Traveling with Your Embroidery

comments (6) September 17th, 2008     

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erika_kern Erika Kern, contributor
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Your embroidery, travel ready!
These are all the tools you need to travel with your work.
Pack your floss and project in separate bags so your project doesnt get dirty and your floss doesnt get tangled.
Your embroidery, travel ready!

Your embroidery, travel ready!

Photo: Erika Kern

It's no secret that travel is not as fun and glamorous as it once was. The last time I flew to New York for a craft show, I was stuck on the tarmac for five hours on my flight home due to a perfect storm of foolishness, computer problems, and weather. If Frank Sinatra were around today, he'd be singing more about staying in than flying away. Nowadays it's a frustrating combination of hurry-up-and-wait and mild-to-moderate fascism at the hands of the TSA. Here's a way to travel with your embroidery while still staying true to the seemingly ever-changing rules of flight.

The key to traveling with your embroidery is the zipper bag. Ideally you'll need one large and two medium zipper bags. In addition you'll need:

  • Your work
  • Your floss
  • Needles
  • Hoop
  • Small piece of felt
  • Blunt-tip kid's scissors

These are all the tools you need to travel with your work.

I also like to add a pencil and a safety pin to the mix. You probably won't need them for your work, but they're always handy when you run into a MacGyver moment or when your pattern's a bit faded.

Use the piece of felt to store your needles and pins (if you need them for any appliqué work). A needle case or envelope is amazingly handy in these situations, but the felt is great in a pinch and super if you want something that you don't mind losing on the road.

As for the scissors, this is not the time you want to pack those sweet, shiny fancy embroidery scissors your mom put in your Christmas stocking; this is a time for cheap kid's scissors. Sure, according to the TSA, "scissors—metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches" are allowed, but the site also says (in the traveling with knitting and needlework section) that the ultimate decision is up to the security officer on duty and some of them are rather gung ho with their confiscations. The scissors you want are found in the kid's art section of any store, friendly blunt-nosed scissors capable of cutting floss but ultimately unthreatening. Plus, if a security officer does take them from you, you're only out $2.

Once you've collected all your items, time to pack it all up.


Pack your floss and project in separate bags so your project doesn't get dirty and your floss doesn't get tangled.

It's always a good idea to keep your work out of the hoop when you're not working on it so that the fabric doesn't get distorted, plus it makes it easier to pack in your bag. Slide your work bag and your floss bag into the big bag, then throw in your hoop, needles, and scissors.


Your embroidery, travel ready!

Now you're ready to join the jet set! Or at least you're ready to kill time in the airport or on the tarmac as you wait to join the jet set . . . but no matter how you look at it, you're so ready.

Fly on, crafter, fly on!

posted in: embroidery, travel

Comments (6)

rabid_designs writes: For those of us who *need* sharp, pointed scissors for our embroidery (hardanger), US flights will allow you to take scissors on the plane as long as the blade is less than 4". My embroidery scissors are shorter than the maximum blade length so they never give me any trouble :)

I just need to remember to stop packing my needle storage tin in my carry-on bag. THAT trips up security!
Posted: 2:26 pm on December 27th
RubyKitty writes: If you're not packing relatively large stuff like an embroidery hoop, or if you just want a sturdy container for a sewing kit while you're traveling - try recycling the plastic case from a video cassette. You could pack one with lots of thread, needles, reels of cotton, and the case won't get squashed in the bottom of your bag. Best wishes Valerie
Posted: 3:12 pm on September 24th
stilllifemercantile writes: Super-duper post Erika! Just wanted to add that now is a good time to pick up those kiddie-safe scissors what with the sales on back-to-school-supplies that seem to be everywhere right now. Target in fact had many styles of safety-scissors on clearance near the Halloween costumes. Even picked up a rotary "x-acto" style cutting tool for $0.97!
Posted: 2:20 am on September 24th
smoose003 writes: I usually travel with a clover thread cutter and a clover yarn cutter. I have one in my embroidery bag and one in my knitting bag. Only once was I stopped in a small airport and they pulled out the yarn cutter asking what it was. The guy laughed when I told him and said "It isn't a chinese throwing star?". I have spoken with people that put the cutter on a cord around their neck to try and avoid TSA questions. While I can stitch on a plane doing it in a car makes me motion sick. I always carry knitting with me because I can do it in a car.
Posted: 9:14 am on September 22nd
erika_kern writes: Yeah. . . I once tried stitching on a long car ride and, though I'm not usually one for motion sickness, I thought I was gonna be sick. Lesson learned!
Posted: 1:03 pm on September 19th
Jen1964 writes: Thank YOU for clarifying about the scissors. I've run into this in courthouse security, going to jury duty. They laughed when they saw the kiddie scissors, and it helped me relax. I regularly carry scissors and thimble, when I'm going to sewing group. Sometimes I forget to take them out afterwards! My daughter has flown with her knitting internationally, and it's been o.k. but when we're in doubt, she packs it in her suitcase. Love to know the routines for the knitting needles. The only time we've had trouble embroidering was on the long drives when the road was bumpy. Imagine a vibrating chair, and you get the picture! Otherwise it's out of this world fun to craft as you travel.
Posted: 6:06 am on September 19th
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