Knitting unraveled by airport security!

My knitting was in my purse when I went through airport security in Rome. Apparently, they were disturbed by my (wooden) knitting needles. They pulled out the knitting and waved it around, lost my point protectors, shoved it back in my purse…this resulted in the area near where I was switching to purl from knit on a hat I was trying to complete before Christmas being completely messed up. I just can’t figure out what is unraveled and how far down. It looks like a mess. The only videos I can find on how to fix something like this pertain to fixing areas deliberately unraveled to fix a mistake. What is the best way to sort this out.

Oh no!
How awful for you!

Sorry, I can’t help with the fix but wanted to stop by with commiserations and best wishes for finding a solution.

Have you put in a life line yet?
That would be my first move. Find a row that is not damaged and use a sewing needle to thread a line in as soon as possible (whikst hilding the damaged area very still obviously) so that the damage doesn’t travel any further down. I’d start with the damaged area where the stitches are more vulnerable - a life line can be started in the middle of a row and threaded in both directions - and then work out across the row.

Another thing I would do is use a bunch of removable stitch markers, safety pins or loops of yarn to grab any stitches you can see in each column regardless of how little or much they have laddered. This will help to keep them each safe until you can tackle each one, or until you decide what the next step is.

It looks like just a few rows, is that right?

1 Like

What great ideas! Thank you. It looks like it is three or four rows, maybe…I can’t quite tell. Sorry the photo is not very good and it is this kind of fuzzy wool, too.

1 Like

Yes it’s quite tricky to make out the stitches with the fuzzy wool.

If it’s 3 or 4 rows do you think you could pull out those rows and reknit them? 3 rows on a hat isn’t as demoralising as 3 rows in a huge blanket - this is one way to fix it. If your pattern has changes and you aren’t sure which row you would be on you could count back the rows as you undo. The life line should save you from going too far.

Another possibility is to investigate each dropped stitch and then rework the loose yarn up the column - like you have seen in the videos of how to drop, ladder and rework a single stitch. You likely have multiple dropped stitches adjacent but can work them as single stitches. For each stitch use a crotchet hook if you have one to draw the line of undone yarn through either knitwise or purlwise, making each about the right size to match the tension of the rest of the fabric. Some may be too big or small initially, especially with multiple stitches next to each other, but after working up the column you can redistribute the yarn taking excess out of a stitch and moving it along to a tighter stitch.

For several in a row it may even be possible to insert a knitting needle (smaller if you have one) and rework along the row remembering that you don’t use your yarn ball but instead the length of yarn sitting across that row and those stitches. Again tension wouldn’t be great initially but can be corrected afterwards.

Let us know how you get on.

1 Like

I think you are saying that the lower rows (farther from the needles) were knit and your new or newer rows are purl? The image appears to show as reverse stockinette. Maybe the hat was turned inside out and that would make it harder to understand what was unraveled. Good luck.

One would think they could be more gentle with wool art.


Thanks for all the help. I got the area fixed. It looks a bit flat there due to the fact that I didn’t quite know if I was fixing a purl or a knit stitch, but I don’t think it will show that much.


I stopped at the end of the row and was supposed to start purling for 30 stitches on that section, with every other row a knit row. It was right side out. I put markers on every stitch I could identify and then knit most of them. Maybe I will embroider something on that spot. I am checking my knitting the next time I am on an overseas flight and watching movies! I did recover the stitches so there are no holes, but I am such a beginner that I just couldn’t see what to do, exactly. Thank you for all the help. I was about to give up. I’m almost done with the hat and I will post a picture when it is finished. The wool is called Turning Tides and I got it in Chipping Norton. I was at the seaside in Devon at the time, so it was perfect…it really does look like the ocean.

1 Like

Good to hear you got it fixed.
As you pick up tips and learn to read the knitting it will become easier to know if you need a purl or knit, or to even undo a stitch and change it from knit to purl. But so long as you’re happy with it that’s what matters, and no holes.

So weird! I was in rome 2 weeks ago, flew there with my knitting on the plane and the same back home without any airport security trouble! What size needles did you use?
I had on 3,5mm, never got questioned about it what so ever

Ah, Rome! My favorite place on earth. I don’t know why they messed mine up, but I will protect anything I’m knitting next time. I can’t wait to go back. I would live in Italy, if I could. Happy knitting.

1 Like

Welcome back! Did you take a photo of the hat?