Portable Organization

December 12, 2011 at 5:09 pm 1 comment

Please bear with the pregnant lady who has been completely overrun by every possible nesting urge. This house is being cleaned and organized from top to bottom, from attic to crawl space, from dusty top cabinets to the depths of little used closets. I have this drive to get this house completely clean by the time these babies arrive, even if they come really, really early. I think I’m consumed by the assumption that this is the one and only season in life where I’ll actually have time to clean and de-clutter, that if anything is out of order by the time the babies come it will never, ever be cleaned. There is probably a degree of truth to that, but it’s still getting out of control. 🙂

One organization project that consistently evades success is organizing all my knitting needles and notions. The stash (or “buffer” as I like to call it) is in pretty good shape. But all the darning needles, cable connectors, stitch markers, tape measures, and even needles and cables, seem to be in perpetual disarray. I find this annoying because I don’t even have that much in the way of knitting accessories. I just barely started buying more than one set of needle tips in each size, if that gives you a better idea of how little there is to organize.

This lack of success is not for lack of trying, I think I reorganize about once every 2-3 months, and yet I still don’t have a darning needle when I’m anywhere but in my living room. Some of the problem is that I expect my knitting to be fully portable. There are a few places I take my knitting pretty regularly, and there is just no excuse for a lack of notions in those areas.

I’d love to ask what y’all do to make sure you have all you need wherever you happen to be knitting. What works for you?

I’m going to throw out a my current hypothesis.

It seems that the things I like to take around with me fall into two categories. The first is the set of things that are little and cheap and I should have multiples of so I can put one in each of my most common knitting bags or spots. The other are the more expensive things like needles. I don’t need them with me that often, but I like them ready to grab if I’m packing for a trip (which has been happening a lot in the last few months).

So here’s what I’m thinking…

I’ve already started to use an altoid tin for my little, easy-to-lose items. I love it.

They’re the perfect size, durable and cute in a vintage-y sort of way. I’m even tempted to grab a few of the TINY tins too. So cute! My altoids tin can fit a handful of stitch markers, a darning needle, a small cable needle, a few cable caps and keys, and a retractable tape measure. This system works with two exceptions, scissors (even small ones) and larger cable needles don’t fit in these little kits. I’ve fixed this little issue, by purchasing the smallest Knit Picks project bag for $4. It fits the tin, scissors and any other larger notions I need quite easily. The main problem is that I don’t always remember to switch it from one knitting project to the other when I’m running out of the house, so it’s not always where I want it. Or I’ll pull it out of a knitting bag while knitting at home and since it’s such a floating object, I don’t have a place for it so it starts to clutter up my little spot on the couch. So I’m thinking I need to make up one or two more of these, so that I have two for portability and one that stays home all the time. The part that I hate, is purchasing more stuff, when the whole point is to simplify, but I can’t see another way.

So that takes care of the little, cheap stuff that I need in more than one place at once. So let’s see what we can do about needles. Right now I actually have repurposed my little Knit Picks project bag for my needles. This has two major issues. It robs the first part of my org system of it’s effectiveness, and all my needles are just in a pile and I have no way of knowing, at a glance what needles I have or are in use. So I’m thinking I need to buy an interchangeable needle case. I’ve thought about making my own little ultra customized version sort of like this one, and maybe I still will, but I’m hung up on how to distribute the pockets. If you take a quick peak through the zillions of needle cases on Etsy, they all do it a little differently, and depending on your needle collection have their pros and cons. For me, since I pretty much only use dpns, circular, and interchangeable needles, I need lots of shallow pockets. I’d also like to fit more than one set of tips in each pocket, so that if I have two sets in the same size they could share a pocket. So it seems like I can find fault with almost every case I find and I need to figure out what exactly I want. Maybe I’ll make that a little christmas sewing project to make myself one that works for everything I need it to. Cause the needle situation, even with my tiny collection, is getting out of control.

So those are the two big organization issues with my knitting. But maybe one more I should address is that of the knitting bag. What do you use? I typically shove some needles, an altoid tin, yarn, and pattern in a ziplock back and move it from bag to bag to couch depending on what purse I’m using or where I’m knitting. Then if I’m working on a sweater or something else big, it starts to spill out of the ziplock bag, so then I just shove it in my purse or bag, which usually involves problems with needles falling out or tangled balls of yarn. I’ve looked at other knitting bags, and I’m just not sure if I would use them effectively or not. I like my cheap solution, but it makes for a cluttery corner of my couch where multiple project bags get piled up. Any thoughts?


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. asmplelife  |  December 13, 2011 at 7:56 am

    If you do find the perfect way to organize, PLEASE share it! I have needles all over the place. Right now they are stuffed into ziploc baggies, poking holes all over everything. I tried needle organizers but they don’t work for me. Probably because I don’t seem to be able to return anything to its home. Where it belongs. Which is the whole point of an organizer.

    As for all the little notions, I use a large size pencil case that I bought on clearance at B&N. I grab and go with it from project to project. But that doesn’t really work if I’m working on more than one project at a time. Which I do quite frequently. LIke you, I don’t want to buy more notions just to make up a second bag.

    Basically, I’m a very disorganized knitter and need help. Please figure this out and share with us! =]


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