Saturday, January 15, 2011

What’s in YOUR Carry-on!?

I did just what I said I’d do yesterday! I focused on SEWING and I have blocks sewn into rows, and rows ready to assemble into a top! YAY! It felt great. I’ll be working on that more today.
I’ve enjoyed some evening stitching the past few nights, though Oscar decided that he’d had enough of me shooing him off my legs or lap every time I needed to readjust the quilt in the hoop, and found THIS cozy spot! Doesn’t he look content?
Last evening Mary asked me to show a picture of what I travel with. She wrote on our Quiltville Friends Facebook Page:
bonnie..could you please show us the tools you take on your plane trips that are allowed? i would love to sew on my trips but i am not sure what is permitted any more!
I thought this was a great idea! I am NOT traveling light this trip! I am leaving early Sunday morning for San Diego where I’ll be visiting with the Canyon Quilters Guild on Monday, and Tuesday I head up for the Road to California Quiltshow! Then on Monday early early I fly to Louisiana to visit with the Quilters Guild Acadienne in Lafayette, and then over to Baton Rouge for the River City Quilters, and finally over to the Day Dreamers Quilt Guild in Prairieville! ((sorry they have no link!)) I’ll be gone 2 weeks – 2 weeks full of fun and quilters! How do you pack for 2 weeks gone?
((BTW, I love being in Louisiana this time of the year! I’m Ragin’ for some Cajun!))
This is how I am traveling! My two big duffel bags are filled with 50lbs of quilts each! I have a suitcase for clothes—and the demo and class stuff I’ll need both for the Road to California show and the Louisiana classes. Those are all CHECKED baggage, luckily! But this….is how we roll:

**NOTE** This post was originally written years ago. I understand that the Avanti Rolling Tote has changed models and the bottom is NOT as roomy as this one ---please check before buying one that it WILL fit your featherweight.

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This is my “Rick Steves” Avanti Rolling Tote! It fits under the seats on the plane, even the small commuter planes. This is important to me because a lot of the other bags have to be checked plane-side on the smaller planes. I don’t want my laptop or my featherweight subjected to the baggage compartment and freezing temps! ((BTW, Until I wrote this post I had no idea WHO Rick Steeves is…but he made good luggage! Now I know! ))

The front cover has a big zipper…and this is where my wallet, boarding passes, chap stick, pens, “purse stuff” goes. I don’t fly with a purse. Too much too much too much. Empty purse goes in the clothing bag and is checked. This wheelie bag has two side pockets, one for a water bottle and one for my phone! I go through security with the water bottle empty and fill it once I’m past security. I also keep those individual crystal light packets with me in the zipper pouch if I’m wanting something flavored. There is also a zipper below that big opening for things like phone charger cords, etc.
And yes, behind the big opening is ANOTHER zipper to a padded compartment for my laptop and kindle.
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My featherweight fits just GREAT in the space provided! I put it backwards because it makes more space in the front for my busy-bag and the other zipper bag ((shown in pic above with the flip flops!)) for all the other cords we have to travel with…
See that flat tan thing behind the featherweight? It’s another compartment, and I keep one of those reuseable fabric grocery bags there folded flat, just in case I need to take home MORE than my Rick Steves bag can handle. We are allowed two carry-ons….and I keep this one just in case!
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Of course you’ve seen this…a lot! And I still love it! Yes, it could be prettier, but I figure form follows function and I’d rather stitch hexagons than spend the time trying to make a prettier bag. The zipper pouch to the far LEFT holds all my sewing necessities:
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Randy made me the blue zipper bag with the phones and scottie dogs on it! I keep my paper hexes in there. There is my spool of aurifil thread, the weird greeny-grey that I’ve been using. And my little needle book….I’ve got some pins and needles pinned into it, and there are more needles tucked down inside that pocket behind the scissors. The scissors are small enough they fit inside the needle book pocket. This keeps them from poking holes through anything, and I am less likely to lose them if they are contained!
And of course…my ever present ipod, with the pink ear buds! I did tell you that since I switched to pink ear buds that they don’t go missing anymore? The men folk don’t seem to want to be caught dead wearing pink ear buds, so I’m safe! Rolling on the floor laughing


  1. Airport security allows scissors? That's good to know...

  2. I have pink earbuds too! But mine have the behind the ear thing so they don't fall out when I excercise :) You are a seasoned traveler... I always tell people I can pack for a week in a backpack including full size shampoo and conditioner and hair dryer LOL

  3. Anonymous10:06 AM EST

    Rick Steeves is a travel guide writer. He has (had?)'a travel show on PBS too.

  4. I am not much of an air traveler, but I do my hand piecing around town, watching TV, and on short auto trips. I picked up some wonderful tips from this, Bonnie. Thank you.

  5. Some airport security still take scissors......the rules are not universally followed by every agent. Seems the agents have a lot of autonomy when it comes to the rules.
    I have had my taken many times as recently as October.

    I don't know how you do it with such joyfulness!
    So many days away from home.
    but I hope to see you this Spring in NY :0).

    Happy sewing and safe travels.....hope you get to keep your scissors too!

  6. I have also had my scissors taken from me at airports...twice! Even the little bitty stork ones. But, I found out that they don't care about blunt nose scissors so that is what I took the last time I flew. They never said a peep about them.

  7. Anonymous11:03 AM EST

    Hey Bonnie,

    You can watch Rick Steeves on PBS, check your local listings. Looking at that bag with a sewing machine in it makes me incredulous that it fits under a plane seat, LOL. You should write another book for quilters who travel.

    Have a great trip.

    Gail :)

  8. I will be flying (for the first time!) next month to see my son in California. Thanks for the info, I have been wondering how to pack for hand sewing. I read somewhere about a quilter who takes her dental floss in her sewing kit to use for thread cutting. I figured out that Glide brand floss containers will hold a filled bobbin and the thread will feed through right to the cutter. I think I'll pack a couple of those rather than take a chance on losing my scissors as Kim has.

  9. Thanks for the good info Bonnie! I'm not planning to fly in the immediate future, but this is good to know. I did have my scissors taken away one time I flew out of Chicago, they were tiny little manicure scissors but with points. But another time I flew out of Chicago I got through security, arrived at my destination, stuck my hand in my pocket and discovered a small pocket knife I had left there from a Boy Scout outing. That, they didn't discover! Amazing! It went in my checked luggage for the trip home but you never know what they might find or overlook.

  10. This is a great post Bonnie. You sure have the packing figured out for efficiency. I never thought about not carrying the purse!
    That carry on bag is perfect! I love how streamlined you are. :) Happy travels!

  11. Bonnie, you are so efficient. I'm sure everyone has learned something about packing from this post, whether we fly or not! Betty, I'd not heard about the dental floss container before - what a great idea. I usually take along scissors I can do without in case they get confiscated, but I also take along one of those Clover pendants that has a blade inside it in case the scissors are taken.

  12. hi Bonnie, thanks for showing your luggage - this rolling tote is just fitting the FW! that's a dream, will start sewing on mine soon. Never saw such a clever tote here - too bad the postage is sooo high - have a safe travel

  13. I see no makeup items or personal hygiene items.
    Do you buy them when you arrive at your destination?
    XOXOXO Subee

  14. What a great career you have!!!!!

  15. Love all of your tips. Enjoy CA and keep us posted.

  16. Anonymous5:09 PM EST

    Thanks for sharing, the scissors would be a no no here in Australia.
    I found flying in the US very stressful as passengers can take so much hand luggage and it doesn't always leave enough space for the last people to come on board to even put one bag up in the overhang space and while it is fine for a smaller, slender person to have a bag down by the seat, it isn't that great for any one else We did eleven flight in as many days and must say it was the worse time flying I ever had.
    Have a great time.

  17. that is a great bag - I had not thought to find one that I could fit my featherweight in. When you go through security what do they do to check the sewing machine out? Do you have to take it out of the bag and look it over or anything? I have taken to wearing one of those little disc necklaces that cuts thread I didn't think you could take scissors unless they were blunt edge. I went to the amazon site where the bag was listed - which bag is it that you have that fits the featherweight?

  18. You are so organized! I should bookmark this in case we ever fly...doubtful, we always drive.
    The pink thing...I try to get pink everything just so my men don't steal my stuff! Or I write warning notes on things just so it stays in the house! Things like my hammer, tape measure, rake, so far that has also worked!

  19. Bonnie, thanks. This was really helpful. Do you know how big of a laptop would fit in that bag? I have a 17" monster (bigger than what I should have bought) and have difficulty finding a bag. I would love this bag! Thanks for all these great tips.

    BTW, if I buy pink stuff, that's when it disappears! My 6-year-old daughter asconds with it!

  20. I meant "absconds." Sorry!

  21. Anonymous6:44 PM EST

    Now THAT'S organisation LOL.

  22. Anonymous6:47 PM EST

    Wow, that is amazing! I don't fly but oh my, that would take a lot of work just packing! You do great! Love your new site... ~Take Care

  23. I love it! Thank you for sharing!! The onlyyy thing missing - a camera! <3

  24. just loved this episode of Bonnie. great info for traveling.

  25. Great post, Bonnie! Thanks for sharing such great info. I have been looking at the Tutto.com totes as well. Kind of like the one you have though. Happy, safe travels!

  26. Just an FYI for those that are worried about bringing scissors onboard...here is a link to the OFFICIAL TSA prohibited items list: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm

    As you can see it specifically says "Scissors - metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches". So make SURE that the blades are shorter than 4 inches....print out a copy of this from their website and ask for a supervisor if the minon gives you any trouble. I had one argue with me about it, got a supervisor and minon got a lecture about following the published rules. They are NOT supposed to have any wiggle room...if those blades had been 4 1/4" I'd be outta luck, but the whole reason (per the supervisor) that they PUBLISH the rules is so that "the people" can know what to expect.

    So...print the rules and keep your TSA agent well informed about his job, lol.

    I did this because I had read about some quilters losing their precious scissors, so I called and asked if the rule was still valid, was told it was and told to speak with a supervisor if I had any trouble (but assured I wouldn't, lol). So I printed the page so I had it to show. T'aint no way they were keeping my Ginghers!

  27. Anonymous3:24 PM EST

    I took your advice and went out and purchased the "Avanti" Rolling Tote for my travels. It will be perfect for my traveling adventures!

    And you are right...my 221 Featherweight fits perfect. I am anxious to try it out...I fly to Florida in 3 weeks. I won't be taking the machine on this trip but maybe to quilt retreats in April and June.

    Thanks for the great info Bonnie!


    Elaine in SLO, Ca

  28. RICK STEEVES!!!! hahahahah

  29. love your bag!!!! i think i would bundle the charging cords and put them in around the sewing machine. that would leave the other pockets for a dvd to watch on the computer while flying. or snacks to supplement the skimpy airline fare.

  30. love that bag!!! i think i would put the charger cords around the sewing machine. that would open up the pockets for a dvd to watch on the plane, or snacks to supplement the skimpy airline fare.

  31. sewing machines are not allowed on flights within Australia nor are scissors

  32. I need one of those bags. Thank you for sharing your travel secrets. I am also looking for a featherweight for traveling.

  33. Anonymous9:15 AM EST

    worst case if you are worried about scissors, a thread cutting pendant is a fabulous idea. http://www.amazon.com/Clover-Thread-Cutter-Pendant-Antique/dp/B001DEJM8I

  34. first thing I saw was a beautiful white cat and wondered right away if that was a good idea -) yep--hexies or yo-yos! or maybe even crochet with a plastic hook :-) *~*CAROLE*~*

  35. In a million years, I never would have thought to take an empty water bottle through security and fill it at a fountain on the other side. Brilliant! No more $2.50+ water for me!

  36. Anonymous10:46 PM EDT

    I gave up on scissors but nobody has ever ever blinked at nail clippers.....
    Maria in Tucson

  37. Anonymous11:01 PM EST

    Hello all. I'm a TSA "minion"...such a flattering title. Anyway you can bring scissors that are 4 inches or less from the fulcrum. As for sewing machines, sometimes we want to give them a swipe, sometimes we don't. We're checking for things that go boom. That area on vintage machines that are filled with grease are especially interesting looking on the xray. We do not want your stuff. We want you to take it and have a good flight. We do not willy nilly make up rules as we go along. We do have some discretion as to possibly allowing something onto an aircraft that is normally prohibited. Grouchy people will not likely be bringing their yogurt or bowl of chili on the plane. Just saying.

  38. I took my Featherweight to Hawaii in July and went through security without a hitch, but on the way back, my husband and I somehow switched carryons and even though he has the priority security thing, he got grilled because they said "It looks like a sewing machine" And he was so flustered and embarrassed about having a sewing machine that he turned all red and made it worst Im sure!


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