Is it ok to temporarily change needle sizes after security took my needles?

Hi! So I was flying home to Seattle from London Heathrow the other day, and security deemed my nickel plated knit pick needles a threat and took them (apparently they take all metal needles)…right before that TEN hour flight to Dallas, and then another 4 hour flight to Seattle from there. I was devastated! I was working on a swallowtail with my size 4s, and a scarf with my size 8s, and of course they found and took both, so now I am awaiting the arrival of new ones in the mail. Question is…do you think it will be too noticeable if I do a few rows on the swallowtail with my 5s? I’m working with a 2 ply laceweight skacel merino yarn (, so the yarn overs already make pretty good sized holes. I’m hoping it won’t be too noticeable, because I don’t want to pause working until my new needles arrive!

It was my fourth flight to/from Europe in 5 weeks, and the needles were fine on all of the other three…apparently it’s just Heathrow! I even had a print out from the TSA website saying that my needles were fine, but they told me that the TSA rules don’t apply to the UK. Ugh!

Sorry about your needles! Heathrow does make up rules of its own, and they are unlike every other airport in the world.

Doing a few rows on 5s shouldn’t make [I]that[/I] noticeable a difference. Perhaps you could knit those a bit tighter than your normal tension, which should make up for the small difference in needle size. JMHO.

That really stinks. If you’re doing a lot of flying perhaps ordering a set of Denise needles just for flights would be a good idea.

I can’t imagine there would be that noticeable a different if you used 5s, especially doing lace.

Really unfortunate. I guess the lesson learned is fly with wooden needles. I just flew two trips in the US and no problem with my Addi Turbos. I would have dies if I had to remove my two circs from my socks. Think of the dropped stitches that would cause!

Thanks! I put in a lifeline (just in case knitting with the fives WAS too noticeable), and knit 4 rows so far, and without blocking it, it doesn’t look too different just by pulling it tight. Hopefully it will be fine and knit picks doesn’t make me wait too long for my new ones!

I’m just super thankful that I was using my knit picks needles so I was able to just unscrew the tips and was able to leave the cables in the work. I would have never been able to pick up the 150 stitches of the swallowtail without a lifeline, not to mention how much it would have unraveled in my bag!

Maybe I need to get the full set of Harmony tips for any international flights, just in case…plus, it’s always nice to have an excuse to “need” new needles, right?? I’ve only got 2 sizes in the harmony needles, and I love them, but generally prefer the slippery aspect of the metal…

Thanks again for your input!

It seems that we have had so many posts about airport security taking knitting needles…Where do you think it all goes??? Don’t you think that if you get something taken away at one end of your flight you should be able to shuffle around in the box and take something from the other end of your flight?

Where ARE all those knitting needles and swiss army knives???

At one point I believe a lot of the Swiss Army knives and hunting knives were going on E-bay

I LOVE this idea! I laughed so hard when I read this. I wonder if it just goes in the trash, or if security gets to take stuff home, or what? I want to get some sort of a ticket from them so I can shuffle through a box on the other end of my flight for a consolation prize!!

I was told they eventually sell the stuff from unclaimed luggage which would make me think they may sell the confiscated knitting needles too! (JUST SPECULATION of course :wink: )

I’m so sorry your needles were taken! Good thing you didn’t lose your project though! :slight_smile: I just know I would drop so many stitches trying to transfer it to something else in the hurry of the airport.

Ughhh. That does suck. I recently flew Heathrow to Seattle and read somewhere that knitting needles were not permitted, so I made sure to pack mine in my suitcase. Although it really just depends on who you get at security. I had a direct flight so I only had to endure 11 hours without my knitting!

I have another flight in a couple of weeks to Germany, going through Washington DC, hopefully they let me keep my knitting at least on the way there. I won’t risk it coming back.


It really is too bad that all the airlines couldn’t come to the same agreement about knitting and crocheting needles. They should provide a place where you could at least mail them to yourself… then you wouldn’t have to give up your needles.

I’m so sorry for you… that must have been so frustrating.

I was told that I could go back downstairs, recall my checked bag, and put them in there, but I doubted that i had time to make that happen, I doubted I would be able to actually get my bag back, and I doubted it would make any difference (last time something like that happened was with my leatherman that accidentally got into my carryon instead of my checked bag, and when I went to put it in my checked bag they couldn’t get it for me, so they sent the leatherman down the belt alone in a little bucket with a note to put it in my bag. Needless to say I never saw it again.), so I just handed them over with a whimper. I think it’s gonna be all wood for me from here on out on international flights unless I can find definitive info on the applicable airports on the web. I’ve brought those metal needles through LOTS of American airports, so I’m pretty sure there’s no problem with them in the USA.
Grrr. It was last Thursday and I’m still bitter about it! I should have looked up Heathrow beforehand…

Flying is no longer a very knitting-friendly environment. Bottom line is that many airports outside the U.S. are much stricter about needles, with Heathrow being especially strict.

[U]Your experience with U.S. flights is irrelevant elsewhere, as are TSA regulations.[/U] Even in the U.S., security agents may confiscate your needles for any reason or no reason. Plastic and bamboo are easier to get aboard than metal, but there’s no guarantee. Even if you do get aboard with them, the flight crew can ask you to put them away.

The only way to be sure you won’t lose your needles anywhere in the world is not take a book instead. Although in some countries the officials may be very interested in what you are reading.

They need to have a UPS/DHL Post Office box next to the security gates. Put in a credit card and get a pre-paid mail pouch. Address it and drop it in the box. A few days after you arrive home so do your knitting needle, etc.

Oh excuse me, I forgot this is too citizen friendly and therefore, illegal in all countries.

That’s a great idea, Chris. I took a pre-addressed and stamped envelope with me just in case, but I didn’t need it. Good thing because the airport didn’t even have a mailbox they told me! :zombie:

I always just take the needles I’m using for that project and send the others in my luggage if I need to take them. I have multiples of my most used sizes so I at least can continue with the correct needle size.

I don’t think I’d work on anything with the wrong needle size. The gauge would change. Maybe do another project?

Good thing because the airport didn’t even have a
mailbox they told me!

That’s what I’ve always wondered. Everyone recommends mailing it back, but if there’s no mailbox, how?

I noticed last time I dropped someone at the Atlanta airport, I noticed there IS a post office…but it’s out near where you walk in…BEFORE security…so, you’d have to leave, mail your package, and go back through security—which in many cases would cause you to miss your flight!

Oh well. Seems the best plan is to take wooden or plastic, and have your spares in checked luggage.

Maybe a really nice store in the airport would let you put it in their outgoing mail, if it wasn’t too big.

Maybe we should all write our Congress Person and direct them (they do work of us :roflhard: :roflhard: :roflhard: ) to require Homeland Security and the TSA to provide passenger the ability to mail items that they will not allow on board planes.

If the Post Office can’t come up with a way maybe UPS can.

DITO…I always take a SASE with me…sorry I am a cheap-skate and would be very upset if I lost my addi’s… not to mention rows/sts:knitting:

I suspect the offending security officers (or their spouses) are knitters and just collecting free needles.