Category Archives: organization

Nifty knitting things

When it comes to supplies, knitting has its fair share of stuff to stock up on. Needles and yarn, of course. A pair or two of scissors of some sort too. But then there are lots of things that you don’t necessarily have to have, but which can make knitting a lot easier – like stitch markers. And stitch holders. And counters. And something to keep your yarn stash and needles. Not to mention your works-in-progress. And then there are patterns – books, leaflets, downloads or however else you buy them. Knitting can be a fairly frugal hobby – you can buy inexpensive yarns and needles that work perfectly well, and there are plenty of free patterns to be had online. But it is nice to be able to splurge a little bit if you can.

I don’t buy a lot – nothing fancy or terribly expensive, although I do have to admit a weakness for Addi Turbo needles, because I love the slick metal needles and smooth joins. But I’ve discovered a few less expensive options that work almost just as well – the last pair I bought was from KnitPicks (the needles I’m currently using on my daughter’s socks), and I’ve heard of some others which I’d like to try someday, like Hiya Hiya or Kollage’s square needles.

I hadn’t originally thought much about stitch markers – I have a cheap package of them that I’d bought way back when I first started knitting but hadn’t really used much, mainly because I hadn’t needed to. Yet. On the smock top that I started recently, there’s a series of decrease rows. You don’t have to have stitch markers for them, but as I’m finding out – it makes it a lot easier if you do. And I also realized that the cheap ones I had don’t work very well because they’re made of thick plastic and it’s hard to knit over or around them.  So I went shopping on Etsy.

Oh my goodness, there are some beautiful things to be had on Etsy.com – and the best part is that they’re all handmade so you’re supporting other crafters and artisans. And prices can be really good too – I found a set of beautiful little stitch markers for only a few dollars. Not only do they work much better, with thin loops to go around the needles, but they make my project look prettier while I’m working on them. :)

StitchMarkers 003StitchMarkers 002

Speaking of Etsy, it’s also where I found my favorite knitting bag a while back – the shop is called KnittingsMyBag, and she makes knitting bags and needle cases that are sturdy, have lots of pockets to hold stuff and I love many of the fabrics she uses. My bag has held up extremely well for 1-1/2 years now and I wish I’d bought a matching one in a larger size when she had it available, because while this one is perfect to take along places and hold small projects, I’d love to have one to keep larger ones in too. I do have matching dpn case and little notions pocket that came with my bag though and love them as well.

KnittingBag

Up until now, I hadn’t had any good way to store circular needles, but this past weekend I visited a new yarn shop (new to me anyway) while in Holland, MI for a conference. It was a really cute shop and I could have spent much more time (and $) in there than I did, but I did find one thing that I splurged a little bit on with a gift card I’d won a few weeks ago. It’s a circular needle case from Offhand Designs and it holds a ton of circulars! Plus it’s got some dpn storage as well as a zippered pocket for notions and such. Perfect!

CircularCase

Don’t even get me started on yarn… And that’s the subject of a whole other post. I don’t have a huge stash – but that’s only due to financial and space restrictions. I love browsing through craft and yarn stores to see the different fibers and shades. And then trying to find the right project to match a specific yarn (or vice versa) – it’s one of the most fun parts of the craft.

I don’t have a stitch counter – and I’ll post more about why not and what I use instead in the future. I do have a small collection of pattern books – but I get most of my patterns from Ravelry or other online sources if I can. Having said that, I spent an hour at the bookstore a few weeks ago browsing through pattern books and looking for inspiration for a project and thoroughly enjoying myself.

There’s a lot more that can be said about the things that you use to knit and crochet with – and I’m sure I’ll get more into that in the future. It’s fun to be able to splurge a little every now and then – but also nice to not have to if you can’t. And to know that you’re making something useful as well in the end.  :)

Watch for my review of the new Sheep(ish) yarn from Caron coming up on May 28th!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week -2KCBWDAY3: Tidy mind, tidy stitches

One of the knitting-related blogs that I’ve discovered lately is called Eskimimi Knits, and I love seeing all of her projects. I also found out that she’s doing this great project called Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – which is a fun way to get a lot of crafty bloggers to all blog on certain themes and get to know each other better all week. I’m so glad that I found out about it just in time to participate! Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up every day – if you’re a knitting or crocheting blogger (you don’t have to have a blog dedicated to it), why doing you join in too? 

Today’s topic (2KCBWDAY3) is about organizing your knitting – or not. I don’t know that I really consider my knitting supplies ‘organized’ per se – I have them in several different locations, out of necessity since space is at a premium around here.

I have a little corner in our master bedroom, and that’s where most of my stuff is:

KnittingStash 001

But I also have some yarn stored in the basement – mostly yarn left over from my crocheting days though, basic worsted weight and baby yarn from when I used to make a lot of afghans. I really don’t even know what’s in there – that’s the yarn I need to sort through and probably get rid of a decent amount of.

KnittingStash 003

There are also a couple of half-finished crochet projects somewhere in those drawers – not only did I stop crocheting for a while because of hand pain, but I also stopped having babies, and so did most of my friends. Someday I’d like to finish the last couple of blankets – but I’ve discovered that I enjoy knitting a lot more than crocheting, so I have no idea when.

There is one last, very special, stash of yarn that I have. It’s stored in my closet:

KnittingStash 002

This bin was brought here in its entirety, almost exactly a year ago after my aunt died. She had taken up crocheting after she retired, and was well known in the family for making afghans. Always the same ripple pattern – just the size and colors varied. I have one of them over the back of our couch right now, and my mom has several as well.

After the funeral, we all went over to my aunt’s house and my cousin asked if there was anything that I wanted. Knowing that I knit, she offered me her mom’s remaining stash of yarn, so I brought the bin home with me. Some of the yarns are ones that I will likely use and some are colors or yarns that I’m not fond of. I plan to donate the yarn that I won’t use, and at some point want to figure out something special to make with the rest of it – I just haven’t sat down and looked through to sort it all out yet. In a way, I think I’ve been putting it off on purpose, but now that it’s been a year, I really need to get that done.

I have a few things scattered in other places – my current project is in a bag on the couch, so I can grab it whenever I have a few extra minutes. And I can think of at least 2 cupboards or drawers where I’ve got needles and books. Someday, I hope to have a ‘craft’ room of my own, or at least a portion of a room. Then again, if I had more space, my yarn stash would likely grow out of control, so it’s probably for the best. :)

There’s another type of organization to consider – I do track and organize my current and past knitting projects (plus needles, yarns and patterns) on Ravelry, as well as on an iPhone app called KnitMinder. I love the app, because I always have my phone with me and I can take pictures of my work as I go right with it too. And there’s a built-in counter, which also comes in very handy too.

Come back tomorrow to hear the fates of some of my past knitting projects!