Although airplane flights can be boring to some passengers, knitters gladly welcome the chance to knit while flying. Can you knit on an airplane? Yes, you can. However, before you pack a bag full of yarn and other knitting supplies, consider these tips…
*Smaller, circular needles—Rather than packing your large 13″ (and longer) needles, choose smaller needles. Even better, opt for circular needles rather than straight ones, as they take up less space. I still remember how one of my favorite size 8, 13-inch steel needles was bent when I had to quickly squash my traveling bag under my seat. Besides bending it, I also found it awkward to knit with them in my seat, as I had to be careful not to intrude on the space of the passenger next to me. That’s when I switched to circular needles.
*Bamboo and/or plastic needles—What’s more, bamboo and/or plastic needles are less threatening to other passengers than steel needles. They’re also more pleasant to work for knitting, as they have a smooth touch. You just have to be careful not to bend them as they can break easily.
*Blunt tools—Rather than sharp needles and scissors, take blunt-edge tools so you won’t be as intimidating to others on the plane.
*Row counters—-Knitting row counters are great for traveling, as they help you stay on the correct row when interrupted. I slip my row counter on a small ring, looped to my watchband so it won’t get lost. For doing the stockinette stitch, I knit on odd rows and purl on even ones. Just glancing at the number on my row counter keeps me on tract, so I’m less likely to make errors.
Choosing Airplane seats
If you worry about elbowing the passenger seated next to you, it may be best to select an aisle seat. Seats on the aisle are also better if you hate to ask others to stand up when you have to get out of your seat to use the restroom. On the other hand, if you don’t mind asking others to move, a window seat is better. You won’t be bothered every time the passengers in your row have to get out of their seats, making it easy for you to forget what you’re doing with your knitting.
Take Small Projects
Rather than cart enough yarn to knit an afghan, I only take small projects when I fly. Knitting socks and hats are ideal for flights. You can either take simple patterns, or memorize a standard one, so you have less knitting supplies in your bag.
Simple “Baby Hat” Pattern
For knitting a simple baby hat, I use a standard pattern that’s easy to knit on an airplane. In fact it’s so simple, you can memorize it after you’ve made a few of these adorable baby hats. Here’s how…
First, knit 36 stitches. Then alternate rows (knitting the odd numbers, while purling the even ones) until you have 20 rows. Then start decreasing. An easy formula is to decrease by six stitches per row, either knitting or purling the even rows. Since I have 36 stitches and want to decrease evenly by 6, I divide 36 into 6, giving me 6 stitches per decrease sections. Six stitches minus two (knitting 2 together) equals four stitches to knit. In other words, for the first decrease, I knit four, and then knit two together until the end of row (6 times), decreasing the row to 30 stitches. The next row, I purl every stitch (30 stitches.) for no decrease. The next decrease would be to knit three stitches and then 2 together (24 stitches.) Then purl all 24 stitches. Continue until you have less than half of 36 stitches (18 or less). Then knit two together until you have about six stitches left on your needle. Bind off your stitches, leaving a large enough strand to sew up the seams.
Finally, check with the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) web site before leaving home for the most current list of items allowed or not allowed on flights. It’s also wise to take along a self-addressed stamped envelope. Just in case, the list of prohibited items changes, it’s best to be safe that your knitting tools can be mailed back to you if they’re confiscated as you go through security.