KCBW6, Day 4: Bags of Fun

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Today’s prompt is to share the contents of our knitting bag, crafting caddy, or other tool organization system with you.  I don’t usually use a knitting bag and I don’t have a bag dedicated to that purpose.  I keep each WIP in its own gallon-sized Ziploc bag which contains the yarn, needles, pattern, embellishments (like beads) or unusual tools needed for the project.  When I will be crafting out of the house, I might just grab one of the WIP Ziplocs and toss it in my purse.  If I will be working on multiple projects or the project is large, I’ll put everything into an appropriately sized bag to make it easier to carry.  While I have a pretty impressive stash of yarn and fiber, I don’t have an extensive tool collection.  I like my tools streamlined and multifunctional.  It’s fun to dig through my stash, looking for just the right fiber.  Once I find it, I want to get to work with as little fuss as possible!

I’m writing this post a few days after the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts (see my blog post about that), when I spent two entire days in the Weavers of Orlando booth, doing demos.  On Saturday, I mostly spun and on Sunday I mostly wove.  I also brought a knitting project with me.  This is the most stuff I ever carry at a time, so I figured I would take pictures of everything in the bag.  It’ll give you a good sense of the scope of my tools.

My Knit Kit

I love my Knit Kit.  It’s the one thing I carry with me wherever I’m crafting.  It fits in my purse and it’s got all the everyday tools I might need in a pinch.  I had a Knit Kit, but left it at my sister’s when I was helping her move, so I just bought a new one at Distaff Day in January.

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It’s got a row counter, double-ended crochet hook, tape measure, and blade built into it.  The cover on the bag is a needle / hook sizer.  The interior compartment holds a pair of folding scissors, stitch markers, and tip protectors.  I never use tip protectors and don’t like the rubber stitch markers, so I removed them and stocked the back with my own preferred tools:

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Two tapestry needles, a sewing needling, a key for KnitPicks interchangeable needles, lobster claw clasps, gourd safety pins, and jump rings with interior dimensions of 3mm, 5 mm, 8 mm, and 10 mm.

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I use the jump rings as stitch markers.  I use the lobster claw clasps and the gourd safety pins (available on Amazon (affiliate link)) as row markers.

Spinning Supplies

Of course, I had the Cormo that I’m currently spinning.

I had extra bobbins, just in case I filled the one on the wheel.

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I had the two metal posts for my built-in lazy Kate, the ball of yarn I’m using for leaders, and spinning wheel oil.  I take the metal posts of the lazy Kate out of the wheel when I’m transporting it so that they don’t damage my car.

 

Weaving Supplies

I had a pile of warping sticks.  I brought some with me to place around the knots as I wound the beginning part of the weaving on the cloth beam.  The rest of these came out of the weaving.  They’re dirty because they fell out of the weaving on to the pavement or floor as I wove and because the llama yarn that is my current warp is pretty hairy and shedding a lot.  Fortunately, they are easy to clean since they are vinyl.

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Bobbins with the yarns for the current project and empty ones that I already used.

 

The balls of yarns for the current project, for when I need to wind more yarn on the bobbins.

The card telling me how many inches of each color to weave, and a pen to cross off when I’ve finished that section.  (If you want to weave a Dr. Who scarf, don’t bother trying to copy this down from here.  Next week, I’ll have a blog post with a link to the Google spreadsheet that has all the information you need).

 

Miscellaneous Bag Contents

The Super Secret Shawl in its project bag, in case I wanted to knit rather than spin or weave.  I ended up not knitting at all during the weekend.

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A finished Summit shawl, knit by a friend.  She asked me to block it for her and gave it to me while we were at the Festival.

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The apron I was wearing while doing demos on Sunday.

Not in the Bag

I have a few tools that I really like, but didn’t need to carry over this weekend.

My fiber scale.  I have a kitchen scale that I use only for cooking, and this scale which I use only for fiber-related purposes.  I weigh dye on it.  I weigh leftover skeins of yarn to calculate the yardage in a finished object.  I weigh loom waste to calculate how much yardage I lost in the waste.  I weigh bags of fiber to see how much I have left to spin.  I love this scale.  It weighs in either grams (down to 0.1 gram) or ounces.  It has a tare function so I can put a bowl on top, reset the weight to zero and put larger items in the bowl for easier weighing.  It weighs up to 2000 g (about 5 pounds), which is sufficient for my fibery purposes.

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My mini scissors.  When I travel, I take the foldable scissors out of the Knit Kit and put them in my checked luggage.  Technically, I should be able to take them in carry on because they are less than 4″ long, but I hate to take the chance.  If I don’t have checked luggage, I leave the foldable scissors at home and toss these mini ones into my carry on.  Unfortunately, they are a little too fat to fit in the Knit Kit scissors section, but I love them anyway.

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My needle notebook.  My entire collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks lives in one zip up binder notebook.  The entire collection.  If I wanted to, I could carry all my needles with me all the time.  I rarely take the notebook with me, though.  I just don’t need to have all my needles with me.  I probably will bring the binder with me to the TKGA Conference in July, and think it’s awesome that it is so easy for me to do so.  I purchased this binder from KnitPicks, back when I first bought my interchangeable needle set in 2005 or 2006.  A few of the interior zipper pockets came with the binder, and I bought more pages separately.  Unfortunately, KnitPicks discontinued the binder several years ago.  I think it’s the best item they’ve ever sold for needle storage and don’t know why they discontinued it!

At some point, one or the other of my cats sharpened their claws on the front :-(

At some point, one or the other of my cats sharpened their claws on the front 🙁

Each pouch zips shut.  This one, in the very front, has the extra keys and cord end caps.

Each pouch zips shut. This one, in the very front, has the extra keys and cord end caps.

Each size cord has its own pouch.  I made the labels; the pouches did not come labeled.

Each size cord has its own pouch. I made the labels; the pouches did not come labeled.

My crochet hooks.

My crochet hooks.

US size 3 and smaller aren't available as interchangeables and are the only needles I have as fixed circulars.

US size 3 and smaller aren’t available as interchangeables and are the only needles I have as fixed circulars.

There's usually two sizes of needle tips per section.  In the mid-range of sizes (US 4-9), I have at least two tips in each size.  I only use larger sizes infrequently, so only have one pair of tips per size from US size 10 through US size 17.

There’s usually two sizes of needle tips per section. In the mid-range of sizes (US 4-9), I have at least two pairs of tips in each size. I use larger sizes infrequently, so only have one pair of tips per size from US size 10 through US size 17.

I keep a KnitPicks needle sizer in the front pocket of the binder.  It has to be a KnitPicks brand sizer because KnitPicks has two different size needles (2.25 mm and 2.5 mm) marked as US 1s and two sizes (2.75 mm and 3.0 mm) marked as US 2s.  I have needles in all 4 sizes, and only KnitPicks branded sizers have slots to differentiate between them.

I keep a KnitPicks needle sizer in the front pocket of the binder. KnitPicks has two different size needles (2.25 mm and 2.5 mm) marked as US 1s and two sizes (2.75 mm and 3.0 mm) marked as US 2s. I have needles in all 4 sizes, and only KnitPicks branded sizers have slots to differentiate between them.

The binder lives on a bookshelf in my office, tucked in with the fiber library.

The binder lives on a bookshelf in my office, tucked in with the fiber library.

 

 

 

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7 Responses to KCBW6, Day 4: Bags of Fun

  1. Joyce Tucker May 14, 2015 at 7:15 am #

    OMG! More wonderful ideas. You are so very organized. I love the Knit Picks binder. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Vivianne May 14, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    That binder does seem like a great idea 🙂 Spinning sure has a lot of gubbins that goes with, doesn’t it ?

  3. Gill May 14, 2015 at 8:12 am #

    Great ideas – I love the ziploc idea. And you have a great and very organised selection of kit!

  4. Elena aka. Midsommarflicka May 14, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    Oh, that Knit Kit looks great for travelling! Gonna see if they sell something similar here in Germany 🙂

  5. Hannah Smith May 14, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    Love the needle organisation 🙂 I’m thinking I might have to do a post about mine before too long.

  6. Mary-Anne at Breathing Life May 15, 2015 at 2:06 am #

    Very organized. Nicely done – you and I have loaded up our knit kits and they look identical!

    I love those little springy scissors, too.

  7. Karen May 15, 2015 at 5:38 am #

    You’re so organized! And multi-craftual!

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