Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Well Supplied Knitting or Crochet Bag

Life has finally slowed down enough for me to bring my larger knitting projects out of hibernation, and begin two scarves (in tandem) for Christmas Gifts. But life has not slowed down enough for me to sit at home all day knitting and eating bon bons. Which means I will be taking my knitting with me wherever I go.

I've put together a tote bag to hold my knitting/crocheting projects and necessary supplies. Now I can carry my project around the house, or onto the porch on a warmer day, when I get a rare moment to sit. And everything will be together so I can just grab it and toss in the front seat of the SUV when we leave home for the day.

This also helps me stay focused on one project at a time. I can keep one project ready and waiting in the tote bag , and leave the others in the storage bin. I can switch them out as I please, but this ensures that there is only one project out at a time.

It honestly doesn't take a lot of time, or a huge investment, to supply a knitting or crochet tote bag. But gathering a handful of essentials to keep with you will make your project go much smoother in the long run. Plus it will give you a better chance to work on a project when or where you happen to have an opportunity.

The first thing you need is a bag or container to carry it in. A large roomy tote is what I'm using. You can use any large bag, backpack, basket, etc. Your personality and lifestyle will be the determining factor to what you carry your project in. Make sure it's durable, roomy, has some pockets for you other goodies, and does not have any zippers, edges, or corners to snag your yarn.

If you are still carrying your project in the plastic shopping bag from the store at which you bought your yarn, please get yourself a tote. You are creating a beautiful item from nothing but yarn using your fingers. Take a little pride in yourself and in your work, and carry your creation well!

The first thing to go in your Knitting or Crochet bag is of course your project, yarn (protected in a smaller bag), hook or needles for your project, and a copy of the instructions.

Yarn in your tote needs to be protected from spills, children, puppies, etc. I bought a nice yarn holder on clearance. But a freezer zipper baggie will do just fine. Simply close the baggie across the top except for an inch to let the yarn pass through. Only carry one or two skeins of yarn with you. Keep the rest the yarn for your project at home where it will be safe and sound.

A word of experience - do not carry the original instructions for your project in your tote. That is a heartbreak waiting to happen. Make a copy with a copy machine, or write a copy of the instructions, and keep the original safe on the shelf, filed in a binder, or stored with your yarn at home.

After you have a bag you can take a bit of pride in, and place in it your yarn, needles/hook, and instructions.... you need to add a few more necessities. To keep mine organized I use a zippered pencil pouch, and a few small containers such as empty Altoid mint tins.

In my pouch I have a quilter's tape measure, small folding embroidery scissors, a crochet hook, and a set of small circular needles.

The crochet hook comes in handy to help pick up any stitches I may have dropped. The smaller circular needles are a god send if I have to partially frog a knitting project. Ripping back onto smaller needles lessens errors and dropped stitched. The embroidery scissors are useful to cutting out any weak or bad spots in the strand of yarn.

Next in my supply pouch is variety of stitch markers, , a needle size indicator , a tapestry or yarn needle, some band aids, an emery file, and hand cream. Other items in my pouch that are not shown here are stitch holders, point protectors, and a row counter.

There are several types of stitch markers. I use Clover Locking Stitch Markers, Boye close able ring stitch markers, safety pins, and hand made ring stitch markers I made a few years back. These are great for marking increases or decreases, either on the needle or by marking individual stitches after they are worked. I also keep scrap yarn or crochet cotton thread to use as a horizontal thread marker to mark an entire row when I need row for a reference point.

The emery board and band aids don't really have anything to do with knitting. But you never know when you might accidentally nick yourself, or chip a fingernail, which could prevent you from being able to play with your yarn.

It's also handy to have a pencil, index cards and post it notes to write any notes, reminders, or random thoughts (must remember to thaw the chicken for dinner) as you are working.

And last, but not least, in my knitting bag I keep a book light, a small head lamp light, and an MP3 player. The first two will be useful for knitting when you are the passenger in the car at night time, and save you from stabbing yourself with knitting needles. The latter will give you something soothing or interesting to listen too while your hands are occupied.

And there you have it. A well supplied Knitting or Crochet Bag for your current or next project. You don't have to spend a fortune, or get everything at once. But the better supplied your tote is, the better prepared you will be. Plus the more likely it will be that your project will end up finished and enjoyed instead of being sent to the bottom of the frog pond to sleep with the fishes.

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