If you’ve been summoned for jury duty, you might be wondering if you can bring your crochet with you to keep you busy while you wait for hours. But are you allowed to crochet during jury duty?
Many courthouses prohibit crochet hooks, but some places still allow it. You may be able to ask if crochet hooks are allowed by calling ahead, or checking your county’s courthouse website for a list of prohibited items. If in doubt, bring a cheap hook you’re willing to lose, or arrive early so you have time to return the hook to your car. You may be allowed to crochet while you’re waiting in the assembly room to undergo selection. But if you’ve been chosen to sit on a jury, you won’t be allowed to crochet during the trial.
Also, note the different parts of jury duty. First, you’ll be sent to a large assembly room. Here, you’ll be waiting to be called into the courtroom. At this time, you’re free to read, and if it’s allowed, you can crochet.
However, after that, you may be called into the courtroom for “voir dire,” which is when you’ll be asked questions by the judges and attorneys. During voir dire, you won’t be allowed to crochet, because you’re expected to provide your full attention to what’s being presented to you. For the same reason, if you are chosen to sit on a jury, you will not be permitted to crochet during the trial.
What Should I Know Before I Bring My Crochet?
If you already checked your county’s site and didn’t see that crochet hooks on the list of prohibited items, you may think you’ve got a pretty solid green light.
But your crochet hooks may still be denied entry under the rationale that it can be used dangerously to harm others. A little preparation may save you from losing your favorite hook.
The Rules May Be Subject to Interpretation by the Guard
Whether or not you can get your crochet hook through security may depend on the Courthouse or guard on duty.
Many crocheters have said that they were allowed through just fine in the morning, but upon returning from their lunch break, were made to give up their crochet hook.
Yet another anecdote shared on a crochet forum involved a woman who had her yarn and crochet hook confiscated at security. She saw someone knitting in the courthouse, and confronted the front desk about the unfairness. They returned her crochet supplies and allowed her to crochet.
I’ve also heard of a crocheter who tried to bring in a very thin crochet hook, the type for crocheting thread. She was asked to throw her hook out because it was so thin at the tip, that it could pose a danger. Because of this, you may want to avoid bringing a very thin hook.
Arrive Early to Save Your Hook
As a result, if you’re driving, arrive early and try to park closer, if you can. That way, if your crochet hook isn’t allowed, you may have enough time to return to your car and put your hook away. Otherwise, you may have to throw it out.
Sometimes, they’ll let you keep it in a bin with other prohibited items, which you’ll pick up on your way out. But don’t rely on this, as not every courthouse has it, and someone may accidentally (or intentionally) take your hook.
Bring a Cheap Plastic or Bamboo Hook
You may need to go through a metal detector. As a result, it’s recommended that you bring a cheap plastic, wood, or bamboo crochet hook. That way, it won’t trip the metal detector, and the security guard may let you through.
Cheap plastic hooks go for just a few dollars at big box craft stores, and they’re great for getting through airport security, too.
Bring Alternatives to Scissors
Scissors are most likely going to be prohibited, even if they’re blunt tipped.
But there are still plenty of other ways you can cut yarn.
Nail clippers would work just fine, and most courthouses allow them.
You can also get yourself a yarn cutting pendant. This is a round blade embedded inside a metal pendant, so it looks like a large piece of jewelry.
A third inconspicuous option is to bring a tiny container of dental floss – the kind that has a metal bar on top for cutting the floss. You can use this part to cut yarn.
Other Ways to Pass the Time
As a backup option, you may want to bring other ways to pass your time that don’t require a hook.
You may want to experiment with finger crochet. There are plenty of patterns out there that use your fingers in lieu of the hook. You just might need a larger weight of yarn.
Note that some courthouses have Wi-Fi, but it may be too slow, or may require payment. Cell phone reception may be limited, especially in older buildings made of thicker materials. If you do bring something to read or watch, download it to your phone or tablet for offline access, or bring a printed copy.
There are generally no restrictions for bringing in printed material, so you shouldn’t have to worry about having these taken away.
Books and magazines about crochet can be a fun way to get your yarncraft fix without worrying about security. Don’t have any? Visit your local library before your jury duty date and check out a few crochet books. You may learn some new techniques or find some new, pretty patterns!
You can also bring a book of crosswords, sudokus, or other puzzles to pass the time. Don’t forget to bring a pen or pencil!
Listen to music or an audiobook on your phone, or download a movie ahead of time to watch. Don’t bank on there being a strong enough reception, even if you’re normally able to stream. Also, it’s a good idea to bring earphones or headphones, because you may not be allowed to play sounds out loud.
If you’re particularly diligent, you may be able to get work or studying done. Written and printed material is generally allowed. Otherwise, you can bring a laptop or a tablet.
You may want to pack a charger so that you won’t have to ration your battery.
Other Tips for a Smooth Jury Duty Experience
Bring food and water. You may be waiting for a while, and the selection of food near the courthouse may be minimal, unhealthy, or expensive.
Bring cash in case you need it for parking, or for snacks and drinks from the vending machine. Some lunch spots may also not take credit.
Ask for a quiet room or a lounge. Some courthouses have rooms set aside that are specifically meant to be quiet. You may find this more comfortable.
Don’t be afraid to talk to others – most likely the people there who didn’t bring anything to do are bored, too. Who knows, you may even make a new friend!
If you have a portable power bank or battery pack that you can use to charge your phone, in case you can’t secure a seat next to an available outlet.
Lastly, try to keep a positive attitude. Yes, the rules against crochet hooks may seem silly, because pens and pencils of the same size (and with sharper ends) are allowed to go through.
But please understand that the security guards did not make the rules, but they must enforce them.