Monday, September 17, 2012

Knitting (or crocheting) without tools

There are a lot of things I would change about myself but one thing I really like is that I am a problem solver.  Admittedly, most of the problems I face come up because of the rest of the person I am, so if I could just fix up the other stuff I wouldn't have to be a problem solver, but still.  Lucky I am so tenacious about fixing things, instead of just living with them as they are, right?

The current big problem is that I am planning to visit Italy in the spring.  I know, I know, Italy! how lucky I am to be in a position to go to Italy.  Yes.  Except I will have to fly there, after not flying for about 15 years because I got so frantically nervous on a plane I couldn't face getting on one ever again.

Fortunately, this is a problem I can (and will) tackle from many different angles.  One of them, naturally, is to bring really good, super calming and distracting knitting on the plane.  Except... it's an international flight, and the rules aren't fixed for what sorts of sharp metal needles you can bring on flights into different countries. 

At first I thought I would just bring easily replaceable needles and yarn so if my stuff was confiscated at customs I'd be 'okay'.  Then I read about some people being separated from their fellow travelers (in my case, they are more accurately called 'security blankets') in the case of such confiscations.  That would make me freak out before I even got onto the plane.

Also, I would be left without my calming, distracting knitting en route.

So over the weekend, I looked up some YouTube videos on how to knit with your fingers, so as to avoid needles altogether.  The clearest one was this:

You will notice though, there's really no way to have more than 4 stitches.  Plus, your fingers are all tangled up.  If I suddenly needed to do something for safety reasons, I'd be a mess both literally and figuratively.

The latter objection is sadly true for this variation as well, in which you knit using your arms:

Plus, it's super quick - not practical for my purposes - and your arms are always tied up.  Cool though!  I'd like to try this one just for everyday life.

Then I spotted a video for a knitting fork, which is made of wood and possibly not pointy enough to be confiscated:

Sadly, all you can make is a cord.  I just don't think that's enough to keep me quiet through turbulence.

So I gave up and looked at some videos about crocheting with your fingers.  BINGO:

These are the clearest ones - they show not just the technique, but the fact that you're never really tied up in the yarn - and if you need more convincing the possibilities really light up when you watch this:

Translate the bulky acrylic blankie to a lacy silk/merino stole and: yeah.  This is the fix.

True, I don't actually know how to crochet.  But I've got a few months, and I'm a motivated student.  I'll figure it out. 

Hope you figure out a great Monday.  See you tomorrow!


Leslie said...

I have taken my knitting internationally with no problems in the past couple of years. I asked again at check-in so I could stow away my most important stuff, but there weren't any problems. I advise circulars as they aren't long enough to look dangerous!

Binnie said...

I've never had any trouble with wooden needles. Usually the flight attendants are curious to know what I'm knitting.

Mary Keenan said...

It is such a gamble though... for every three people I hear had no problems, I find one (especially on Ravelry) who did, even recently. And the more risk I introduce to the trip, the more risk there is that my calm-down strategies won't cut it. A no-tool solution is just so much safer! plus, if I ever get called for jury duty again, I'm covered ;^)

Rainlover said...

I have used straws before too, not because things got taken, but because silly me forgot to pack needles, you just chew or smoosh one end of it down and it works fine for a loose project, it takes little more lifting to get it past the tips, but meh was better than nothing - even better every airport has straws past security if something goes wonky!

Mary Keenan said...

Ha - now THAT is resourceful!!!

justmeandtwo said...

Pencils would work, too, as impromptu needles. Don't even need to sharpen them if you're using loose stitches/bulky yarn. Who would question two unsharpened pencils? ;) Anything dowel-like in a pinch. Paper clips for stitch holders. You'll do fine. :)

Gina said...

Hum, I wonder if Q-tips would work as small dpn's. Just remove the fuzzy part, smoosh the ends, and get going. I haven't heard of anyone having their Q-tips confiscated.

I haven't had any problem with circs being questioned internationally. However, security at the Burbank, CA, airport questioned my little case with the needle ends. The poor guy just couldn't picture them as any kind of knitting needles but finally let me through.