When I flew home, I knew I was going to be in trouble, and a bit of strategy was necessary. First of all, I flew out with quite a few of my double pointed needles, and I really, really wanted to return with all of them. I prepared for the eventuality of security seizing them by placing the metal ones in a padded envelope, weighing it at the Post Office, and traveling with enough stamps to mail them to myself from Seattle. But at the conclusion of the conference, my needles weren't neatly packed in their holder. I had several sets dispersed through my bags, stuck in samples, mittens, and other projects. It might look a little weirder to the scanner operator.
Secondly, I may have bought some yarn. Just a few balls here and there. Daily. Some was even given to me, and I really didn't want to look ungracious, so, I took it. May have found some, too, and you know what they say about "found" yarn. Then, there were the pamphlets and instructional handouts. And calendars. In any case, I was traveling home with more than I left with.
Once I reached the airport, I found a nook and put down my carry-on, purse, and two bags of yarn. My last purchase had been 1 gallon ziplocks. I opened the suitcase and put on my biggest/thickest/densest clothes, and started the clothing Tetris game. Every bit of space was utilized, and balls of yarn were squished into ziplocks. And... it all fit! I was thrilled! Then, I hoisted the backpack, staggering under the weight, and practiced a face which looked like it was as light as s feather. In retrospect, I'm not really sure what that means. I guess I tried to look happy and clueless -- perhaps not the best angle to approach security. I tried not to grunt when I hoisted my purse, and headed to security an hour early. There was no way the carry-on would fit into an overhead compartment, but I wasn't going to be the one to bring that up.
I queued and de-shoed and waited, inching forward through the "we see you nude" cameras, until I heard those decisive words, "will you step over here, ma'am?"
It was the backpack. I smiled and assured the lady that I had been to a knitting conference, and she probably will have never seen so much yarn in her life. She was very polite as she unzipped the backpack and promptly got both zippers gummed up in yarn. I gently released it, and she began the searching process. "Did I have tweezers in there?" No. Really, I had tweezers and dpns in my purse, but I have no idea what she was looking for in the suitcase, unless it was more needles. Evidently, she didn't know either as several minutes later, I was free to go, but, of course, the fun had just begun. Now we needed to fit everything back in.
She strained and pulled. I pushed and zipped, but I was hampered somewhat by uncontrollable laughter. She offered to sit on the case; I pushed and laughed. She finally called a brawny guy over and all three of us finished it off.
Hats off to you, LL Bean, for your strong zippers and fabric. I half expected it to explode with the force of yarn in the plane's cargo hold, and be delivered to me in a plastic bag, but, somehow, it held it together.
This is the final product, minus all my clothes and toiletries. That is, this is all the extra stuff I got on the trip for the most part.