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.

 

 

 

WIP Wednesday: February 18, 2014

I started this week working on some UFOs, but later in the week cast on a couple of new projects!

MAPLE LEAF the Ninth!

Yes, really!  It’s been sitting around since December, and I finally picked it up again.  I was sick over the weekend and spent two days sitting on the couch watching tv, so I got quite a bit done.  I’ve finished the first of the five corners, and should be totally done with knitting this shawl before next Wednesday.  I’m not sure if I’ll get it blocked or not.  My new-to-me floor loom is currently sitting in the dining room, in front of the table I use for blocking.  I’m not sure if I have enough leaves in the table to block a MAPLE LEAF shawl or not.  If I don’t, blocking will have to wait until I can move the floor loom into my home office.

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Sassy Bee Cotton Candy Corriedale

I finished plying this fiber while at spinning group the first Saturday in February.  I have it wound onto the niddy noddy.  I just need to tie it and wash it to set the twist, and it will be done.

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Narwhal

This is the first new project of the week.  This is part of a narwhal-along in Ravenclaw Tower.  I cast on last Saturday, and expected to finish it that day.  Instead, I went to buy a floor loom.  I still have to sew on the flippers.  I’m also going to find something different for eyes because I think the beads I used are too small.

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Scarf

On Monday evening, our cat Pepper did not look well.  She was straining to use the litter box, but nothing was coming out.  She would get out of the litter box, rest for a while, then try again.  She also tried squatting in inappropriate places, like the cat’s toy basket.  I realized I was probably going to have to bring her to the emergency vet, and that I didn’t have any knitting that was mindless enough to work on during a midnight wait at the vet.  I quickly cast on this scarf, knit one pattern repeat, and bundled Pepper off for an enema at the vet.  I got about 4″ knit while I waited.  I knit a little more while waiting for dinner to finish yesterday.

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Crochet 365

I finished the star-rating index three weeks ago, but haven’t looked at this project since.  This week, I started looking at the 90 one-star patterns, contemplating the order in which I want to crochet them.  I made three separate lists: one of patterns that use a solid color, one of patterns that use multiple colors, and one of patterns that the author’s note identifies as a “good beginner square.”  Along the way, I made notes on the patterns, identifying stitches used or techniques, and contemplating the end uses of these 365 squares.  Some of the squares will definitely be dishcloths.  Some of the squares might be afghans or scarves.  I need to have some ideas so that I can pick out appropriate yarns.  My head was spinning a bit after looking at all the information, but it was a good start at determining the best approach, given my modest crochet skills.  I hope to make the final project list this week.

WIP Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yesterday was a busy day around here and I did not get a chance to blog my WIPs for the week.  Better late than never!

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The Big Book of Granny Squares by Tracey Lord

As you may have noticed if you’ve read this blog for a while, I do not review patterns or pattern books.  The reason for this is twofold.  First, other bloggers and podcasters review many patterns and pattern books.  Second, I don’t personally purchase many patterns or pattern books.  The primary reason for that is my queue of projects to complete is always quite long.  My experience is that I frequently change my mind about what I want to knit, so I prefer to purchase patterns immediately before I plan to make them, rather than when they are first released.  By the time I buy patterns or pattern books, they’ve been well and thoroughly reviewed by many others.  In order to find books to review on this blog, I look at upcoming publications on Amazon and purchase the ones that look interesting to me.  I was excited when I saw The Big Book of Granny Squares: 365 Crochet Motifs show up in that list a few months ago, because I’ve been looking for a good crocheting stitch dictionary and this looked like it would fit the bill.  I was not disappointed.

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January 2015 Plans

I know I’m a little late posting plans for this month, but I needed to write up my plans for the year and do the UFO Inventory before I could articulate clear plans for this month.  I registered as a Student on Sabbatical (SOS) for this term of the Harry Potter Knitting / Crocheting House Cup due to anticipated events that did not come to fruition (thankfully).  I do plan to turn in at least one class per month in order to regain sorting priority (I didn’t turn in a class in November), but my plans for the next few months will be organized according to meeting goals for the year, rather than by HPKCHC activities.

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UFO Inventory

UFO stands for “unfinished object.”  I personally distinguish between WIPs (works in progress) and UFOs, though some people use the terms interchangeably.  A WIP is something that I’m actively working.  An UFO is sitting around waiting for me to get to it sometime.  I don’t like to have a lot of UFOs.  I do like to have multiple projects in progress, so I always have an option for a project that fits my current attention span and activities.  But UFOs lurk in the back of my head, sucking up small bits of energy and sometimes making me feel guilty for abandoning them.  I used to have a number of unfinished projects, but in January of 2013, I inventoried my UFOs and addressed all but one of them.  Either I finished them or I frogged them.  Since then, I have tried to finish up projects within six months or so of starting them.  Despite those efforts, I have accumulated a few UFOs and I’d like to finish with them.  Today I took the first step towards finishing them by taking them all out and determining what needs to be done to finish each one.

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2015 Goals and Plans

I do not set crafting resolutions.  To me, the word “resolution” implies doing something drastically different than you had been doing before.  I’ve been a fiber crafter for a long time and that is not going to change.  Instead, I set goals and make plans.  Goals differ from resolutions in that goals are smaller, concrete, and incremental.  I already have a base of fiber crafting skills and I want to build on those skills.  There’s many things I have never done, especially with crochet, spinning, weaving, and dyeing as these are the skills that I have only acquired in the last two years.  Although I’ve been knitting for 20+ years, I spent many of those years knitting the kinds of projects where gauge is nearly irrelevant and so the list of things I have never done with knitting is longer than you might expect. I’m starting out the year by picking one or two skills to work on for each of the fiber crafts.

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Projects Finished in 2014

I did not expect to take time off from blogging during the holidays, but that’s what ended up happening.  The last six weeks have been a whirlwind of events with family and friends.  I’ve done very little crafting as a result.  However, I will be back to blogging regularly starting next week.  For today, I put together a short video compilation of all the projects I knit, crocheted, spun, wove, and / or dyed during 2014.  I hope you enjoy it!

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Spammers Gonna Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

Yesterday I signed into my blog for the first time in a week and a half to find 794 comments awaiting moderation.  Every single one was spam.  Since I have the blog send me an e-mail every time I get a comment, that meant I also had 794 extra messages in my e-mail.

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August 2014 Preview

I know we are a week into the month, but there’s still 3 more weeks to go, so I’m still calling this a preview!  August is a HPKCHC break month.  I use break months to finish anything that is lingering from the end of term and get all my plans made for the beginning of the next term.  Chris and I are vacationing the last week of August (heading to New Jersey to visit his mother), so I need to plan for some portable projects that I can bring with me on that trip.

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