Take Care of Your Tools and They Will Take Care of You

Occasionally, my husband “helps” me by running the vacuum in the family room. He really does a good job, because he takes the time to retrieve stray stitch markers from beneath the coffee table and chairs. I must dig these items out of the chair and sofa cushions myself as he insists that his hands are too big for such a job. I have probably have lost at least a package or two of stitch markers and a random knitting needle between the cushions of the sofa. Generally, I am not careless with my knitting tools; but if I am in the middle of a row and a marker pops off of my needle, it almost always lands on the floor or slips down that narrow space between the cushions. Once I start knitting, I hate having to stop knitting to look for markers or any other tool.

Tool tray to keep at your side

I have tried several techniques for keeping track of my slippery little markers and other knitting tools. Some of these ideas were better than others. One good one — keeping a small, shallow dish close to my chair so that I can reach markers and scissors (I love Super Snips Mini scissors) at hand. This cute little dish was a gift from a friend.

Since I like to be able to pack up my knitting and go (I knit in planes, cars, and waiting rooms), organizing my essential tools into small portable containers that fit into a medium size tote works the best for me.

Plastic bead organizer with knitting supplies

After trying several containers such as a plastic pencil box and zipper bags (including Ziplock plastic bags), I settled on a bead box that I found in a hobby store. The box is really two in one. The top section is subdivided and is perfect for keeping different stich markers, point protectors, end caps, etc., tidy. When I need a ring marker, I don’t have to dig through a pile of different kinds of markers as they are all organized into neat little compartments. The bottom section of the box is large enough to hold my cable needles, Fix a Stitch, scissors, crochet hooks, etc. The overall size of the box is only 5” x 8” and 2” deep. It tucks easily into my tote and pretty much holds everything I might need for an on-the-go project.

Interchangeable needle set

Aside from my yarn and an Audible book, a set of interchangeable needles is pretty much it. Like many knitters, I have several sets of knitting needles, but my favorite by far is the Knitter's Pride Karbonz Interchangeable Circular Deluxe Set. The needles work like a charm and the set includes 9 pairs of 4.5" tips in US sizes 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. The set also includes 4 cables (one 24", two 32", and one 40"), 8 end caps, 4 cable keys, and a set of needle size ID tags, all organized in a fabric zippered case. There is room to tuck a couple of sets of larger needles and dpns into the case. A very compact and tidy setup that tucks right into my tote.

I haven’t totally solved the problem of disappearing stitch markers; however, I am better organized and having my tools handy makes knitting much more relaxing. What more could I want in new year?

J'Ann's tote

Essential tools include:

Stitch markers (ring, open, distinctive
     beginning of row marker)
Point protectors
Susan Bates Silvalume Handi Tool
Universal knit counters
End caps and cable keys
Spring tape measure
Super Snips Mini
Fix-a-stich tool
Highlighter tape
Crochet hooks
Brittany Cable Needles
4” double pointed needs
Susan Bates Knit Chek
Interchangeable needle set