In my knitting project bag, I keep a few things. My current WIP with the appropriate needles, yarn for said project, and my craft case. I think of it as kind of like my “knitting kit” in the same way that you keep a little “sewing kit” with a little bit of this and that you need for all the common mending jobs. Do you have one of these? Let me know in the comments what you keep in yours!
My case is a little pencil case where I keep notions and bits and bobs I might need on the go while I am knitting. It’s not all the knitting gear I own by any stretch. Here is what I keep in my craft case.
I use this one, which is an Australian brand. Mine has a ruler on the sides in metric and imperial, so it is useful both for gauging needle size and measuring knitting as I go along. The fact that it has a ruler on it means it is good to have on hand when out and about. Like, say, if you’re on the bus and you won’t be able to have a steady hand to measure something with your tape measure.
I also like that my gauge has needle sizes in US, UK, and mm sizes, so if my pattern is asking me to use 3.75mm needles, I can refer to my gauge and know straight away that I need some UK 9s.
This needle gauge (pictured above) is not the same brand I use but it looks really similar, and also has Canadian sizes. The reviews look good except one reviewer found that the ruler was off so be aware of that.
A Pen and a Pencil
Or use a 4-in-1 pen/pencil like I use. It’s got three pen colours and a mechanical pencil. The kind I use is made by uniball and was given to me by a housemate of mine. This housemate is Japanese and I’ve been given a very similar pen by a family member who got it from Japan. They have such nice stationery over there! I can’t find a link to the specific pen I use but the one pictured, by Bic, looks very similar and has mostly fab reviews.
Keep one of these for sure. They come in handy when you’re modifying a pattern and have to do a quick pen-and-paper calculation. My printed patterns are covered in long multiplication sums! They’re also good for recording the number of rows it took you to get you a certain length in your piece. This is particularly crucial if you have to make two things the exact same size (like two sleeves) but the pattern just tells you to knit to a certain length.
Let me know if it’s just me. When I’m knitting something that has several options for sizes, I’m likely to make a certain mistake. When I’m not paying much attention, I’ll just knit according to the first size recorded, and then I’ve messed up my piece! The solution to this is to highlight the instructions that are specific to the size you’re knitting! Does anyone else do this? Of course you can’t always do it like if you’re using a library book, but it’s a great tip for patterns you’ve printed off the computer. And if you’re planning to make the same piece in several sizes, just assign one colour to each size!
Find good, sharp craft scissors if you can. I used to have some of those fold-up scissors in my craft case (I thought that kind were so cool when my sister got a pair for her first high school hiking camp) but they weren’t as sharp as the pair I currently have. I thought they’d be handy because they’re compact, but in the end it’s the sharpness that matters most. It’s nice to have some scissors that you know can handle your yarn.
I often have a couple in there actually, but one will probably do. Tape measures are great (and better than rulers) for measuring long stuff that isn’t straight. The faded pink tape measure pictured may not look like much. However, it is special to me because it belonged to my Grandma, who died in 2007. When I decided to take up knitting in 2010, I went down to the shed where we were storing my Grandma’s stuff and took her needles and notions (including the tape measure) up to my room. I didn’t even know what a lot of it was, like her stitch holder that looked to me like a giant safety pin, which leads me onto my next item.
Giant Safety Pins (er, I mean stitch holders)
Stitch holders are invaluable for all kind of projects like gloves and socks. Coated metal ones like the bottom one pictured are good. That kind won’t rust unless they get damaged and expose the metal underneath. They come in different sizes but I find that as long as they aren’t too small, it doesn’t matter too much what size stitch holder you use. I prefer them to scrap yarn in cases where I don’t need to hold a lot of stitches.
Actual Safety Pins
Having a couple of safety pins are useful for when you need to mark a specific stitch or row, or to mark the beginning of a round.
Essential for a lot of knitting projects. I have some metal ones and ones that are just loops of yarn, because sometimes you need a lot of stitch markers. Either work fine, so don’t stress if you don’t have fancy, purpose-built stitch markers.
Some of my stitch markers (the flower one and the clear button one) are made by me. For the flower marker, I simply got small split rings (think tiny keyrings) and attached a small charm to them. The clear button marker is a loop of wire attached to a button, simple as that. Others (the heart ones) I bought from a charming little town in the UK, called Lavenham, in 2012. Lavenham is well known for its wonky houses. The place I bought my stitch markers from is called Café Knit, which you might guess is a café and knitting shop in one. The stitch markers remind me of the great time I had in England with my aunt, in the country my dad was born in.
For protecting points! Of your needles, that is. To be honest I don’t use these much, but they are useful from time to time, say when you’re doing a project with lots and lots of stitches that would be really hard to salvage if they all fell off the needle in your project bag. Like a big lace shawl or something, of which I have knitted several.
Mini Craft Storage Containers
I use two small, clear, stackable containers to store the small items in my knitting case (like safety pins, stitch markers, and point protectors). These are very handy and if you’re crafty you likely have plenty of these already. They come in sets of several but there is no limit to how many you can stack onto each other. I don’t know where I got mine from, but these ones look extremely similar except a bit bigger than mine and they have good reviews.
Scrap yarn is handy when you need to hold a large amount of stitches instead of using a stitch holder. Spare scrap yarn is also great for when you have to do a provisional cast-on or add a lifeline. It’s also a life-saver when you’re running short of a few stitch markers and need to quickly make some out of loops of yarn. I keep a couple of small balls in contrasting colours. That way I know I’ll have a colour that won’t blend in too much with whatever project I’m knitting.
I keep a few tapestry/darning needles of different sizes, and a few sewing needles. What knitting project doesn’t need you to use a sewing or tapestry needle, at the very least for weaving in ends? I’d struggle without my needles in my craft case.
As a side note, I keep my tapestry and sewing needles on a very small cross stitch in a round frame. I was going to show you a photo but it’s ten years old and has been knocked around a bit so yeah, it’s not so pretty anymore. In 2008, I went to World Youth Day in Sydney. This is a huge youth pilgrimage put on by the Catholic Church which is held in different countries around the world. Prior to World Youth Day in Sydney, I went on retreat with the Passionists in Melbourne, and stayed with a lovely couple, who gave me this cross stitch to do while I was with them. I credit World Youth Day to the growth of my faith, which has brought me so many joys like a sense of fulfilment, and wonderful friends including one I later married, and I know the joys will be even greater one day. This little cross stitch frame reminds me of the great time I had in Melbourne and Sydney in 2008, and of my faith which has been strong ever since then. Do you have any little trinkets that evoke big memories?
I find that some sewing thread in my knitting bag comes in handy for all kinds of things. Yes, for your knitting projects, like sewing buttons onto garments, but do any of you ever find a quick little sewing job around the house that just needs doing? This is my couch, which I found a tiny tear in the other day. What do I usually have about my person? My knitting, of course. So I grabbed that sewing thread and sewed up the tear and I didn’t have to worry about it anymore!
Self-explanatory. Once you start knitting something by following a pattern, you’ll need some way of keeping track of your rows. You can do this in several ways. You can use a row counting app, or a pen and paper, or marking each row with a stitch marker. But the best (in my opinion) and simplest way to keep track of your knitting is simply with a row counter. The kind I use is designed to hang off the end of a straight needle, but since I use circular and double pointed needles often, I actually hang mine off a string and wear it round my neck. It’s a great conversation starter too, when you wear your row counter out in public! I’ve done that many times.
I keep my cable needles in my knitting case partly because it is somewhere to put them and they won’t get lost, but they’re useful for saving dropped stitches or holding just a few stitches for a short period of time, like when you need to frog a small bit of knitting to fix a mistake. You can get bendy kinds or straight kinds. I use the straight kind and keep cable needles of a couple of different sizes in my case (FYI, for really small and fiddly cable projects, try using a toothpick instead of a cable needle!).
I keep a couple of crochet hooks (3.5mm and 4mm because I’m often kitting with yarn that is a good weight for these hooks) in my knitting case for those times when you need to save a dropped stitch. They’re also useful for provisional cast-ons.
What?! I hear you ask. Yeah, an emery board. I didn’t even put it in there on purpose. I think I was doing my nails one day and my emery board found its way in my case for some reason. But it is SO handy! I keep my nails longish, and occasionally I get a little jagged bit, you know? And those things snag your yarn like you won’t believe. And it’s annoying. Keep a small emery board or nail file in your project bag and you can thank me later.
I’m recommending this but I don’t actually keep one in my case anymore! It broke, but it was worthwhile keeping in there. The kind I used was a calculator and ruler in one, very similar to this one (pictured). This is only useful if you’re the kind of person who isn’t always carrying her phone. Being able to do a quick calculation to work out how big something will be or how many stitches to cast on is very useful.
Little bits of random stuff that I have stuffed in there until I can put it away or throw it out, which waits in my craft case for months until I get around to putting them in their proper place. Okay, okay, you don’t actually have to have random junk in your knitting case like I do. Right now I have some bits of paper from when I took up quilling to make my husband a first anniversary present (which was a year ago). There are also a few buttons, and some short lengths of thread which isn’t useful for anything. Oh, and a label for adding to knitted gifts which has been loitering in there for a couple of years and really lives in my box of craft supplies.
There you have it, guys. I hope you enjoyed reading about what I keep in my knitting bag, and hopefully it gave you a few ideas. Don’t forget to let us know in the comments what you keep in your knitting bag!
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