Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Guest Post Series: A Knitter's Bag of Tricks

I constantly find myself in awe of the wonderfully talented people I encounter daily - especially here in the land of blogging.  I share links to some of the fabulous projects I come across each weekend in my Week in Review posts, and now on (most) Wednesday's... at least for a awhile... I'm going to be going a step further and inviting one of those creative folks to guest blog here at Ready, Set, Craft!  For my first post in this Wednesday series, I'm thrilled to welcome Marie-Jolie of Permission to Unwind... enjoy!

I'm a bag lady, I can't deny it.  A passionate knitter has to have her bases covered, and my knitting bag keeps me sane in the midst of life's detours.  Waiting in line?  No problem.  The kids' soccer game went into overtime?  No big deal.  Trapped in an elevator for six hours?  Piece of cake.

Every knitter has her/his own idea of what constitutes portable knitting sanity, but here's a sneak peak into my bag of tricks.  After seeing my secrets, I think you'll agree that I'm the next best thing to a Boy Scout in an emergency.

It’s hard to believe this all fits into that little bag, isn’t it? I’ve been at this bag thing since I was a child, so I have it down to a science. (Whether this wins me bragging rights or merely serves as further proof that I need to join a support group is of some debate among my friends and readers.) If you want to create your own portable knitting treasury, I recommend starting with a bag that you absolutely love.  I have about twenty bags (gasp!) that I use for various reasons (most of them knitting-related), but the Dick & Jane bag is my mainstay. 

A closer look at what's inside...

I like to keep ample reading with me... A book or two of knitting inspiration, and a basic portable knitting stitch dictionary (in case I feel like being extra creative).  In my opinion every knitter's bag should include good reading material on the off chance that you sprain your hand, run our of yarn, or simply lose your mojo.

I keep a little zipper pencil case for spare needles, a yarn needle (to weave in ends), cable needles, and a crochet hook or two (sometimes helpful in a knitting emergency).

In a little plastic tote I keep a calculator, measuring tape, tissues, a notepad, sticky notes, spare stitch markers, rubber bands, an a drinking straw (cut into two pieces).  Here's the what and why:

Calculator:  It's inevitable that I will end up having to calculate a stitch count, calculate gauge, or figure out a different size for the project I am working on.

Measuring tape:  I've discovered that guessing the number of inches you've completed is not nearly as foolproof as one might hope.

Tissues:  Everyone needs tissues.  Knitter or not.

Notepad:  This is where I write down new ideas for designs, adjustments I'm making to a pattern, or grocery lists.

Sticky notes:  These are great for little notes that I want to post on the side bar of a book or pattern...or when I want to pass notes in the line at the post office.

Stitch markers:  I have a tendency to lost stitch markers, so I try to always keep extras with me.

Rubber bands:  These are great for binding needles together so that they don't stab into other things in my bag or poke a hole through the bottom (ask me how I know that this can happen...)  They can also double as a point protector or turn a double point needle into a single point needle by wrapping tightly arund one end of the needle to create a barrier to the stitches don't fall off.

Plastic drinking straw:  No, I'm not pulling your leg.  I keep a straw or two with me on the off chance that I lose ALL of my stitch markers.  I can use scissors to snip off little rings from the straw and have extra markers whenever I need them (a little trick I learned from my grandmother).  This also comes in handy if you buy a drink at a restaurant dive through and they forget to give you a straw.

MP3 Player:  Books on CD, music, you name it.  With this little gizmo on hand I can simultaneously knit fabulous things and brush up on my french.

I also keep a homemade sewing kit (with scissors).  You never know when a needle, thread and scissors will be required.  (Like, for example, if you are stranded on an island and have to perform an emergency procedure to close a wound.  I'm just saying...)

This little drawstring pouch (a gift from a friend) is perfect to keep track of my current small project.  I always bring a spare ball of yarn (on the chance that I magically knit through the one ball in record time... I'm nothing if not optimistic).  This rests nicely inside the knitting bag and protects my work from wonkiness.

Last but not least, in case I need to bring more than one project with me, I slip my entire Dick & Jane bag into a larger bag.  This behavior embarrasses my husband, but I do it anyway.

Stop snickering.

Head over to Marie-Jolie's blog, Permission to Unwind, to read more about her knitting projects and adventures!


Anonymous said...

Wow - what an accessory bag. I carry almost all that - minus the books and the straw. Cool idea for the straw!

Caroline said...

Oh! I so want to learn how to knit..and this inspires me!!

Gabrielle @ i.craft said...

Oh my, I want to be this prepared. Thanks for the great article and thank you Marie for showing everyone especially new knitters what they should be putting together. :)

Meg@MegaCrafty said...

Great tip about the straws! And it's true about the reading. I usually knit while traveling and actually sprained my wrist on a trip. I and was really glad I had a book or else I would have been born to tears.