Flying? Tips for what embroidery items are allowed, and how to pack your items
What Embroidery supplies are allowed on planes? And how should I pack them?
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The question of “what is allowed on a flight” comes up in embroidery groups all the time, so I thought I would address it here.
The first thing you should know is that people have much-unsubstantiated advice concerning scissors, so I went right to the source… (put the next section in quotations)
Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov)
If packed in a carry-on, they must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point.
Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.
For more prohibited items, please go to the ‘What Can I Bring?‘ page.
The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.Scissors | Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov)
There we go folks, right from the TSA’s website. You are only allowed to bring scissors that are 4″ long past the pivot point (that’s the little screw holding the two blades together).
Also, make a note of the “The final decision rests with the TSA officer if an item is allowed through the checkpoint”. That’s the part where everyone’s opinion seems to be different from their responses in groups. Just because one flight to your destination allows them, doesn’t mean that your flight coming home will! At any point through security, your scissors can be confiscated.
So how do you go about doing crafts if someone takes your scissors?
Thankfully, I have some suggestions for you. (read on)
Let’s talk about items that will cut that don’t require scissors. Have you ever tried a yarn cutter pendant? Not only does the pendant have the advantage of not being scissors, but it can be worn around the neck on a chain so that you don’t lose it in mid-flight. Picking something up off the floor on a plane is not always possible when you are in turbulence.
Another suggestion is to use fingernail clippers. They’re small enough not to alarm a TSA officer.
Have you tried a dental floss container? Floss containers have a built-in cutter and will slice embroidery floss easily.
If you still insist on taking your regular embroidery scissors (I use these), just know that TSA agents do have the right to confiscate them and the tips must be bound shut by putting them in a sheath or taping the ends shut.
Now let’s discuss traveling with embroidery supplies on a plane.
The scissors we covered above, but what about needles? Yes they are allowed. However, remember that turbulence we mentioned earlier? Let’s address that and the use of needles on a plane because I have a suggestion for you…
See this photo? (below)
This is how to best organize your needles before setting foot on a plane. You will need a scrap piece of cloth and several pre-loaded needles you intend to stitch with. It is much easier to pick up a dropped needle with thread attached than just the needles itself from the floor.
Regarding pre-made embroidery kits on planes, open them up before you go and inspect everything. Add more needles and because it’s inevitable that you will lose one on the flight. Also, make sure you have some form of snipping tool to clip your threads as kits often don’t have those items. Kits often don’t have hoops included, you will want one of these (insert link).
Consider buying a needle minder for your flight to help hold your needle in place between stitches.
What to do at the security checkpoint with your craft items…
Your needles should also be visible through your bag so that a TSA agent sees them and doesn’t accidentally get poked by the needles if s/he needs to go through the bag. Please remember to place a piece of tape across the tips of your needles so no one accidentally gets injured.