Saturday, August 9, 2008

What a Knitter Needs

Congratulations go out to Ellen Fischler, who won our Kiwi Blog Anniversary Contest! Ellen won a gorgeous Della Q knitting bag, a $30 gift certificate for a project to fill the bag with, and a one-hour private lesson with yours truly.

I love, love, love bags of all sorts, and knitting bags especially. For me, one of the best things about buying a new bag is the process of moving in to it. You know, deciding which things will go where for maximum convenience, and just how much you can carry around with you on a daily basis.

As well as the ever-beautiful Della Q bags, we have some of the gorgeous Namaste knitting bags in the shop now, which I lust after strongly. As soon as I have one in my possession, the following is what I would be putting into it. Call it my list of things that every knitter needs, at one time or another.

1- A bag should be big enough to have a suitable spot to stick a copy of your pattern so that you don't have to fold it to get it into the bag. It should be within easy reach when you need it, and easy to put away when you don't.

2- A small tool case that will fit all the small odds and ends that we need so often. We have some very cute ones in the shop right now, or if you like to show off your talents, mine is one of my Knitter's Felted Tool Cases, (pattern also available at Kiwi Knitting) and it fits everything I need, including:
-A small compartmented box with small stitch markers perfect for separating repeats in patterns, coilless pins for marking particular rows, and fancy beaded markers for when I want to be wild.
-Another small compartmented box holding Chibi bent-tip needles for weaving in ends and sewing knitted pieces together, yarn darning needles for yarn embroidery, cable needles, a needle threader, needle holders and point protectors.
-A small glass dropper bottle with water for wet-splicing yarns.
-A packet of knitting marking pins to use when sewing up sweater parts.
-One of several measuring tapes which I have stashed all through my bag and around the house.
-A small calculator for figuring yardage for yarn requirements, and calculating increases and decreases.
-A 6" calibrated metal ruler for measuring gauge.

3- A set of crochet hooks from sizes 1.25, 1.5 and 1.75 mm for beading, through size B up to K. Excellent for rescuing lost stitches, repairing stitches gone wrong, and working great crocheted trims on knitted pieces or crocheted chains for those times when you just can't face I-cord.

4- A yarn cutting disc for quick cuts.
5- A small, very sharp pair of scissors for detail work.
6- An electronic row counter to help me to keep track of where I am in a pattern.
7- An interchangeable needle set for emergencies.
8- The package for the needles I'm currently working with, along with any needles I might need later in the project.
9- A sticky note pad for making notes to myself about any changes I might want to make in the pattern, as well as a small spiral notebook for writing down ideas or reminders for myself, or info to share with other knitters.
10- A package of Thimble-Its for those times when I have been working too long with small needles and have punched a sore hole in the pad of my right index finger, but can't stop knitting anyway.
11- A pen for marking changes in a pattern, and a highlighter to highlight the sizes and stitch counts I'm using in a multi-size pattern.
12- Personal things like waterless hand cleaner for cold and flu season, a spare asthma inhaler, mints and eyeglass cleaner.
13- A ball of waste yarn, and a ball of white worsted yarn for quickly demonstrating techniques or trying something out before applying it to my project.
14- A pair of elastic hand mitts for wrist support because I knit too darned much - according to non-believers, and according to my wrists.
15- My MP3 player with earphones loaded with audio books that I've downloaded from the library website.

Now some of these things I need only once in a while, but they are very convenient to have on hand - because when you need them, you really, really need them. Others I use every day, both in my own knitting and when teaching other knitters.

I'd love to hear what all of you carry around in your knitting bags! Send a comment and give us some new ideas by clicking below on the word 'COMMENTS' that you see following this post.

Also, do you have a question about knitting or crochet, or want me to write about something that you want to know more about? Leave a message in the comments, or email me at Lynda at Kiwiknitting dot com



Marianne said...

I agree with all your stuff except I don't need the inhaler and I just spit on my splices (I can't believe I just told that). Anyway, one other thing for me that I borowed from the quilting world, it's a little round rubber disc that helps me pass needles thru wool. Often, the strength in my hands are lacking and that grasp and pull motion can be darn near impossible with out this aid. It looks like a tiny jar opener!

Lauren said...

Lynda, you're so organized!! Whenever I travel with my craft projects, it goes like this:

1) Locate the actual bag. It's a tote bag from the bookshop I worked at as a shiftless youth. Ah, memories. It's usually under a pile of clothes.
2) Yarn and needles and/or hooks go in next.
3) Stitch markers and those things that go on the pointy end of the needle so your stuff doesn't fall off.
4) Craft scissors and yarn needles. My bag is a regular old tote, but it does have a little velcro pocket in it, perfect for my needles and odds 'n ends.
5) My DS. When I travel with my crafts I'm usually going to my mom's, and sometimes I'm there long enough that I switch to my DS. :o
6) Oh yeah, the pattern. Sometimes that's necessary and sometimes it isn't. RIght now I'm crocheting granny hexagons so I don't need to throw my notebook in too.

I suppose that's the much-less-professional side of knitting. ;)