At one point, I couldn’t remember the last time I bought knitting needles. They are the tools of a knitters trade and come in much more of a variety of types and sizes than crochet hooks. Each time I use a set of needles, I am reminded of all the previous projects I knit. Long straight medal needles in pastel colours, with unfamilar numbered sizes (pre Canada metric, when there was still Canadian and American sizes) which I used for making long scarfs in high school, various lengths and sizes of circular needles from back when I knit fair isles sweaters, small double pointed needles, which I believe were passed down to me, and plastic grey, neon orange and neon green, which I used for making mittens.
At one point my mom sewed me a needle holder to hold my long straight needles. For each project, I roll it out, sit back and admire the needles for awhile. Some have no connection to a project, as they were given to me at some point and I still have not used. But now it was time to think big, and due to the current bulkiness of the the yarn now available, I really needed needles in the 6.6-15mm range. It had become a think big or stay home scenario! I was excited to see that needles now come in bamboo! I love knitting with wood and already had a small wooden set of straight needles. The bamboo circular needles are connected by a small transparent tube unlike the wire to plastic needle connections I already owned. The tube easily folds between stitches through your work, so there is no need to transfer the project from circular needles to double pointed, when decreasing for finishing. I don’t yet know how long the needles will stand up to so radically bending the tube, but I am certainly putting them through a test stage. I try to keep all my double pointed and circular needles in their original containers, so I can identify them quickly for a project. I have the straight long needles arranged by size. The other needles in the bin never last through a project without coming out of order.
A needle gauge is a necessary tool. I have a medal one, with a 6″ ruler on one side, and metric ruler on the other side. I always measure my needles before use, as I don’t trust myself that I returned the needle to its correct package. I use a small plastic bin for holding the items, which includes a small pair of scissors, sewing needles and crochet hooks. I recently “stole” a waterproof container on a cord from Michael that he picked up at the boat show . I now use this to store my one remaining sewing needle. It is over kill, but I lost so many needles over the years that I find this works perfectly for storing small items! I also use a carpenter’s rigid retractable measuring tape. I like to lay out my stuff on a flat surface, then measure with something rigid rather than use a fabric tape measure. My 6″ ruler is rigid and not long enough to measure my hats at 8.5″ or 6.5″ before decreasing.
My loose patterns and many of my vintage pattern books are kept in a zippered portfolio binder. I put full page ones in plastic sleeves and add to the three ring binder portion. The loose ones are divided filed by yarn type 4, 5, 6, etc in the filling section.
When knitting, I place the ball of yarn in a plastic grocery store bag tied at the top. There are different ideas out there, and I chose to use plastic bags as I never have to keep them with the knitting supplies and can grab a new one at each use. Balls of partially used yarn can be permanently stored in these bags. Problem that these bags aren’t transparent so I can’t see what I have! My latest idea is to use large zip lock bags instead of grocery store bags. They can be zipped up to a small opening to let the yarn spin inside, while knitting and stored and easily identified!