New Year's Organizing: Knitting Needles and the Rest!

It's January 30th, incredibly, and our month-long organizing spree is nearly complete. 

So, what's left to do?

If you haven't organized your knitting needles in the course of organizing everything else, that should be a top priority.

As I sorted through WIPs and UFOs, I reclaimed quite a number of needles, and promptly put them in their rightful places, before they got lost in the abyss. I have a few cute organizers that I've been lucky enough to collect over the years, some gifted to me through swaps.

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Yes, that's Beatles fabric, with Yellow Submarine illustrations! I die. 

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Owls!

What I didn't do--what I've never done--is update my needle inventory on Ravelry.

This is because, well . . . I have them all.

I have DPNs in every size from 0 to 10.5, including an extra set of sock-sized bamboo DPNs, sizes 0 - 2. I have 2 sets of interchangeable needles (after Santa's generosity), with at least one set of tips in every size from 3 - 13, and at least 1 set of duplicates from sizes 3-8. I have 24" circulars in sizes 1, 1.5 and 2, for socks. I have 16" circulars in sizes 3-8 for hats and sleeves.

I am a needle hoarder.

The result being that I don't really need an inventory, because I know I have the needles necessary for any given project.

They might be in use, or have fallen to the bottom of a WIP basket, or become a cat toy, but I have them.

Somewhere.

If you aren't compelled to collect an absurd and unnecessary number of knitting needles, though, I encourage you to go ahead and keep track of your inventory on Ravelry, or via some other method--it is pretty handy to know if you have the right needles on hand when considering a new project. WEBS offers a number of suggestions for needle tracking programs in this post.


So, with our yarn, needles, knitting tools, WIPs, UFOs, and books and patterns organized, the last thing to do is tidy up our actual crafting spaces.

I have a combo office/craft room that I think is going to get quite a bit of use as I work to expand my home-based businesses during 2013. It is in serious--desperate--need of a paint job, but blah blah blah, paint fumes, pregnancy, etc. So I'm not ready to tackle that yet. But I did straighten up and declutter.


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I can feel the creativity flowing already.


And with that, our New Year's organizing comes to an end. How did you fare?

New Year Organizing: Patterns!

The New Year organizing continues, and this week we're tackling knitting books, magazines, patterns, etc.

This is one area where I consider myself fairly well organized already--in no small part because when we moved last June, I purged a lot of unused books, patterns and magazines that I didn't feel like packing.

What I haven't done recently is update my Ravelry library--deleting the patterns I'd purged and adding new ones--so I decided to start there.

While not essential, I find it useful to keep close track of my pattern library on Ravelry, because when searching for patterns to knit, I can check off the "in my library" button, and it will show me patterns I already have that meet my requirements--for example, all the patterns in my library knit in DK weight yarn, or all the children's cardigan patterns I have.

I think we can all relate to that feeling of buying more and more patterns, yet using very few of them. Keeping an organized library can help minimize that!

It's also helpful to check your library occasionally for pattern updates--any pattern you download through Ravelry can be updated by the designer, who can notify all purchasers when any changes are made. Just click the update button, and you ensure you have the latest, most error-free version of the pattern at hand, quick and painless.

I started with 177 patterns in my Rav library.

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I deleted a number of Interweave Knits issues I had purged, free patterns I had already used or was no longer interested in (hey, you can always download them again!), and added a couple of books and magazines I'd purchased, and wound up with 130 patterns, about 8 of which I also updated. Not a major hack job, but trimming the fat, at least.

In addition to tracking patterns in the Ravelry library, I have a number of patterns stored on my iPad, including single PDFs and ebooks, in the iBooks app.

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I can access these patterns anytime, even without an Internet connection, so I keep a good selection of patterns here "just in case."

Always prepared for a knitting emergency!

I also have Interweave Knits downloaded in the Newsstand app. You can purchase and download an issue when you want to use it, and then archive it for later use, so it doesn't eat up your storage space. Very handy.

I didn't have much work to do on my physical pattern storage space:

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This is my fairly modest collection of books, with some single printed patterns stored in a large binder (and a big vase full of yarn balls). The bookcase could probably use dusting, but otherwise, I think I'm in good shape.

And while I was at it, I decided to tackle my Ravelry queue. I deleted some patterns I was no longer interested in, and made sure each pattern had at least one tag for searching and organizing purposes; I also noted any yarn I already had on hand for specific projects. I'm down from 181 to 152!

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What are you organizing this week?

Your Knitting Organizer: What do you really need?

Whether you use the Crafter's Tool Butler I reviewed yesterday, a spare project bag, or a ziploc bag, you probably find yourself toting around some knitting miscellany on a fairly regular basis. But what do you actually need to keep on hand? And what can you safely stash in your craft room / office / behind the sofa for irregular use? Here are my suggestions.


Knitting bag essentials:

Stitch markers (A lot. More than any one could ever use.)

Stitch holder, or small length of scrap yarn (Holding mitten thumbs and other live stitches)

Key for your interchangeable needles--or two! (These disappear like socks in the dryer; I wish I knew where they went. You can use a paper clip in a pinch.)


Yarn needle (Seaming, kitchenering sock toes and weaving in ends)

Crochet hook (Provisional cast-ons, dropped stitches and other such emergencies; Knit Picks also sells this emergency fix keychain, which is fabulous.)

Needle and thread (Buttons)

Scissors and/or yarn cutter (Scissors are more flexible, but harder to travel with; finishing projects, steeking and opening stubborn plastic packaging encountered in every day life.)


Needle gauge (NEVER guess what size needle you have in hand!)

Tape measure (Measure gauge, lengths of knit fabric, and yourself.)

A small notebook and pen (Always be ready to take notes on your project; if you modify anything, you'll want to write it down. Target actually has a lovely selection of pocket-sized notebooks. I may be slightly notebook obsessed.)


Lip balm (Chapped lips are no one's friend.)

Emery board/nail file (I've had to stop knitting before because a rough nail kept snagging the yarn; very frustrating.)

Hand cream or lotion bar (Rough hands can also snag delicate yarn; they also feel icky.)


Reference guide (Not a tome, like Principles of Knitting; just a wee pamphlet with basic info, like this one.)


Yarn stranding guide (if you do colorwork.)

Cable needle (if you use one; though I highly encourage learning to cable without one!)

Pattern magnets (if you're a paper pattern user / chart reader.)


Of course, there are other tools we use on occasion, like sock blockers, sweater stones, and ball winders, but those can safely be left in your craft space to be unearthed as needed. You could really hurt your back trying to haul around a swift.


What do you recommend knitters keep in their tool kits?