any one point out that a circular knitting needle and a garrote bear a startling similarity.
      (Yes, I read too many mystery novels.)

      • Actually, at the courthouse I used to frequent (as a lawyer, not skofflaw) the circular needles were much more likely to be confiscated because of exactly that. There was also a limit on the size necklace chain we were allowed to wear. Men, however, were required to wear a necktie, which if you’re going to worry about circular knitting needles or a necklace makes no sense at all.

          • Well, I’ve had dental tape confiscated at a courthouse in Detroit. Guess they thought I might garrote someone with the dental tape.

  12. I feel your pain – 3 times I was called for jury selection but only the last time did I have to attend. Every time I had these elaborate scenarios of how to get my knitting into the building. I finally went with the bamboo needles and sock yarn. Here in Kitchener, I got that through without a question. Ended up being selected for duty and was given a pass key to get into the building thereby not having to go through security everyday and being able to switch to my circular needles. Still wasn’t allowed to take my knitting into the court room but at least I had it with me during all the time I had to wait in the jury room. Best of luck.

  13. I don’t know why, but I find that bright pink yarn is the easiest to get past security. Something that pink can’t be dangerous.

  14. I’ve had security people not let in circulars because they could be used as a garrotte. They also objected to my ribbon bookmark for the same reason. Have you ever thought of taking up tatting?

  15. Paint your wooden dpns yellow with a black tip, will look like pencils! Start something new on yarn that’s not a gem, cowl?

  16. In St Louis, MO knitting is not allowed and crochet is. And if they ask if I am knitting, on bamboo or plastic needles that did not set off the metal detector, I have always been able to say, “No. This is crochet.” And all 3 times I have been on jury duty, I did not feel bad about the lie.

      • I, too, am from St Louis, and since I live in the city, I get called fairly frequently. I always take socks on small wooden needles, and they have never stopped me!
        A friend had JD last week, and they told her wooden and plastic needles were fine.

  17. I already knew that knitting needles were forbidden at jury duty, but I never knew a 36″ retractable metal tape measure has weapons capability. Apparently it can double as a garrote. It was confiscated so I wouldn’t be tempted to strangle one of my fellow jurors or myself, what with having no knitting to temper my mood.

    • What a strange world we live in. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the authorities has to produce evidence of the number of people garrotted by a woman with a retractable metal tape measure or stabbed with a knitting needle?

      • I don’t think they’d worry about the person who had it so much as some violent criminal seeing it and grabbing it suddenly. While the jurors aren’t generally a problem, it’s important to remember that courthouses also have more than a few people moving through their corridors that have proven themselves quite violent. 🙁

  18. My vote is for larger blunt bamboo circulars and hat knitting. If not that I think the plastic crochet hook is a good idea if you can bear it.

    • I ignored a recent warning that they Mexico airport security wouldn’t let knitting on and brought my current project on circular needles. Sure enough, they noticed the knitting and wouldn’t let me bring it aboard. They brought out scissors and cut the needles off. So the good news is I didn’t lose the yarn or have to pull the needles out. The bad news was I lost the needles. And only later did I think about the fact that there were removable needles and I could have just unscrewed them!
      But my lesson is:
      Don’t ignore warnings
      Go with bamboo
      Use a circular so worst case they just cut the cord
      Bring crochet as backup

  19. I took a socks on bamboo DPN’s and didn’t have a problem. Are you sure they don’t have a holding area? I got stopped at another courthouse with my knitting. They said they would hole it, but I had two pairs of Addi’s. I waited outside – with my knitting.

  20. I’ve heard that you can smuggle in needles if you put them in with an umbrella…

    Good luck (and to the other jurors if they don’t let your yarn and needles through! I’d go nuts).

  21. When I fly I put my knitting on an interchangeable needle circular cable with the ends on. The wooden needle ends go in my pencil case. Once through security I reassemble and knit away.

      • In Australia I had a plain sewing needle confiscated. I’d grabbed one of those little hotel sewing kits in the morning because I had a loose button and they took it in case I used it as a weapon. I’m a lawyer and know better than to argue with court security but I did point out to them that the metal pen I had in my bag was infinitely more dangerous. They didn’t care.

        So don’t take anything you care about losing!

    • A hundred years ago (several years before 9/11), I took embroidery to work on when I got called for JD in Chicago/Cook County. No problem (although I wonder how I took scissors in – I must’ve looked absolutely naive but still – there were probably bad guys around.) We learned later that the judge purposely called in 3x the typical jury pool because both parties in the case refused to negotiate – and they were pretty much playing chicken. So the judge brought in a HUGE number of people to let the lawyers know there would be a trial and there were lots and lots of people for the potential jury. They ended up settling with no trial but we (the jury pool) spent several hours waiting. Just holding the fabric made the day easier – as well as having the bailiff explain WTH was going on when we were all dismissed. I finally understand the saying ‘he also serves who stands and waits’ – or in my case, sits and embroiders.

  22. I ran into that problem a couple of years ago. I decided it wasn’t worth the headache of dealing with the guards and making all of our days more challenging than they needed to be.

    My waiting room was indeed inside the security area. And there was absolutely no reason I couldn’t have knit for those several hours. I was definitely twitchy.

    We were allowed books, laptops, other devices, etc…so I’d brought piles of work to do. Is there a particular work project you’ve been putting off that you can probably do without internet? Some spreadsheets and post it notes that need ages of wrangling? 8-10 writing prompts that you’ve been ignoring? Some pre-emptive planning you could do for the Bike Rally this summer?

    Oh–and load up on podcasts/music and take a spare battery or 3. They had a TV on and some people were watching some awful daytime television.

    Now, whether you can be excused from a jury because not allowing you to knit in the courtroom for the duration of the trial would be an active issue– that one we could debate.

    Good luck as you participate in civic stuff!

  23. First, I think you’re screwed. Second, you could probably get away with crochet — how about a lace trim for a blanket? Third, I sing my lament about why I am the only person in the world who loves 12″ circular sock needles — and they make bamboo and nasty plastic. But I think you’re screwed.

  24. Perhaps rules have changed since I was called to Jury Duty on University Ave. (about 6 years ago), but I knit (metal needles, cotton wash cloths) while in the big waiting room on the ground floor, but not in a court room. I was dismissed after 3 days, and didn’t ever serve on a jury. How about arm knitting?

  25. A word of caution, my SIL did jury duty here in the UK and the judge took great exception to the lady who sat knitting while listening to court proceedings. He asked her how many rows she had knitted then fined her that number of pounds for treating his courtroom with contempt. He clearly didn’t get that it would aid the juror’s concentration. Are there any public lockers near the court where you can stash your knitting so you can at least knit while travelling?

    • I heard the same rationale in a courthouse here in Colorado. “They don’t want to you knit because they want you to pay attention.” So I sat thru jury selection looking like I was paying attention, but my mind was planning my next knitting project. If I’d had my knitting, I could have focused.

    • Yeah you won’t be able to knit while court is in session, even if you get your needles in. This probably isn’t the best time to mention you’re close to an ideal juror for many criminal cases, is it?

    • Perhaps in a situation like that, you could say you have ADHD and that having this will prevent you from fidgeting, humming loudly or having other nervous tic behavior that would be distracting to your fellow jurors.

    • I think actually knitting in the courtroom is a bit much, but I see no reason why you shouldn’t knit in the waiting area. My husband was doing jury duty in October (this is in the U.K. however) and said that there was one woman who knitted all day in the waiting room.

  26. My middle school history teacher used to knit on two ball-point pens (the kind with retractable points.) They were already nicely tapered. Of course, they are kind of short. I don’t think he ever finished anything but we enjoyed the fact that he was a knitter!

  27. What about spool knitting with wooden pegs.
    You could make pieces in different colours and then make a chain ( like the old fashioned paper ones ).
    This could be a very unique baby toy or decoration.

    • I bet loom knitting would make it right through! My children (who are currently grounded from their devices) are cranking through hats at a wicked pace. In MN they are always looking for warm hats to be donated.

  28. I accosted a security guard in the parking lot and asked. Was told absolutely not to my knitting needles. I probably could have gotten a crochet hook in. It made it harder to keep a straight face during three days of indecent exposure estimony.

    Good Luck

  29. I took my interchangeables so I would only lose the tips if I got stopped at security. Unscrew and toss the tips and you can continue on.. Enjoy your day. I hope you get an interesting case. Your story will be fun to read!

  30. I too got called for jury duty in Los Angeles, California & knitting was not allowed. I placed two wooden knitting needles in my hair as a bun holder then packed the yarn in my purse. Got threw just fine to make a cowl.
    Then I actually got on the jury & the security let me thru with wooden double points & sock yarn for the rest of my service. Guess they felt bad we were there for 3 weeks.
    Best of luck on getting your knitting past security.

  31. Whatever you decide, it can’t be as bad as when I tried to enter the British Library (full of rare manuscripts) with a newly bought pair of 10-inch dressmaking scissors. Luckily the guards saw the funny side!

  32. In theory IF it turned out that I was going to sneak knitting past security, I would select wooden interchangeables. I would put the knitting on the cord and fold it up like a scarf in my bag. I would put the needle tips in a pencil case with other pencils. There’s always the risk that they will confiscate the cord, too, so I wold also bring dental floss and a tiny safety pin in case I need to take my knitting off the cord and surrender it. You know. If I was the kind of person who would do such a thing.

  33. Started my day (after feeding infant) by dumping freshly pumped breast milk into puddle of dog pee that I was trying to clean up. THANK YOU for making me laugh out loud at the thought of you hiding knitting under a bush to come back for later.

  34. Jury duty here in Illinois they let my knitting in, but they freaked out about the safety scissors. I suggest 16″ circular bamboo, won’t show up on the scanner. Make baby hat(s).

  35. Aaak! I actually got picked for a murder trial last year, and they eyed my size 6 KnitPicks on a 20″ cable, but decided after consultation that they tips were the same size as the pencils they use and let me keep it all. In Dallas, no less. But not in the court room.

  36. Hi Stephanie –
    Bummer. I’ve been there. I brought my laptop and did some schoolwork. Maybe you could work on your blog or if potential book ideas? I know, not the same as knitting . . .
    Good luck, maybe you’ll be dismissed.

  37. I just finished Jury Service here in the U.K.
    I thought it was cool too, until I didn’t get chosen for a case… I have spent the last 4 days basically sitting in what is essentially- an airport departure lounge.
    However- here, although I got some funny looks and some questions about what I was knitting from security, they were happy to let my take my knitting into the jurors departure lounge… or the jurors waiting area, whatever it is. They said I wasn’t allowed to take it into court- like I’d pull my knitting out and a bag of sweets and settle in for the evidence or something in a trial!!
    You’d think I’d have got a lot done, but I didn’t.
    I didn’t get to do a case and I didn’t finish my project. All round fail.

  38. I just had jury duty as well, and the same rules are in Illinois (at least in my county). A crocheter managed to get her hook through, but I had to bring a book. Not a bad thing, but … I could’ve done a sock!

  39. Take a padded envelope and stamps. Mail your needles and knitting back to yourself if you can’t take them in.

    (I’ve heard of airline passenger knitters taking such an envelope with them to the airport–in case.)

    • Don’t count on finding a mailbox in an airport, and maybe not in a courthouse either. I wish that urban legend would get a decent burial.

      • Not an urban legend — when I accidentally left my pocketknife in my backpack while going through security a couple years ago, the employee offered mailing it to myself as an option. But that was in a fairly small airport; it might be more challenging to find a mailbox in a more populated and stringent-about-security place.

      • I used to be an airline employee and we were instructed by the airline to advise passengers with prohibited items that they could be mailed home. As for the how-to; it would depend on the airport — if the airport did not have a mailbox nearby it’s possible the onus is on the passenger having a friend seeing them off to take the parcel…or an airline employee volunteering to take the parcel to a mailbox.
        At any rate, it’s not an urban legend, it’s a directive airlines were giving out.

  40. My dad took the grandkids to the courthouse a few times to watch the proceedings (a cheap educational outing) and realized he’d brought his swiss army knife by mistake. Anticipating the seizure at the entrance he buried it in a planter out front, and dug it out when he left. (He pretended to be tying a shoelace.) I’ll bet there’s all sorts of stuff buried in those planters. (And yes, they’d be the same ones you’ll be seeing.) In a pinch you could bury your Signatures in the dirt and dig them up when you leave! 🙂
    Crap. I’m so overdue for jury duty and with Ontario’s bursting caseload I’m sure I’ll be called this year.

    • +1 to spindle spinning, which I’ve successfully gotten through security in a jury duty situation where both knitting and crocheting were explicitly ruled out. I wouldn’t do it *in* the courtroom, as it’s quite distracting, but most of my jury duty experience involved sitting around waiting to be called to the courtroom, so it still kept me busy for the tedious parts.

    • Yup, I spun on my last jury selection. Walked up and down the halls doing it while we stood in lines etc.

      Worked great.

    • …especially if you did supported spinning in your lap with a VERY tiny spindle. A little “fluff” can make many, many yards and not take up much space. When your spindle’s full, transfer the cop onto a rolled paper quill.
      …or, why not use the time to design that next heirloom baby blanket? Bring graph paper and a pencil with a big eraser.

  41. In Honor of Your Blogiverssary, whatever happened to that cross stitch kit you bought in Newfoundland years ago, maybe that could get you through the day

  42. Socks on 9” bamboo circulars. I use hiyahiya but I expect others are available. Fiddly til you get used to them but I use them nearly all the time now

  43. I was on jury duty in Toronto. I was allowed to knit in the jury pool room (where we wait) but not in the actual court room. But they didn’t take it away, I was just not allowed to knit, even while sitting at the back of the room, after being excused from being on the jury. So I suggest you take something you’re not too attached to, and give it a go.

    • Mechanical pencils are about a size 10.5 (American). I did my first piece of knitting on them, because I got the idea in the middle of the night and didn’t have any other form of needle.

  44. I had jury duty last week and knitting needles (all kinds even wood) were out as was crochet hooks and my nail file. nothing was allowed. I was there for 5 hours and ran the battery down on my laptop but fortunately had a back up paperback in my purse. you might have some luck with the pencils and yarn but it will depend on the security people. I was told that yarn could be used to choke people. yeah, 67 year old great grandma with yarn is a danger! well maybe! 🙂

  45. What I would now like to know is how many people are being killed with a garrote during jury duty? The upshot of this is if they try to take away the knitting and you go crazy you will very likely be excused from duty. You’ll possibly also be arrested. There’s always a downside.

    I feel like I got my knitting through the detectors the last time I was called. Perhaps jury duty murders by knitting needle/garrotes made of “sewing things” are down in the the states?

    • We recently watched an episode of Corner Gas, called ‘Dog River Vice’ (season three) in which we saw just how dangerous knitting can be. My husband and I got quite a kick out of it. I was also trying to figure out what Emma was making: a blue and white striped scarf attached to an afghan? Hm…

  46. My knitting friend had jury duty and she watched her bag go through the xray machine. Her wooden needles did not show up at all just her knitting.

    She go thru with no problem.

  47. I got selected for jury duty in Toronto approximately 12 years ago – knitted for 3 days straight in the jury waiting room! Didn’t get picked for a trial thank goodness.
    Went to family court 10 years ago with a client – knitted in the court room – but I couldn’t chew gum – go figure!

  48. If you try to bring in some needles and get caught, for heavens sake, pull the needles out and keep the yarn. But maybe this is the time to try arm or finger knitting? They arent going to chop off your arms… but i like the idea of a small wooden circular in your pocket.

    Good luck!

  49. I was up for jury duty last year and brought bamboo circulars (something like size 6) and some yarn to make a cowl. I was prepared to either run them to my car or abandon them if absolutely required. The only thing the x-ray tech got concerned about turned out to be my nippers; once he identified what they were, he noted they were for the knitting and sent me on my way. Interesting as I live not far from DC where all things security are heightened.

  50. How odd. I’m in Ottawa, 4 hours north of you, and I’ve been called for jury duty twice now. (Neither time was I picked, thankfully, but it’s a long day or two while they choose the right people.) Both times, I brought knitting, a book and a few snacks.

    No one said anything, so I finished the first sock, then started on the second. I wasn’t even the only one with knitting needles (metal 2.25 mm that were my grandmother’s): one of the other potential jurors was working on baby clothes, and another was crocheting squares for an afghan.

    Since we had to haul all our stuff from the holding room to the courtroom several times during the day, I wished I’d brought a backpack to stuff my coat in, as well as my sweater. Maybe if I’d been picked for the jury, there would have been rules about knitting and needles?

    I love the rainbow socks!

    I’m making hats for next year’s Women’s March for friends who went this year. Hat number one is on the needles, and I think I’ve been asked to make 5. 🙂

  51. My mental back up plan whenever I fly would involve pens and erasers from the gift shop. Hoping it never happens!

    I don’t personally know how, but isn’t there finger knitting, kind of like arm knitting, only smaller?

  52. I went in for jury duty in Western Massachusetts last Thursday and took wooden circular needles and some worsted weight yarn, so I could do a PussyHat for Saturday. No one cared, but neither did they look very hard. Sadly, the yarn I chose in poor light turned out to be purple, not any kind of pink, and so I made friends with a charming college student, 35 or so years my junior and had a great time! He also affirmed my feelings about the quality of youth today!

    By the way, brilliant idea to point us toward your charity site on the blogiversary! I got to feel happy about showing some small appreciation for the pleasure you have given me since I discovered your site 10-11 years ago.

  53. Friends of mine here in the US have done a few things with success:
    1) put a bunch of pencils in the bottom of their bag and mix the wooden DPNs in with them
    2) put the wooden DPNs in the pen/pencil slots of their bag

    Good luck!

  54. Save yourself the headache and the hassle. Bring a book. If you’ve never been called for jury duty, think of it as a chance to learn and observe the judicial process. And yes, you will be doing your civic duty and being fully present while doing so.

    • I can’t imagine it would be the jury duty that would be a bore; it’s the waiting in the potential jurors’ room that is totally boring. Just sitting there, for hour after hour.

    • There is no reason to be present for hours of daytime tv. The part where they explain the process takes 10 minutes at best and was quite interesting. Then it was two hours of boredom until we were let go for the day. Thank goodness.

  55. What if you took chopsticks – smooth, wooden ones (sandpaper them smooth), AND a small manual pencil sharpener, like the little kind we used to use in school? About the size of a thimble. And of course yarn. THEN you can take in the allowed chopsticks and then sharpen them to knit. Sharpen them in the ladies room so that no one see you and thinks you’re sharpening to lunge at and stab someone. I should think this would work in a pinch!

  56. The jury duty FAQ suggests: “If you have any questions, you may contact the court office to which you have been summoned.” https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/jury/general_jury_duty_info.php

    Despite the possible hardship, thank you for participating in jury duty!

    I attended a court session in Minnesota nearly 10 years ago. My plastic needles and project in progress were fine but the bailiff was appalled at my knitting (in the back, behind a solid barrier, quietly). Apparently very formal manners are expected at court.

  57. I don’t know if Canada is more relaxed, but I tried to bring knitting into a county courthouse this summer, and was told no go. I did hoof it back to the car, and was only a little late. But no one warned me at all. I would say don’t risk it. Come prepared to meditate.

  58. When I went last year I took one of my crocheting projects. I did see a lady knitting with pens and wishesd I had thought I’d thought of that! 🙂

  59. I’m pretty sure they’ll have a pencil sharpener at the court house. Denise interchangeables are all plastic and look very innocuous. Perhaps you could borrow some if you don’t own any.

  60. So although I have a feeling that Canadian security people might be more savy about knitting supplies than some others, I always bring interchangeable needles and separate the tips from the cord and/or project. I put the tips in with pencils and pens which I think another commentator suggested doing with dpns. Knitters can be quite sneaky when pushed!

  61. oh this brings back the memories. I had been called for jury duty and thinking that metal needles might be a problem I changed to wooden circulars. They wouldn’t let me through security. I looked at them and very calmly said that I was much more dangerous without my knitting than with it. they said no. I then told them I have flown all over
    America with my knitting and never have they questioned it. They said no. so I think next time i will try the wooden knit picks interchangeable taken apart like one other reader said because i can tell u it was the worst kind of torture to have to sit through 5 movies without something to do.

  62. I work in a job where I have to testify in court from time to time. I’m in CA, but I doubt the rules regarding what’s allowed into the courthouse vary greatly between the USA and Canada. The jury room is after security, not before. Each courthouse is different, and some are more lax than others, but I would not bring my knitting if I were you, unless I could stash it in my car if I got stopped at security. I know, I know, it will make for a very long and tedious day, but your knitting needles (even wooden ones) most likely will not be allowed in. In CA, a crochet hook probably wouldn’t make it either, but it might depend on which county you are in and how much trouble that courthouse has had in the past with violent people. Bring a book, a good one, one that will distract you the most. And remember – delayed gratification is a good thing – just think of how much more you will enjoy your knitting when you can finally do it after your jury duty is done.

    That, and pray you don’t get on a jury for a long trial. Not knitting for ~ 8 hours you can probably handle. Not knitting for 40 hours/week for 2 months? Er… no.

  63. One ball of yarn (one that you don’t mind having taken from you just in case), two unsharpeneded pencils. (they don’t need to be sharpened to knit with, and points are weapony). Do your one row handspun scarf pattern so there’s no pattern to lose either, but it’s interesting enough to chug along on.

  64. The security folks here have no leeway in this rule–at the risk of their job. In my Georgia (USA) county courthouse, not even sewing needles are allowed, nail clippers, or scissors. So no cross stitch, knitting or crocheting. The Superior Court judges set the security standards, and one goes through security for any business in the building. Even the employees go through the screening and have the same limits. I’d like to work for the county, but the thought of no needlework at all all day–I’m not even going to apply. I do need to, politely, write the judge to see about getting the rules changed though.

    • I live in Gwinnett! I took #2 pencils and cotton yarn, and knit, frogged and re-knit the same dishcloth in different patterns all day, while waiting in the jury pool room.
      I didn’t care if I ended up with anything useful, just needed to keep my hands occupied. I used my smartphone to look up different patterns for variety.

  65. I don’t know how it is in Canadian jury duty, but Guatemalan airport security is serious. They took away my crochet hook (okay, it was small, and therefore pretty pointy), my scissors (really? they’re four inches long with rounded tips), the pins from my emergency sewing kit (oh, come ON!), and the itty-bitty scissors from same (that’s just ridiculous. ONE-INCH BLADES, people.) They missed the seven-inch wooden skewer I use to pin up my hair, though.

    • I remember watching “24” with Kiefer Sutherland years ago and he broke a credit card in half and used it to cut someone on a plane. I always think of that as I go through security at the airport. The 2″ pocket knife they confiscated from me one time couldn’t have done any more damage than that credit card.

      • I had inadvertently left a small, single blade, penknife, probably no more than 3″ in my handbag on a recent trip through our local (Spanish) airport. After, literally, ripping my bag apart we found it and I was more than happy to leave it with security for disposal. However, I was told it was OK to fly with it as it was so small. They took my 8″ circulars though.

  66. I would simply call the courtroom security office and ask for their advice. They can be very amenable (at least they are here in Australia), and you will know what to expect.

  67. Finally, the one time Brooklyn, NY is more progressive! I have been able to take my knitting and my kindle so I could both knit and read. I’m about to be called again, and knowing that I can knit is helpful. It also helps that I tell them I have anxiety and knitting calms me. Good luck!

  68. Even if you manage to get something through the metal detector (which means you could knit while they wait to call you into the jury room), you won’t be able to knit even through jury selection. They will shut you down by taking your things, potentially kick you out (but you’ll have to come back when they call you again), or they could cite you in contempt (depending on the mood of the judge).

    Call the courtroom, find out if you can bring wood needles, or plastic ones, or a crochet hook, although I doubt they will let you bring it in. That’s the one thing I hated the most about my jury duty was that I couldn’t knit… and I watch television, or am watching tutorials in data science, when I knit, so there’s no reason I couldn’t watch a trial and still grab all the important details.

  69. My husband is a circuit judge in the states and he allowed knitting in his courtroom for many years until the lawyers petitioned all the judges to not allow it anymore because the clicking and movement was distracting. So sorry as I’m a knitter too and know just how you feel. I can concentrate much better with knitting in my hands.

  70. Yikes! My son got married at the courthouse recently. The security guard put my knitting behind her and returned it when I left. Good luck. Great suggestions.

  71. Loved reading all these comments. We knitters are a creative and devious bunch when pressed.

    That Must Stash yarn is the perfect antidote to winter.

    For summer knitting I’m wishing for yarn that matches the colors of Canada’s newly chosen national bird, the gray jay. Icy cool.

  72. I started traveling with a self-addressed envelope after 9/11. If I had “contraband” that wouldn’t make it past the inspectors, I could dump it into the envelope and mail it to myself.

  73. I wonder what they would do if someone showed up with a warped loom, like a Cricket? I bet they would tell that story for years.

  74. Been there. It’s the needles not the yarn that spooks them. Basically, they don’t want you bringing in anything someone may choose to liberate as a weapon.
    FYI…BIC Roundstic ballpoint pens are a perfect US8. Take a black one and a blue one with you.
    Use them while you are there but *don’t leave your knitting on them.*
    (I’ve never seen pencils in the courthouse-and any pens are on leashes-almost everyone is working off a digital device)
    Put your knitting on waste yarn. It tends to be thought of as an accessory as you move through the checkpoints.
    The other option is to knit from a sock blank, then the yarn isn’t a threat.
    Plastic needles don’t show up like the metal or wood ones on the scanners. They still do physical searches of bags though-especially if you have a big tote.
    Sometimes the Court Clerk can issue a waiver for your knitting. You would need to ask in advance and have a letter to carry with you.
    The smaller the needles, the better the chance of approval..baby sox from a sock blank? 6 inch circs? Can you knit baby sox from crochet hook handles?
    The other option is use the time to sort through Ravelry, your favd and saved patterns. Plot out your queue for your spreadsheet.

    • I was waiting for someone to come up with this. It’s not the knitters they’re worried about. It’s the prisoners who are brought through the same areas and who will pick up anything that is dropped or unattended. I have several friends who are prison guards, and you wouldn’t believe some of the things prisoners can make weapons out of. They can make weapons out of paper mache, or sharpened toothbrushes. Just imagine what they could do with a bamboo dpn! And don’t even ask what the women’s prison inmates made out of soap. If only they could learn to use that ingenuity for good purposes.

      • Yes! I empathize and sympathize about not being able to practice our peaceful craft, on planes, in public buildings, and in psych hospitals, BUT while we won’t hurt others with our tools other people are creative in finding ways to hurt themselves or others. Please remember, folks, a sad fact is that there are those who are creative in non life affirming ways. Sad, yes. Anit leads those of us who are responsible for enforcing safety (used to work in a psych unit) to be extra-careful and seem silly sometimes.

  75. I’m not sure about the knitting, unless you’re doing arm knitting or finger knitting. Depends on how much starch the guards used on the underpants they wear that day.

    Do bring a book (or two). This will be the perfect occasion to get through that scholarly tome you’ve always meant to read. Maybe something on Jack the Ripper, Lucretia Borgia, or Lizzie Borden…;-)!

  76. Having read all the posts, I have to ideas that haven’t been mentioned – take a bunch of toothpicks and spend the day working on tiny things for the next advent calendar or take a huge amount of bulky yarn and knit one of those blankets using your arms as needles! The idea I like best is to spend the day working on your next book – is there one in the works and when can we expect it to be out?

  77. I can’t take my knitting at all. No crochet, either. Cross-stitch is okay, as long as I don’t take scissors. (Or nail-clippers.)
    Fortunately, I haven’t had to go in the last couple of years – I can get on the computer the night before and they tell me if I need to show up.

  78. Mechanical pencils so you don’t mess up your yarn, Also just in case you do need to put it outside use a clear zip lock bag , put a note in it that explains what it is and maybe the person who thinks about taking it won’t be a knitting thief.

    • oh shoot, I’m on a flight tomorrow, I better check TSA right now. I have sock and needles packed in my carry-on right now

      • TSA specifically allows knitting needles, wood or plastic are preferred. I fly with mine all the time. That being said, the person on duty at the gate has the final say, so be extra nice to them. 🙂

  79. I almost finished a baby sweater in 5 hours with chunky yarn and 2 HB pencils on a KLM flight. They were new pencils, and I sharpened them until just before the graphite showed, then a light sanding.

  80. I oversee jury service in the court I work in. The needles that cause the least amount of agitation are wooden circulars. If your courts are anything like ours, you need your knitting because you could be there for a bit.

  81. Arm or finger knit a scarf & toss it into your Christmas gift collection for one of the wee people in your life. Simple as that. 😉

  82. Sorry, no time to read the 100 replies to your post, so please pardon me if this has been said previously.

    Recognizing that Canada is entirely different and your mileage may vary:

    I discovered that while attorneys, plaintiffs, etc. were not allowed knitting (I went to support my friend during divorce proceedings, and had to walk back to the car to leave my knitting there, only to discover that I had a pair of folding scissors in my purse – and was lucky enough to have a similarly sympathetic security person who held them for me), JURORS could have knitting! When I was called for jury duty after the “support” incident, I was allowed to have knitting. You might want to give them a quick call, or see if they have anything listed on a website for jury duty.

    That said, crochet hooks are often considered more benign than knitting needles, so perhaps a crochet project.

    If you cannot determine in advance whether your knitting will be allowed, I definitely support your idea to bring yarn and needles that are not important to you, and the needles should definitely be wooden.

    Baby things might get a sympathetic security person (especially when you can tell them that you’re knitting for your first grandbaby-to-be). Be sure to have the pattern along so they can see the beautiful object you are knitting! Otherwise something so dull and ordinary that no thought would be given to (possible) ulterior motives – something like a sock or mitten.

  83. Meg Swansen, when going to Europe a looong time ago knew she HAD to knit and sharpened the ends of some long paint brushes and they made it through. She also got chopsticks through …in her hair!! mary in Cincinnati

  84. The courthouse in my old city had a limited number of lockers available for things that weren’t allowed past security– we couldn’t even bring cell phones in, and lots of people took the bus there. This was the case even after a horrible shooting, so perhaps you will have lockers available as well?

  85. I just had jury selection duty earlier this week. Plain vanilla sock on wooden needles (knitpicks) buried in my purse and there was no problem! Good luck! I have felt your fear

  86. You have my sympathy. When I have to go to the Social Security office in person, to deal with things concerning my adult autistic son’s disability payments, I’m not allowed to take my knitting, even on wooden needles. They’re pretty paranoid. For a long time they didn’t allow phones, any electronics (I read and knit all the time with my kindle), and the wait is sometimes well over an hour because it’s first come, first served. At least now I can take my kindle, but I do as much as I can online or over the phone. I guess that’s part of their intent…

  87. I live in Chicago … no problem bringing in knitting if you are going on jury duty (can’t knit in the courtroom). We’re able to knit while waiting, and in the jury room while deliberating. I brought bamboo needles with colorful yarn for baby booties. Very unthreatening and a very productive day.

  88. Our courthouse has a sign that says “no guns, no knives, no knitting needles”, and it’s written on all jury summons notices as well. Seriously. Nothing about nunchucks, throwing stars, flamethrowers, grenades, or any other weapons. I wish I knew what led to this “needles as weapons” ban. When I first called to question this, I was told that plastic crochet hooks were allowed, but no knitting needles, regardless of material. They do not seem to realize that I am far more dangerous without them.

      • Please bear in mind that this is at a COURTHOUSE. It’s not about “men who see ALL tools as ‘weapons.'” It’s about keeping people safe from criminals. As a poster mentioned above, inmates often make weapons out of all sorts of things the average person would find harmless.

  89. I realized how much of a Knitter with a capital K I have become when I internally freaked over the sentence, “There are no knitting needles allowed in the courthouse.” and almost couldn’t read further. My thoughts are with you. So good lord yes, pencils and yarn if ya gotta. Bang out some dishclothes. Or how about soakers for the Megbaby?

  90. When I had to be in court for divorce proceedings (which are horrible enough if you didn’t want it) in Michigan none of my knitting needles – metal, plastic, or wood were not allowed. Great way to make a most difficult time even harder.

    And our local ER won’t allow any needles in either. Any where else in the hospital they are ok. A doctor was knifed which is when they put in the metal detectors.

  91. I served as a juror on a nine month-long trial in DC’s federal court. Thank goodness knitting was allowed, though not in the court room. There were two other knitters on the jury. One taught a few people to knit while we were there, and the other was inspired to take it back up after watching us. It was really a part of the bonding experience of the entire jury to watch and talk about our knitting. We deliberated for about six weeks, which was incredibly stressful and tedious. I wouldn’t have survived that without my knitting–and my entire family got new Christmas stockings. 🙂

  92. I did jury duty selection last year, in Toronto. Yes, it’s past security. As far as I know, knitting needles are not specifically forbidden, it is a judgement call by the security guard. Because of the metal detector, wooden or plastic needles are less likely to come to the attention of the guard. I bought wooden needles specifically for this purpose (I always use metal so didn’t have any). I was able to successfully bring my knitting in and knit for most of the day. I was asked to put my knitting away at one point, but it was only briefly and it could remain safely in my bag. I was not selected for the jury so I can’t comment past the selection process. Another thing, even if you are forced to give up the needles, you can save the yarn by pulling the needles out of the project.

  93. After a couple of hours without knitting, you’ll look too crazy to be a juror.
    My parents have both been called up but neither got chosen.

  94. i don’t know if Stephanie will get through 145 replies tonight but this message will be dust after the Court convenes tomorrow morning, so read it ce soir Steph must, or at least read it before she gets to the courthouse tomorrow am.

    any self-employed person can normally be excused from jury duty.

    hello! i’m going to repeat in caps, in the off chance it might be more visible among 145 other replies.

    ANY SELF-EMPLOYED PERSON CAN NORMALLY BE EXCUSED FROM JURY DUTY !!

    the way it works in quebec is, the self-employed person attends in court, at the hour & place as summoned. The first thing the judge will do, after he or she arrives, is ask for juror candidates who believe they have good reason not to serve. This is the moment when Steph can speak up.

    in my case, i was self-empoyed & the trial was a very famous one, a trial that everyone knew was going to last for several weeks. If i had had to stop work for more than a month, i would have lost all my clients. The judge let me off immediately.

    as i recall, fewer than 10 words were uttered. I said i was self-employed. The judge said You’re self-employed? Dismissed!

    just to exchange those 9 words, i had to sit in the courtroom almost all day, along with the other juror candidates. My request to be dismissed was heard around 2 pm, after lunch.

    Steph’s case will presumably be a smaller trial – there were more than 1,000 of us summonsed for that particular jury trial & the selection hearings continued for 3 entire days after i was dismissed. But still, even if planning to request to bail because one is self-employed, one should probably be prepared to sit at least all morning in court, w.i.t.h.o.u.t. a.n.y. k.n.i.t.t.i.n.g.

    the wheels of justice grind slowly.

  95. I’ve been reading your blog for years and have never commented! I was going to anyway to say that this has been a really frustrating day with a mad work deadline, another impossible project, and–while working on my family’s application for our cheap and pathetic health insurance (I am American), I realized that I have LOST my daughter’s social security card (necessary document). She’s only been around for 18 months and I haven’t memorized her number yet. I came to the blog to reward myself after completing the last-minute work project and was overjoyed to see a new entry I could read to bring my blood pressure down.

    Then I saw your question, and I would have commented just to answer that: As a currently very disgruntled American, my vote is to bring some hot pink yarn with your wooden needles and knit yourself a pussy hat, made famous in our recent women’s march. If you’re going to be a menace to society, you might as well make a political statement while doing it!

    Cheers!

  96. Neither knitting nor crochet was allowed in my local court room. But I was able to bring a drop spindle and some hand sewing no problem.

  97. I was “busted” with 3.25mm knitting needles while serving jury in Ventura California. Apparently these bamboo bad boys are conceiled weapons. No joke. I argued with multiple security guards to no avail. The thought that I could use them to stab someone. Unbelievable!

  98. Quickly befriend a lawyer outside the building. I bring knitting needles to the courthouse on a regular basis, since I am able to bypass security with my attorney pass.

    • Not in my county, in a mid-Atlantic USA state! My husband is an attorney in an office across the street from the courthouse and still must go through security every time. I think that’s a good thing.

      • It’s a giant waste of time for the attorneys. One of our small branch office courts tried that and after a week there was attorney rioting. (Which looks like polite, but increasingly strongly worded voicemails to the court…) If people who regularly go to court several times a week are made to waste time in lines for no reason, it is purely ridiculous. Wasting 2-3 hours total per week just requires weekend work to catch up with no increase in safety.

  99. The nylon cord used in Weed Whackers is 2 or 2.25 mm. If you cut it short enough to knit a sock leg, it wouldn’t be long enough to be considered a garrote.

  100. I was really stressed out to be in the same situation a couple of years ago here in Portland, Oregon. So, I called security ahead of time to see if I could prearrange bringing some knitting in to jury duty. I agreed to bring my knitting on a circular bamboo needle and got the name of the person to report to when I arrived at security. They let me in no problem. And this was the same courthouse that took my tiny Swiss Army knife off of my key chain a couple of years before that.

    If you decide to try taking your knitting not knowing what will happen, just take some that you would like to work on, but use needles you could live without. If they won’t let you take it in, just take it off the needles. You’ll be out a set of needles, but you can save your lovely yarn. Good luck!

  101. I’m blaming you, Stephanie. After reading your blog and measuring mechanical pencils (US size 10.5) and pens (somewhere between 10.5 and 11, US) I decided that I needed to give to The Ride. It’s sort of a thank you and a being part of the world. Then I had to buy the Resistance is not futile mittens, because the proceeds go to many good causes (including Flint Kids, and I’m from Michigan) and then finally purchase, the Sight is Life pattern book, because the world needs more givers. I’m blaming you!

    • Plus you can make entire garments in, what, 30 minutes or less??! And really, they cannot confiscate your arms no matter what you’re planning to do with them…

    • Arm knitting was my first thought. I was suprised it wasn’t mentioned earlier in the replies. And BONUS, you might just look crazy enough to not get chosen to be on the jury 🙂

  102. I think we are missing the bigger question: why in the world don’t we teach more people to knit rather than do the things that make them go to the courthouse? Then we would not have to worry as much about things like if something is allowed or not, plus everyone would see the benefits (decreased crime, increased sense of public well-being, and it would definitely be a good response to global warming). We could start an international group who is given names by police officers of individuals who are on the verge of making bad decisions, and then take them soft & beautiful yarn (or the stainless stuff if that works for them) and teach them to knit. No one has every killed someone while knitting. Knitting teaches patience (not initially, but later) and persistence and encourages planning – and can give a great deal of joy (after the whole frustration thing). Joyful people don’t kill people.

  103. The attorney general of Ontario website says that jurors are responsible for their own meals. Assuming that this is also true for potential jurors, perhaps one could decide to have fruit kabobs for lunch. A package of 2.25 mm bamboo double pointed needles might be lying around just waiting for double duty.

  104. I was called for jury duty last year, in Santa Clara Count (California). The instructions were to bring NOTHING. No knitting. No reading materials. No electronics. The explanation was that they want your undivided attention at all times so they don’t risk having to repeat anything. IN REAL LIFE.

  105. I just got impanelled. I have to call every Friday for the next three months to see if my jury group has been called up. Chances are I’ll have to show up at least once for jury selection. No knitting needles allowed. I just hope I’m not picked for any trial longer than a day.

  106. You have my sympathy! As someone who cannot sit still unless I have a book or knitting in my hands…I started knitting at 4-1/2 and have not yet stopped! (Now 65!!)
    I had a difficult time while on jury duty last year. I truly believe I focus better with something in my hands, even a cold cup of coffee! Jury duty was difficult.
    Best wishes to you!

  107. My daughter was slated for jury duty in Wayne County, Michigan. No cell phones, iPads, laptops, headphones, needles, and a whole lot of other banned items. Basically she could sit and read. Fortunately, she did not have to go. And she is not a knitter, but she does love her audio books.

  108. I did jury duty in the University Ave Courthouse last year, and was definitely allowed to bring my knitting in. I got chosen for a trial, and while I wasn’t allowed to knit in the jury box, I was allowed to knit in the deliberation room, and I knit a whole sweater while we deliberated. (31 hours!)
    Metal needles to boot– they were totally cool with it.

  109. I was called for jury duty in the USA last winter, and had emptied my purse of my knitting beforehand (stuck an e-reader in there for the breaks). When walking in, my purse was hung up in the metal detector. The lady frowned at the image on the screen, scrolled, frowned again, scrolled, frowned, and FINALLY let it go through without a word.

    It wasn’t until later, when I was digging my calendar out of my purse to check for conflicts of the trial dates, that I figured out why. My 2-year-old had dropped a single double-pointed needle into my purse, and I hadn’t found it before going into the courthouse.

  110. Been on Jury Duty twice in Toronto (University Ave. courthouse). Knit both times. No problems. Made an entire pair of sock yarn mittens. Knitting is allowed in the jury pool room, but not in the courtrooms. You will spend most of your time in the pool room. Bamboo needles are always a safer bet to get through any x-ray, as metal and even plastic needles will show up on an x ray whereas wood will not. Though a word to the wise – bring snacks and coffee, because the coffee there is truly terrible!!!

  111. Wooden needles and a project small enough to fit in a pocket and slip on through the metal detectors. That’s how I got through 6 weeks of jury duty.

  112. My dear, sweet people. My dear, innocent people. My dear, lovely people who have not served jail or prison time, or been a friend or relative of someone who has. Many security rules are the result of things that happened IN REAL LIFE. I am glad to hear you would not have intent of personally doing harm with your knitting tools or supplies. That might not be the case with everyone in the courtroom or the inmates they have contact with. You yourself might not be on the lookout for supplies and materials to improvise weapons or replicas, or interested in routing such supplies or materials to someone in the prison or jail, but others in the courtroom might be. What many of you are suggesting amounts to concealing contraband materials to get them through a security checkpoint. Many of you acknowledge that the materials in question would be dangerous in the hands of someone who intended harm or disruption. Please at least be honest about what you’re bringing into the room — the folks that are managing the security risks deserve to know at least that much.

  113. Wait. You spin, right? I know it’s not the same, but a drop spindle and some roving might allieviate the need to do something with your hands. There isn’t a “no spinning” rule, is there?

  114. I had Chicago jury duty last June, with my 45 minute metro ride, no knitting said the web site so I called. If I can fly with them why not jury duty? Big NO. Dreaded day arrived so I asked the bailiff and he said he would ask the judge as sometimes they will give the ok. Not this one, no knitting says my female judge. To make matters worse I was chosen to be on a 5 day trial. It turned out to be interesting but not fun because of no knitting. Good luck maybe Toronto bailiffs are more understanding than Chicago.

  115. I am blessed for civic duty/cursed having to juggle work schedule…..and get called every two years: My Superior Court in a California county allows wooden needles, no metal. And double darn the time I only had metal, even the back-up project in car was on metal. So I have learned: wooden, and iPad to keep me amused.

  116. What about finger weaving or kumihimo braiding? Do you have the stuff for that? If not, I go for barely sharpened pencils or ball point pens. I also like the loom knitting idea I saw further up. But again requires that you already have the equipment

    Maybe chart out some lace design work or something. Not knitting but preparation for knitting.

  117. A few years ago, I put a hat on a 16″ circular (not long enough to use as a garrote) with blunt, wood tips in the bottom of my bag and took it through courthouse security. The only push back I got was from another knitter in the jury pool waiting room who had not brought her work. She was seething when she told me knitting wasn’t allowed. I told her my blunt needles were less dangerous than the sharpened pencil in her hand. I thought she might stab me with the pencil.

  118. The first time I flew after 9/11, before knitting needles were allowed on planes, I brought some embroidery floss in several colors and resurrected my middle school friendship bracelet (i.e. macrame) skills. Not that I particularly wanted any bracelets, but it did keep my hands busy and required nothing sharp.

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  120. The pencils work for sure… I know someone that used the strategy of wooden dpns, but not IN the project. A couple in a pencil case, one in her wallet, another in her hair… I took a jury day to do some real crochet learning. Took in a book and a hook and felt like I made good use of my time.

  121. When I was called for jury duty in Melbourne, Australia, I took my sock in progress on bamboo DPNs. They were fine with it but they weren’t fine with the 1.75mm metal crochet hook that I use for picking up stitches. I had to leave that at the security entrance and collect it on the way out at the end of the day.

    I agree with the suggestions of crocheting or knitting a cotton washcloth.

    Good luck!

  122. I purchased some 9″ bamboo circulars online for a sock project, and while I hated the fiddliness of 9″ circs,I hate being without knitting more.
    In the California, security will not hold stuff for you. You either dump it in a trash or sharps container or take it back to your car or you don’t go in. Sucks.
    Next time I have to go to court, I’m going to try tossing the bracelet sized circulars into a makeup bag and a small skein of yarn in a tissue holder and see what’s what!

  123. Hi Steph I completed my jury duty in November, my first time also. There was A LOT of hanging around ( just saying). I asked the security on the main courthouse door about knitting needles. One said yeas another said no. So ask and see. Take them with you you can always leave them on security if you can’t take them in with you. There is jury area with cafe in ours here where you do the waiting if not chosen. If you can take your needles in you can leave them in this area if you are chosen for a jury. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  124. How about taking a little plastic 3d printed drop spindle – available on Etsy – and a bag of lovely fibre. There is nothing dangerous about a bagful of fluff!

  125. I can’t help thinking of the women knitting under the guillotine. Perhaps it’s been banned in court since in case you are too scary if the defendant catches sight of a “tricoteuse”? It makes as much sense as most of the explanations from security do.

  126. Here in the US, they were totally fine with my bamboo knitting needles, but flipped out over my ceramic coffee cup. Little did they know I was way more “dangerous” without my coffee cup than I would have been without my needles!

  127. I was in court myself this week (family court). My 3.5 bamboo DPNs made it past security, no trouble, but when I started knitting in the waiting room they asked to hold it for me. They were apologetic and nice, but immovable.

    Didn’t someone make paper needles by winding paper around a needle and setting them with PVA?

    I don’t think they will allow anything though. They weren’t even interesting in my knitting needles. (This is probably a good thing, as I might have considered strangling my ex with the yarn, were I given to violence) can you call and speak to security? They might be able to advise on what may be permitted. Or take a stamped addressed packet and post it back to yourself. I did that from an airport once.

  128. After 9/11 when knitting needles were not allowed on airplanes, I flew to Winnipeg and used sharpened pencils and Aran yarn and made a cabled scarf. The flight crew was impressed and stopped by my seat to talk and admire. Good luck. And if you look prim enough you probably won’t be selected!

  129. I just got a summons for Jury duty too and am thinking about a crochet hook. Mine doesn’t say that those aren’t allowed

  130. Not true!! I knit a whole sock on jury duty in Toronto, the university ave. court , last year. No one at security ever questioned it. Take your knitting and enjoy. They also have free wifi so watch a show while you’re knitting!! It’s a lot of dull waiting, but I had a great 3 days
    Enjoy

  131. We are able to knit during the selection process in North dakota, but not if you are actually selected. So in the d ay long wait, i happily knit. When the baliff asked what i was making, i realized the irony. “A ski mask” i said sheepishly. I held up the black and white nacho libre mask and smiled. She burst out laughing. It was wonderful. ( yes, trial was for theft).

  132. I worked in a jail for four years, where I often had to sneak in morning snacks. My recommendation – wooden DPNs hidden in your bra, just below your boobs. Obviously, that means you won’t be able to knit on the subway, or leave and come back, but they will get in and no one will be the wiser. That was my go-to spot for sneaking in a cheese-stick.

    Also, if you’re wearing a long shirt (that would cover the top of your back pockets) you can put them in your back pocket, as close to the middle of your bum as possible. Essentially you can hide them anywhere that would be considered sexual harassment if they patted you down in that area.

  133. Bamboo needles, plastic needles both circular should make it through security without a problem. I am a state judge in the US and if a knitter was on a jury panel in the states I’d let them have their knitting

  134. I had jury duty earlier this month. got halfway through the day and realized that in my purse I was carrying a small pocket knife AND a small, very sharp box cutter, neither of which were found by the very nice guard at the door. (I’m a Girl Scout – what can i say?) My car keys and the underwire in my bra drove the metal detector nuts, but not the things that could actually be used as weapons!

    I mentioned it to the guard the next day, after I had left both items at home, and he said, “Yeah, but you don’t look like much of a threat.”

    • I taught myself to do this a few years ago – it took a while but was worth it. I sit at a table with the book open in front of me, and usually have to weight the pages down with something – sometimes my phone, but usually a pebble that I have carefully selected for this purpose. My usual (non knitting) reading is very fast, so I actually like the fact that this slower way of reading is more appropriate for some material. I can also only do very plain knitting while reading. Try it!

  135. Loom knitting might look less dangerous. You could use a plastic yarn needle to replace the scary looking “dental pick” used to flick the yarn over the pegs. How about finger knitting? You could finger-knit a jump rope for Luis! Keep us posted!

  136. A day of sitting without knitting. The horror.
    I’d bring a drop spindle and spin. That should get through security. Especially a little Turkish spindle. It looks more like a toy than a tool.

  137. I can fully commiserate. My husband has had some health issues lately and every time he ends up in the emergency room, the very nice (but firm) security guard turns me and my knitting away (or tells me he can dispose of the knitting). I have cried every time, always hoping someone will realize what a ridiculous rule it is and that *this time* they will have seen the light. Ugh.

    I hope you are able to take something non-threatening. I was thinking maybe mittens on bamboo needles?

    • Talk to the nurses; if they don’t care and it’s just a matter of getting past the security guard, then use interchangeable needles and slip the ends in with your pencils; the knitting on a cord can be disguised as a scarf. You might also write to the hospital management and see whether the rules can be changed.

  138. I know exactly how you feel. The last time I went for jury duty, I was not allowed to bring my knitting. I even asked the security guard about it, pointing out that knitting needles are allowed on airplanes. The guard politely pointed out that the airplane does not have a basement full of potentially violent criminals. The security measure is there not because they are afraid of what a knitter might do, but what some maniac might do to someone else if they get hold of something pointy. Once I realized that the rule was there for my safety, I put my knitting bag in the car & grabbed the book I brought as a back up.

  139. What about 9 inch circular sock needles–bamboo? They may have a metal connector–not sure. But they look pretty harmless. I know they are not your preferred sock method but probably easier to manipulate than pencils. Good luck

  140. When I had jury duty in California, you had to go through security just to enter the building, and knitting needles were strictly forbidden. Now that I’m in Oregon, the jury waiting room is outside security, so you only have to abandon your knitting when you go from the waiting room to the courtroom. Still no knitting allowed past security. It’s to prevent a criminal from grabbing your needles and trying to use them as a weapon. Just think of it as a sacrifice you’re making in the name of civic responsibility.

    (PS – The security thingie says I should click on the music note. There is no music note in the choices. The closest is a treble clef sign, which is NOT a music note. Geek objects!)

  141. I was thinking bring something like 4-5 chopsticks, and make “jury duty hats” or something. Then give them away as gifts. There’s a certain novelty to it, an extra special spice in addition to the hat being hand-made. I know my family would find it hilarious and awesome to receive not only a hand-knit hat, but a hat knit with chopsticks because jury duty.

  142. Eyeliner in the pencil sharpener…hahahahahaha! Thanks for the laugh Sam, now go buy your Mom a new sharpener, silly girl. ;o)

  143. When I first read that you had jury duty, I thought, “fabulous! It’s like a knitting retreat, but with criminal intrigue instead of good food!” But then, when you stated that you could not bring knitting, it sounded instead like a special damnation in Dante’s hell just for knitters. Good luck. I think you should wear as much hand knit stuff as possible, and ask to be excused from jury duty because you will be mentally unfit if you cannot knit (proof: see all my knitting? judge, I could knit you a nice pair of socks before the verdict!) You’ll either get out of hell, or they’ll give you a special dispensation to bring in your needles.

  144. I talked to the folks at Security the last time I was called (in Detroit) – no needles of any persuasion, not even a crochet hook. Turns out they also wouldn’t let the YARN past security because … you know… it could be dangerous!

  145. I’m writing from the US where things are different, unless they aren’t, but I just finished a fairly long stint of Jury Duty and can recommend that tempting the Knitting Fates isn’t worth it. You might be lucky enough to be in a courthouse where there are lockers so you can lock up your knitting until they release you, or you might not. You might find a sympathetic security officer who will hold your knitting, or you might not. Those people have some very, very, VERY bad days, and your peaceable nature won’t want to aggravate that.

    I can also tell you that once selection was over and I was on a jury and was returning daily, several of us asked if we might be allowed to have our knitting after all, and the security people happily agreed on two conditions: that we use bamboo or wooden needles that wouldn’t set off the detectors, and that we tell no one. So I’m posting that info on one of the most popular blogs in the world. 🙂

    The point is, I’m rather afraid you’ll have to tough it out, but if you end up on a jury you might get as lucky as we did and not face hours and days of deprivation.

    Good luck. It’s a fascinating process. “My” case was hideous, almost my worst nightmare, and the people on the jury with me were wonderful, something I never thought I would say. They were smart, compassionate, reasonable, thinking adults. And many of them were knitters. Restores your faith.

  146. I recently took knitting to the University Ave courthouse and they definitely do not allow knitting needles, I had to throw them out and take my knitting off the needles. BUT they definitely allow a crochet hook because 1. it’s blunt 2. there’s only one of them 3. it’s short.

    Crochet has it’s moments and this is one of them. Try a scarf in single crochet.

  147. Thanks for making me happy i live in the U.S. rather than Canada for the first time in months! I travel quite a bit, and some international airports are sticklers as well. My solution is to use wooden circulars and put in a pencil case along with a few pens, or near one, so that they blend in when x-rayed.

  148. What about stitch holders with the stretchy bands that cap the ends? The shorter ones are about 3.25 mm/US 3 and the longer ones are about 3.75 mm/US 5.

    Don’t cast on in advance, because empty and capped, they look completely innocuous. To emphasize their innocence/disguise their true purpose, trim several sheets of paper to fit the width, fold the paper over the needle and use the stretchy bands to create a makeshift “memo” booklet. Innocent AND useful!

    Finally, if you’re worried the yarn might be confiscated, opt for a yarn blank.

  149. I would also suggest a hand spindle and some fluff. I have brought my knitting into the Jury Waiting Room in Los Angeles, but I was cautioned to not let it show one little bit if I was sent upstairs. It finally occurred to me that while *I* might not be dangerous with it, I would be surrounded by criminals up in the courtrooms. It made a tiny bit more sense then — just a tiny bit.

    If you must bring knitting, bring a self-addressed padded envelope. If they tell you you cannot bring in the knitting, stuff it into the envelope and mail it home. You still want to go with something that you can stand to lose, just in case.

  150. I served on Jury Duty last year (October) and was very worried because I’m still breastfeeding my now 14 month old and I was concerned about supply / engorgement issues. In the end it was all ok (i spent the last hour or so of each day looking a bit like Dolly Parton, but it was fine) and I was dismissed after four days.

    Having spent all my energy worrying about breastfeeding, it didn’t occur to me to worry about my knitting until I queued at the metal detectors and started to get a sinking feeling… Fortunately the officials at Southwark Crown Court in
    London are either much more knitting friendly (unlikely) or rather less concerned about knitting as a weapon-of-choice because they didn’t even raise an eybrow at my full knitting bag complete with signature DPN’s. They confiscated my penknife (which was probably asking for trouble, even if I only ever cut yarn with it) but handed it back to me when I left at the end of the day and I knitted whilst waiting with no concerns at all. Had I been selected I would have had to leave my knitting in the jurors room, but I could still bring it with me.

    Maybe some of the very tiny Brittany Birch DPN’s, tucked into a pencil case amongst some much sharper, longer objects, a ball of sock yarn, and something to hold the stitches on for entry and exit..?

    • Here, in my tiny corner of the US, breastfeeding gets you an automatic pass out of jury duty. I didn’t even have to report for selection. You get your pediatrician to write and sign a statement, then fax it to the courthouse. Get Out of Jury Free for the next year. Just posting in case anyone finds that tidbit helpful, for themselves or other women.

  151. I laughed out loud about the eyeliner and the pencil sharpener. Been there. As for alternate knitting needles, what about pens or markers? Plastic, with no pointy bits.

  152. Sharpen your two pencils (and a spare in case the lead breaks) and then dip the points in clear – or colored if you want to really get some looks from those security folks – nail polish. Presto – stealth knitting needles! Just don’t try to make pattern notes with them.

  153. Okay it must be the anarchist in me, but no one has suggested going with size 50 knitting needles and BIG yarn. Make an afghan??? Okay, maybe not practical…just irritated. I was knitting with wooden dps in London several years ago waiting for a flight at the gate. Another woman, said, “Oh, I didn’t think you could bring your knitting.” I told her I hadn’t had a problem as long as it was wooden needles. She obviously wished she had brought hers, but I know why she didn’t if she was going to ‘lose’ it to the security people.

  154. Cotton for washcloths and bamboo circulars. Might want to stash a crochet hook, based on comments.

    I guess you might end up being the juror with a twitch.

    I know that they want you to concentrate on the case being presented…but they don’t count all the waiting that goes along with it.

  155. Here is the US it is even worse. I once had to go to the Social Security Office TO ASK A QUESTION, and upon entry the nonsense (or no sense, take your pick) guard looked in my purse and refused to let me take in my knitting. I took the offending project, which I had in my purse without thinking about it, to my car. I had to wait for about 30 minutes for a 3 minute interaction. I kept thinking, why would my needles (bamboo circulars) be a threat here? (And why should it take 30 minutes for me to ask a simple question?)

    I think it is the capricious nature of the humans at the desk that allow or disallow these things.

  156. I get called every darn year! Here’s what I do:

    1. Take interchangeable wooded needles.
    2. Put the wooden tips in a pencil case with pencils.
    3. Put the cable in with my computer cables in my laptop case.

    Throw a ball of yarn into my lunch bag with my lunch. Let them make of that what they will.

    Then I sit in the cafeteria outside of the jury assembly room and knit away.

    Never a problem.

  157. Plain Bic pens work well as large knitting needles. I once found myself sitting in the Emergency Room, knittingless, waiting to hear if my mom had started breathing again or not. To calm my own panic & inability to breathe, I got a roll of toilet paper out of the bathroom & proceeded to sit in the waiting area, knitting with twisted up TP & a couple of Bic pens. I got some Very strange looks & I’m surprised they didn’t admit me into the psych ward, but the knitting worked. Good luck!

  158. I purchased some Bryspun Flexible circular knitting needles to take on the airplane. There’s no way you could stab someone with these, they just bend. Good luck with jury duty.

  159. Okay, now I’m wondering why someone hasn’t come up with this as a marketing opportunity. Stealth knitting pens- a perfectly functional plastic pen, in plausible regular knitting needles sizes, with a pointy yet smooth-jointed cap. Maybe with a cat on the end instead of a button to hold the knitting. Entrepreneurs! O entrepreneurs! Anyone listening?

  160. can you get someone to drive you, in case your knitting isn’t allowed past security, you can give it them, that way you don’t have to stash it under a bush. I did Jury duty a few years back (in the US) and Knitting was NOT allowed. I read. Which is the only acceptable option for me when I can’t knit. Good luck!

  161. Do you have any colorwork projects still unfinished because there are so many ends to run in? Take a plastic tapestry needle and a nail clipper. Boring, but practical.

  162. The first time I went to Jury Duty, I was knit free.
    While there, I watched a woman remove a baggie full of yarn barf and she spent her time untangling her yarn. The next time I went, I had 4 baggies of yarn barf in my bag. I got 2 bags done. It’s not knitting but it kept my hands busy.

  163. I’ve read through all the comments and can’t believe no one has mentioned this. PLEASE do not leave your knitting under a bush. There are squirrels out there!

  164. Bamboo straights with acrylic yarn, make hats, mitts or scarves for the homeless. They’ll appreciate the warmth, you’ll appreciate the price point and won’t cry if it’s confiscated because it’s not real wool.

  165. When my daughter was in high school, she would sometimes borrow a pair of our nicer (lacquered) chopsticks and use them to decorate her hair when it was in a bun.

    I bet you could get away with a pair of straight wooden needles if you stuck them in your hair.

    Lily Chin told me she got away with circulars right after 9/11 (this is when the US screeners were afraid of EVERYTHING) by wearing it as a necklace.

  166. When I was called, I was told in no uncertain terms that my knitting was not allowed. So I brought a kumihimo project ( as of knitting isn’t weird enough)

  167. I’ve been called twice for jury duty (Us/MN) and both times had my knitting with me. No problems, was heaven just to sit and knit all day instead of work. I was never called for a case, but I suspect they would have frowned on knitting in the court room.

  168. I snuck in some knitting last time I had jury duty by bringing a sock on 9″ bamboo circulars. I also went through security when they were particularly busy, so they might not have noticed them in the rush to get everyone through. I took them out and knit while waiting in the jury lounge, and no one said anything.

  169. Oh dear, I know this struggle far too well. My mother works at a courthouse and when I was in middle school and had to go with her for the day I had the same problem. I often used the two pencils trick.
    Our courthouse does not allow civilians to bring cell phones or similar devices into the courthouse (people kept using them during jury duty even though they tell you not to). Most people leave them under a bush. I went to pick my mom up for lunch with my niece one day, and we had to wait outside for her because she neglected to tell me about the new rule. She doesn’t use a cell.

    Good luck. Try crochet.

  170. You should take a hat you are knitting on a small PLASTIC circular needle. There certainly can be no problem with a plastic needle. Not sure who made them but I have a number them, both long and short in whitish plastic.

  171. You know, it is wonderful to read you during these Trumpish times – you’re sane, you’re funny, and you’re realistic (shut up, you are, too). Thank you. Keep writing; we need it!

  172. In case you got called for a case and need more knitting-related-but-not-knitting ideas – how about embroidery with a plastic needle on your emergency red mittens from earlier in the week?

  173. I was called for Jury Duty in Pittsburgh PA USA.
    I did not notice anything about knitting needles/crochet hooks not allowed.
    My thinking was it would be like at the airport, if I passed through security it would be fine.
    Decided to bring a crochet hook and yarn for a dishcloth that I would not cry over if lost.
    Security called me out the line for metal detector, confiscated my crochet hook and gave me a “Courthouse Weapons Receipt”.
    Was then told I could pick up my “weapon” when my day was over.
    The was a new guard on duty when I left.
    You should have seen his face when I handed him my Weapons Receipt and asked if I could please retrieve my weapon and he had to hand over a crochet hook.

  174. I just checked the rules for my local courthouse, just in case. There was a news story about all the weird “weapons” that have been confiscated at the courthouse, including several pairs of knitting needles. A court official was quoted as saying “I’m not sure why someone would bring knitting needles into the Courthouse.” I’m gobsmacked. How can that not be obvious?

  175. Everyone. Please. Remember this is a COURTHOUSE we are talking about here. Knitting is wonderful, but when an officer of the law tells you no knitting, it’s for a reason. This isn’t just getting through airport security. This is entering a building with many, many people who have been accused or convicted of violent crimes. Sure, you’re harmless, but the guy who just got sentenced to thirty years in prison? Not so much. The rules aren’t there because the government sees knitters as particularly dangerous. It’s because you’d be taking a potential weapon into a building with a much higher than average number of violent criminals. Personally, I wouldn’t want that on my conscience. Please consider that before you plan to circumvent the security system that is there for your protection.

  176. You’ve most likely managed through today without any problems. I went with my handspindle and fiber as neither knitting needles or crochet hooks were allowed in the courthouse. No problems.

  177. When I went for federal jury duty selection I wore an Addi Turbo circular like a necklace – I took a ball shaped needle tip protector and put a second hole in it, then after placing the cord around the back of my neck I plunged the two needle points into the tip protector. It looked like a giant bead. It was an ugly necklace – but it was a functional one 😉 The airports didn’t suspect either!

  178. i work in the courthouse in Columbus , Ohio and my knitting goes in and out every day, but this is Columbus not Toronto.

    My never fail trick after 9/11, to get my knitting past TSA and with me on flights and the waiting area, was to do socks, or something small on wooden/bamboo DPNs and tuck said project suspended on the needles into the underwires of my bra. So the project hung over my tummy right down the center. A loose shirt/ sweater hides everything and once in the waiting area a discreet scratch knocks it out of the bra to my waist band where it can be retrieved. Worked every time and the flight attendants said “good for you.” The needles have to be non-metallic to avoid tripping the metal detector.

  179. Gee, folks, are we missing the point? I, too am addicted to knitting, and am NOT a patient person, and easily bored. I get that you would prefer to knit while waiting. But we are talking about making judgments that will affect someone’s life or livelihood. Put down the knitting and give the task at hand the attention it deserves. (Multitasking is a myth.) If you are desperate, design or read patterns.

    • I think the point is what to do during all the hours (sometimes days!) of waiting around, not what to do during the actual trial.

  180. Here in NYC, we can knit in courthouses. No problem. And they will also hod forbidden objects at security for you to pick up on your way out. Who knew we’d be more civilized on something than in Canada?

  181. I’ve gotten over 8 duty notices. Because… ???

    But mine are in Oakland CA. I’ve never considered getting around the no stabby thing rules. Not in that courthouse. Nope. No way.

    Of course I was called for a multiple day over months selection. Lots and lots and lots of reading.

  182. I used to get called up every single year, and reading this I’m suddenly realizing that wait, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it.

    I did inform the Court last time that I’d be happy to serve–but just know that I’m hearing impaired and wouldn’t be able to tell what the defendant’s words would be. But, I added helpfully, given intonations, gestures, mannerisms, I could definitely tell you how they FELT about what they were saying.

    They couldn’t throw me out fast enough.

  183. Get the bulkiest yarn you can find and ‘hand’ knit using your fingers to hold the stitches as you work them. I made a pretty nice bulk cowl when I did this as crochet.

  184. It’s a while since I did Jury duty (in London, UK) and before I was a hardcore knitter – but at least two people had knitting with them. You had to go through security into a potential jurors holding pen – and my shoes set all the alarms off because of the metal buckles. They didn’t search my bag as it didn’t contain anything metal but my shoes got an extra scan. There was an extra layer of security after the holding pen and you couldn’t take any of your belongings with you (they had lockers for you) while they were selecting you for a jury and while you sat on a jury.

  185. If you bring something that you do not want to lose for the trip to and from the courthouse, I suggest a nearby shop rather than a nearby bush to hold your knitting while you are stuck in the actual courthouse. In the US, there are almost always inexpensive diners near courthouses and they would probably agree to hold your bag under the counter while you are gone. I would feel like I should get a cup of coffee or Diet Coke to thank them but I bet they would do it anyway. People are generally really nice and if you hit a curmudgeonly type, move on to the next diner! I would also try one of the other tricks for getting something you are willing to lose into the courthouse but 2 hours of travel time is a lot of quality “bang out a project you really like” time to lose!

  186. I got called for Jury Duty a while back, and they said the same thing. I opted for something on wooden or bamboo needles to see if I could slide thru. We spent wayyy too much time in the jury room where we would be wrangled up when they wanted us, so I just left my knitting with my jacket, and they were good with that. I am in the US though, might be different for you.

  187. I think Stephanie was concerned about knitting while she was waiting for jury selection – not any chance of being seen as disrespecful in the court room itself.
    It seems to have been resolved with a shawl in progress as seen on her Instagram feed!
    Bamboo needles are definitely great for airplane security. Even Chinese domestic flights these days which always used to be a no-go zone (and they have so many delays).
    Knit on!

  188. I recently flew on Norwegian Air. NORWEGIAN Air. No knitting allowed. Really? I thought the land of knitting would be more likely but no. Hey a hint on the jury duty thing…. postpone your date (if you can) to a date just prior to a national holiday. Most of the time the court will not place anyone on a jury at all. Works in the US!

  189. I had jury duty (Virginia) a short while back and they actually encouraged people to bring knitting/crocheting/needlework or a good book for all the waiting time. However, no cell phones or Ereaders allowed….they would be confiscated on sight and not returned!

  190. I’m not on Twitter, but in response to you yarn suggestion request for baby blankie, what about one of the Valley Yarns at Webs? Debbi could help you with a pick and they are very cost effective.

  191. When I did jury duty in the UK about 5-6 years ago it wasn’t a problem, and I got through a whole pair of socks during the endless waiting around (3 entire days at the beginning till they actually selected me for a jury). Of course no knitting in court, but the amount of time out of court (we kept getting moved in and out as there was stuff we weren’t allowed to hear) amounted to hours and hours. I remember a couple of other women knitting too — we got quite friendly, someone else brought hers, it turned into quite a club.

    Flying — I have used 2 pencils in the past with no problems.
    Good luck!

  192. I’ve just received a summons to jury duty, too (but in the US, where every county makes up their own rules, I swear!). I was allowed to knit in 2005, my last jump into the jury pool, but this is a different courthouse. And I was just waiting with the other potential jurors to see if any trials would be scheduled that day, not attending a trial. Now I’m starting to think I need to do some concealment, just in case! I hope you can work things out for your jury duty.

    On another note, I wanted to thank you for all the years you’ve been writing and blogging. It was such a boost to read your blog the other day, and realize that somewhere in North America, life is still pretty normal, conversations about knitting occur, and people aren’t waiting to hear the next tweet from a deranged toddler (and hoping he doesn’t land us in a war!). Remembering what “normal” actually is was good.

  193. If you bring chopsticks or pencils or pens, I suggest you cast on after you get through security.
    Coincidentally I have jury duty this Monday. I will bring my iPad and maybe my laptop. No knitting.

  194. A couple of years ago I was at our county courthouse (3rd largest in Calif,) with my usual key ring . . . on which lives a tiny Swiss Army Knife. They told me I couldn’t take it in, and there was no time to return it to the car. I spied a melaleuca tree in a nearby courtyard and stuck the little knife under a peel of bark. Right where I left it at the end of the day! So now I’m on a two week jury duty and am aware of the no-knitting-needles rule. Not wanting to lose needles, I have limited myself to reading, and I would be so much more relaxed with the knitting. Which one of my fellow jurors brings every day, with metal needles in an open project bag. She puts it on the conveyor each morning, it has never attracted the slightest comments from the officers, and she is perfectly zen through breaks and lunch. They must know who’s worried and who’s not! (Still not risking it.)

  195. Pencil sharpeners are to my house what tape measures are to yours: I know I’ve bought 57 of them but can never find one when I’m looking.

  196. Stick your hair up in a bun using bamboo double points to hold it in place. Knit baby booties for your new grandchild. No one ever complains about baby booties.

  197. Last summer going through airport security, the TSA dumped my entire carry on. I couldn’t figure out what was the problem until the guy held up my plastic tatting shuttle demanding to know what it was.

  198. A length of weed eater cord makes a great circular needle – a candle flame will nicely round the ends. I knit a hat with this method on a British Airways flight, where even sewing needles were banned.

  199. I wasn’t allowed my knitting when I had jury duty last year. It was the pits. I WAS allowed a crochet hook. Silly ridiculous stuff. I mean, knitting is allowed on airplanes for goodness’ sake!

  200. Ah, I’m in the same boat on February 7th. Jury duty, no knitting needles, no needles of any kind.
    Hopefully this will be a short term experience.

  201. Time to dust off your crochet skills. Crocheting is usually allowed as crochet hooks are deemed less dangerous. Too many mystery novels with knitting needles as the surprise weapon. I made a nice crocheted baby jacket last time I had jury duty.
    Julie in San Diego

  202. Here in my state, in the US, we are not allowed to bring Knitting or any electronics of any kind into the courthouse. That means no Kindles, computers, or cellphones. The last time I had jury duty, I had to find a paperback to take with me, so that I wouldn’t go stark raving mad from the boredom. There are lockers (paid) in the car park to lock up anything you forgot and brought with you. Then I found out that my son, an attorney, can bring his phone and computer into the courthouse. So can bail bondsmen. I discovered that while waiting to get a copy of the divorce decree from my first marriage so that I could get a federally compliant driver’s license.

  203. This is the exact situation I bought my tiny turkish spindle for. All wood, blunt ends and can knit it up later. Do you have a small spindle you could take?

    Maybe “Juries are for Spinning” like tuesdays?

  204. Been there. Hardest part was letting go of the colossal waste of a day off from work not spent advancing knitting. Do you have any knotted messes of yarn in need of hours-long detangling? Can you crochet? Hooks somehow look benign. I entrusted my work in progress to the guards and one joked once that as long as I told him what size I was making, he’d have it done for me by the end of the day. I take it back about the hardest part: it’s the abyssmal television station the court tv was tuned to.

  205. Hi!
    You’ve often mentioned in your books or on your blog countries in which children learn how to knit at school/everyone knows how to knit etc. Such is the case here in Finland (though not everyone knows how anyway, but it is taught at school to most). This year we are celebrating our hundreth year as an independent country and as a part of that, knitters are planning on knitting a pair of socks to all the newborn babies this year. There will be around 50-60 000 babies born this year and about 20 000 tiny socks have been knit already. Many people have learned how to knit just for this project. It’s cool to see knitters of all ages unite in our small country. I thought this could interest you. 🙂 Hopefully you managed to find a way to knit, I know I’d go crazy in that situation.
    – Jenni

    • If they brought knitting classes into our schools, they might get kids addicted to knitting instead of drugs. And, they would spend all their money on wool, like we do:)
      There would be no money left for drugs.

    • When I was in 3rd Form (US 2nd grade) at a girls’ school in Antigua, we were taught knitting, weaving and embroidering in class. That was back in the day when girls were formally taught homemaking skills, which also included how to set a table properly. Old fashioned, yes, but I think it helped manual dexterity in addition to giving life-long skills.

      • Here they also teach home economics to all students in seventh grade. Cookind and cleaning and stuff. Boys learn knitting too. Once I taught fifth grade boys to knit, it was fun.

  206. Plus audiobook on your phone with headphones…

    (Are you going to update?? What did you pick, and how’d it go???? We’re all in suspense here!) =)

    • MAYBE she was caught with contraband and is currently awaiting a trial of her own.

      Alternatively, she may have been selected as a juror in a highly controversial trial and put into seclusion.

  207. I would take 2 crochet hooks and knit with them. When I was called to local jury duty several months ago I asked a family member who is a county detective how many death’s by knitting needle were recorded in the last 5 years. He didn’t know

  208. Although we were not supposed to bring knitting into the court, I found out PLASTIC needles are acceptable. NO Metal needles, hooks etc allowed but pens/pencils are . . . . . I knit while waiting to be chosen for Jury Duty & I knit in the Jury Room while on the Jury. No one could knit in the Court Room. Period. We were drifting off to sleep in the Jury Box & I SWEAR the Judge nodded off a time or two herself but NO Knitting, reading, drawing, note taking, etc in the Court Room unless you were a Court Employee. Sorry.

  209. I have two thoughts. First, two pens and some black yarn. You can pound out a scarf that wont show ink spots. Worsted yarn should work with pens. Second, give arm knitting a shot. You could make a cowl and put a dent in your stash of yarns you just arent sure what to do with and you arent sure why you bought it anyway. Either of these will give uou something to do. And you could hive it to a female judge, bailiff or security worker at the end of the day.

  210. Take the dull pencils and some big, chunky wool, and start a baby hat. That particular garment is the cutest thing on the planet, and if you arrive without having started the project, who’s going to take dull pencils away from you? I bet they even offer you up a sharpener!

  211. Good luck, I had to serve on jury duty for 3 months. Yes my wood circular needles were confiscated here last week 12 plus years later, I get another letter about jury duty again,lol

  212. Wear red. Evry time I had to appear, i wore red and the lawyers question you , they dont seem to like that color, finding it agressive i was told.. You can try, nothing to lose

  213. What about finger-knitting? (Or finger-crocheting?) You could do a plethora of coasters out of t-shirt yarn and set them aside for the gift box.
    Or there’s naalbinding, if you have a wooden yarn needle that can be stashed away…

    • Although, I like the idea of separating needles from circular strand. I’d probably put the strand into my hairbun to avoid “could be a garrote” problem.

  214. Not sure what you chose, but when I’m going someplace knitting may or may not be allowed I always bring my 2.25 birch DPNs (they’re 12cm long, they look slightly more threatening than toothpicks) and some sock yarn that I won’t cry over losing.

  215. I realize the horse is gone from this particular barn, but I have these suggestions for next time.
    1) Use a bamboo circ to put your hair up with, hairstick-wise, and then when you’re inside, take it out and cast on. Yes I’ve done this. At jury duty.
    2) Pony Pearls. I bought some Pony Pearl size 1 DPs when I flew to Asia four years ago and they cruised right through every metal detector they met.
    3) Combine both approaches and put your hair up with Pony Pearls.

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