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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Knitting Needle Alert

We spent ten newsless days in Mexico lounging in tepid water seeking relief from the heat most hours of the day and night. So, if there had been a world wide emergency we were not aware of it.

What has this to do with knitting needles? Well... let me explain. I happily knit all the way from LAX to our connection in Guadalajara with a 3 hour layover. I had a brioche stitch gaiter on my Denise needles that was way over due for my sister-in-law. The pattern had given me trouble and I had torn out and restarted so many times, I had put it away in frustration. Determined to finish it on this trip, I planned to surprise her with the ironic cold weather accessory during the hottest week of our lives. The yarn was a beautiful Italian silk, cashmere and wool blend in a color that matched Rocky and Johns touring Harley. What to wear with head-to-toe leather. I finished and delivered. All was well. On with the vacation.

In anticipation of an equally long and tedious flight home I had packed pale green Cotton Rich by Cascade Yarns in DK weight. The pattern was a free download from Knitting Daily and I brought four different circular needles to perfect my swatch and gauge. In a clear zip bag were some stitch markers, 3 inch scissors, and the round end caps to make my Denise needles into stitch holders.

We sailed through customs and got our boarding passes. We checked four bags and headed to security and our gate. Husband through, check. Daughter through, check. Marsha through, Halt! No knitting needles in the Puerto Vallarta airport. No English from the Captain of security. The family standing past the search area wringing their hands and calling out "We will buy you new needles, quit arguing!" Me, at the end of my rope, standing up for Knitters of the world, refusing to give up my SAFE needles! Waving my TSA print out, I requested an English speaking rep from the airlines and waited for some help. My knight in shining armor showed up.

The problem was they did not see my ticket with the baggage claim stamps on them. The Captain of security assumed I was lying to him about putting the needles in my checked bags and was hell bent on taking everything. He was especially flummoxed by the end caps and thought I was carrying something very dangerous in those round discs. Once he understood that I had checked bags to put my needles in, he let me go with the Aeromex man.

As my family watched, he took me through a hidden door in the wall and I disappeared down a secret staircase to the check-in counter where I had started. He whistled down the conveyor belt and magically my husbands suitcase appeared. The needles went into the suitcase and I rejoined my relived family. They thought I was being taken by the Federal's to a dank prison for crazy knitters. We thought our ordeal was over. I was unhappy and empty-handed. A quick flight to Guadalajara and another wait.

Finally, we were on the way to board our final leg to home sweet home. One final inspection by the security agents took place in the jet way- a first for me. An excited agent started to point and exclaim about food in my bag. Lettuce, a big bag of lettuce was being smuggled in my carry on! It turned out to be my Cascade yarn, of course! The final insult to knitters everywhere. Happy to be home, I remain discouraged that I can knit one way of the same journey in peace and comfort, yet cannot return with the same sense of security.

Knitters, BEWARE. I thought we were over this foolishness. Anyone else having trouble?

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