Is Cross Stitching on a Plane Allowed?

Airplane security has been high for years and deciding what goes in your checked-in luggage, in your carry-on, or in your handbag is sometimes confusing.

But what about our favorite hobby? Is it possible to cross stitch on an airplane?

According to the TSA

The official answer from the TSA is that yes, you can take your cross stitching on the plane. Here’s the actual quote from the TSA website:

In general, you may place your knitting needles and needlepoint tools in carry-on or checked baggage.

Circular thread cutters or any other cutter or needlepoint tools that contain blades must be placed in checked baggage. You are permitted to keep scissors smaller than 4 inches in your carry-on baggage.

Here’s another confirmation from their Twitter account:

So no fretting. You will be able to take advantage of that quiet time during your flight to cross stitch hassle free.

How to make sure your supplies will go through?

The TSA regulations have some specific details when it comes to scissors and needles.

You won’t be able to bring on all types of embroidery scissors and needles. Obviously, larger sized scissors or needles can be construed as weapons.

First of all, make sure that the scissors and needles you’re packing have a blunt edge instead of a sharp edge. As per their official website, the scissors have to be smaller than 4 inches. Choose a cheap pair of scissors to take on board so if they happen to be confiscated you won’t be too sad about losing them. Nail clippers or dental floss cutters have also been suggested as alternatives to scissors.

How to pack my cross stitching supplies?

If you want to cross stitch during your flight, there’s no need to take your entire stock of threads and needles on board. Take a look around your chart if you have one, estimate the time of your trip and pack your needle, scissors and the color of threads you will be using in a small container for the plane. Keep the rest in your checked in luggage.

Another way to pack your supplies is to invest in a needlework travel bag. Some even have storage for a hoop and don’t take up a lot of space.

Other things to keep in mind

If you’re able to choose your own seat, make sure you take neighbors into consideration if you’re planning on stitching. Pick your seat depending on whether you stitch with your left or right hand. You don’t want to be an annoying traveller who keeps bumping the person beside them.

Work on a smaller project. There won’t be much space to spread out a large chart and large canvas. If you do have a big-ish project, choose thread colors that cover larger areas so you reduce the time needed to check your pattern and change threads.

Consider pre-cutting your thread in advance just in case your scissors don’t make it on board. Estimate the time you will be able to cross stitch and evaluate the amount of thread you will need. The more you prepare before you head to the airport, the easier travelling will be.

Still not sure if your tools will go through?

If you still have doubts about a specific pair of scissors or needles, the TSA will gladly respond to your requests. You can take a picture and tweet it at them and they will generally respond with a positive or negative reply.

Make your first time cross stitching on a plane an experiment to see if you like it. And be prepared to have fellow passengers complimenting you on your work 🙂

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4 Responses
  1. Carly

    This was so helpful! Going to Italy next week, and I’m going to need to keep my hands busy on the 9 hour flight! I’m going to take nail clippers as a backup for my scissors.

  2. Donna

    I am so happy to know that i can bring my crosstitch set with me on my trip home to the philippines… 15 hours is good enough to finish it!