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Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

Edinburgh, United...
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Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

Hi. I'm going to go through security at Schiphol and I want to bring my knitting needles (either long wooden ones or small, metal, circular ones). I've read other forums and it seems like these will be acceptable, but I can't find a list of prohibited items on the actual Schiphol website.

Can anyone help me find a link to a website either by the government or Schiphol stating whether or not I can bring these needes? I'd like to print something out to bring with me as evidence in case I'm questioned.

thanks.

Ruhr Area, Germany
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1. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

Hi Nora,

perhaps you could ask mongrelmuppet, she is very familiar with needle work and can perhaps give you some advice.

patara01

Oregon
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2. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

Patara01, thanks for the laugh! When I saw the subject line of this I clicked into it straight away to see if I could help. (And it's nice to be remembered for something I didn't do "wrong" for once. Thank you for that too.)

As for your question, Nora B, the answer is maybe. Maybe not. No matter what the rules say or what print out you have or who you talked to prior to your flight, any official of the airline or airport in any of the countries you're entering or exiting has the power to decide at that moment that you can't have them and you either shouldn't or won't be allowed to argue. (Or the chances of winning the argument aren't high, because even if you prove them technically wrong, they won't want to back down in public.) The individual airline and your destinations can also play a role. Have you checked what your carrier's rules are? (You don't say if you plan to knit during your flights.) I've often discovered that even if you do find The Rules, they are written in such an ambiguous manner that they can be interpreted in many different ways. They rarely get so specific as to mention needlework tools specifically, but that could have changed since last I looked. Maybe someone else has a link to share that has more specific language. The other option would be to e-mail Schiphol directly. Their website does have a contact. Unfortunately, I can say from personal experience that contacting them doesn't always help, either, because as happens so often, you might get different answers from different people at different times. Frustrating, I know.

There are always stories of "I have never had any problems and I fly all the time through XXX." and then there are and equal amount of the "They took my needles out of my knitting!" Bottom line is: don't take anything you couldn't bear to lose (and that includes the project you're working on.) Don't take anything that looks threatening. If it's metal of ANY sort and most especially if it even hints at sharp, it will be viewed as more of a threat. Small-ish. blunt tip, wooden or bamboo needles are less often questioned. (And please don't let anyone tell you certain materials don't show up on the x-ray machines. That's completely false.) Having a project actually on them, to show what they are used for is good. Packaging them in a clear plastic bag for easy visibility is good. (And I often put an obvious mechanical pencil or regular pen or two in my bag with the needles. That seems to remind them that the needles aren't that much different than a pen or pencil. I've also known some folks to just use pencils in place of their regular needles.) Making sure you're working on something that is easily contained and small and doesn't require large movements of your hands/wrists/arms is best too. Also less likely to bother anyone near you into complaining. I never carry any sort of sharp cutting tool, either, especially in the bag with the knitting. (I use one of those flimsy little scissors that often come with hotel sewing kits.) Oh, and if I want to knit during my holiday or trip, I usually pack a second set of nicer needles in my checked bag.

A few words that might be helpful for you are "brei" for knitting. "Breinaalden" are knitting needles and "garen" is yarn (although you might find that many refer to any type of yarn fiber as wool or "wol" or knitting wool, "breigaren wol.")

Is it LIKELY that you'll be bothered at Schiphol? In my opinion, no. Not as long as you're discreet and courteous. I've flown in and out of the US and UK (although NOT Heathrow), Italy, Spain, Germany etc. via Schiphol and knit or crocheted my way through the waiting time and every flight, following my above suggestions. (Although KLM did tell me in an e-mail that "steel" knitting needles were not allowed on a flight to the UK last year. However, no one on the actual flights or the airports batted an eyelash at my wood or bamboo and I even chatted with several flight attendants and one security screener who either knit themselves or wanted to learn.) Have I been questioned? Yes. I've been asked to show a staff member my tools and my project bag. I've been asked what the items are and even to show them how I use the tools (as in, knit a row to show them I knew how to use them.) Have I seen other people be hassled or have things taken away from them? Yes. I have. But it's usually because they were using something metal, quite sharp or large or a combo thereof. Or they made another passenger nervous or uncomfortable enough to complain to staff. More often than not, I'm either simply stared as I work quietly away, or occasionally engaged in a conversation about what I'm doing or making. Knitting in public is not particularly common here.

On a flight itself, it's possible you won't be allowed to have them in your hands, or maybe even on your lap, during take off and landing. Although that too, depends on the airline and staff. I've been both left alone entirely as well as asked to stow them.

Sorry for the long ramble. Probably not entirely what you wanted to hear. It should be an easy question to answer, but c'est la vie. I hope I've at least given you some help and suggestions that might make things go more smoothly for you.

Best of luck to you. Hope you enjoy your time here.

Oregon
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3. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

Ah, I forgot to mention one other thing: choice of yarn. I'd avoid anything particularly "fuzzy" or that could shed. Not only will that get all over you, other people nearby could be allergic or otherwise bothered by floating fibers. That's something that will also get you asked to stop and stow the project.

Ruhr Area, Germany
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4. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

Well, I knew in advance that you would be the best expert for such a question, mongrelmuppet:-)). BTW, not only for that!

If I´m honest, I´m not sure if I would feel very comfortable to sit beside a passenger with any kind of needles in her/his hands. Needles are sharp, knitting needles too, so I think in a case of unexpected turbulences there might happen any hurtful incident. Not to mention any lunatic who could use them for an attack.

So I would suggest to carry them in the check in luggage but of course I´m no knitting needles work fan who like to knit everywhere:-))!

Edited: 22 November 2012, 09:48
Amersfoort, The...
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5. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

I do still at times get amazed by the collective depth of information available on this forum. :-)

Thank you mongrelmuppet.

Oregon
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6. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

And I'm constantly amazed and the patience and generosity of the DEs.

Happy I could contribute something in return for all I've gained from this forum as well. (Does this mean I can have a "free pass" if I recommend the Tassenmuseum to someone?)

Patara01, you do bring up another good point about concerns other passengers might have. Some argue that in the same circumstances, you could do the same level of injury with a pen, pencil or eating utensil. I agree with that to a certain extent, but think it depends a great deal on the specific tool in question. Some ARE sharp enough points that even the experienced person using them can hurt themselves. And accidents do happen (my sister works in the emergency room of a hospital in a big city. She tells me about all the people who seek treatment for knitting needle related injuries, some serious. It's usually someone sitting, falling or stepping on one.) Others truly are no more dangerous than a pencil. Particularly larger sizes of crochet hooks are even LESS dangerous than a pencil. Also, people do these same activities in other sorts of moving vehicles as well--cars, buses, subways, trams, trains etc. That is still a risk, to be sure. Another consideration is how the person is using the tool and how large it is. Some people move their hands/arms a lot when they work, depending on the technique they are using, and it can be very annoying to be constantly bumped against and to feel or see the constant motion or flashing/clicking of the tools. You have to pay attention to your surroundings and the people in them. And, of course, you have to follow the instructions of people in authority in certain places too.

If I get the feeling that I am making someone nervous or uncomfortable, I will usually ask them about it. Even if they say they are OK, if they continue to act nervous, I will just put my project away and move on to my back up activity (which I always have. Sometimes that's just to ask if it is the needles that are bothering them, maybe they would be OK if I crochet? And show them the difference in the one blunt ended tool vs. the two needles. Crochet does seem to be less "in your face" than knitting to a lot of people. It seems to be less questioned on planes too. My projects are always small things that will not spread out and be in the way of anyone else as well.) And of course, if they outright say "How did they let you on here with those?" or "You're making me nervous with those." I apologize and put it away. In my experience, this has happened very very rarely. But airports and airplanes are somewhat special circumstances and people might already be nervous about flying in general or be feeling harassed by the process of travel. I see no reason to make someone more upset. It won't help me have a good trip to be close to someone very grumpy!

You might be surprised at how hot a topic for argument it is among knitters regarding where and when they can knit and what is considered rude or unacceptable. It's worse than arguing about politics or sports! Some knit for more than just a hobby for fun or to make good use of waiting times. For them, it is about a special strong need they have to keep their hands busy in order for them to stay mentally or physically calm, or to engage a certain part of their brain so that they can focus on other things (like a lecture.) Others say knitting in certain circumstances is rude or distracting to others (like during a lecture or a concert) and if you would not pull out a book and start to read, you should also not be knitting. That knitting in public is a privilege and not a right and so forth. I can understand the arguments on both sides and think much depends on the individual and the situation.

Oh--an one more little tidbit regarding putting things in your checked bags too. I have on a few occasions needed to bring some very special tools (either very expensive or heirlooms) on a flight with me. It's hard to decide if something like that should go in your checked bags or stay with you. Things can be stolen from checked bags, or the bags themselves go missing. In these cases, I have chosen to wrap the items in bubble wrap or some other sort of protection and carry them on with me, but not actually take them out and use them on during the flight. I've had no trouble with this, but it doesn't happen very often.

Ultimately, though, when it comes to knitting on airplanes and in airports, it's just best to prepare a back up plan.

Ruhr Area, Germany
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7. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

Normally I would never feel disturbed by somebody who is knitting in any public place, frankly I like to watch it, it´s somewhat calming, you know:-).

But knitting needles are very sharp and could be used as a weapon. We aren´t allowed to take small short scissors (for finger nails) or tiny pocket knifes, so I supposed that such, sometimes very thin, sharp and long knitting needles will be forbidden as well.

I guess that now some forumites will shake their heads about our "problems" but they are existing though:-))!

Edited: 22 November 2012, 13:10
Fort Worth, Texas
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8. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

"We aren´t allowed to take small short scissors (for finger nails) "

like mongrolmuppet says, it varies..my wife does embroidery..she has these little steel scissors she uses to cut thread. she has gotten through security several times with them. but they were always with her embroidery kit so maybe that does make a difference.

Kilmarnock
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9. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

Thank you - you have put my mind at rest, the plan is to be knitting socks on my travels which will be on cheap bamboo needles - I can always put a lifeline in or just ravel the sock and start again if they take my needles. I have flown to and from Canada (Glasgow and Heathrow) and never been questioned and I flew out of Chicago with needles and yarn in my bag the first time we went to the States but the Schipol link had me a bit worried. I will simply pop it in a zip lock sandwich bag in my carry on and hope for the best.

10. Re: Kinitting needles at Schiphol airport?

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