Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade - Measuring Tape
Are you one of those people who, when walking or driving through a residential neighbourhood, has to take a peek into the windows of houses?  Do you take a quick look to see what's on a person's bookshelf or what's in their kitchen/bathroom cabinets, just to catch a glimpse as to what this person is all about?  Not because you're a snoop, nosy, or some sort of weird creeper, but because you're genuinely curious as to how others live and be.  Maybe make up stories as to what they are like?  Well I'm one of those people.  I like to see how people decorate their living spaces, to see what they deem readable or a necessity.  I like to think their choices in the every day normal stuff gives off hints about their personalities.  Hmm...maybe that's why I like watching MTV Cribs so much?  Or why I like to see those articles of what's in a model's/actress's/random person's handbag and the things they lug around?

Anyhoo, I thought it would be fun to give you a run down of my knitting notions and show you all what exactly is in my notion case...or cases (since I have more than one project on the go).  Here's a small little "history" leading up to what I now use in my knitting endeavours.  Ok, when I first started knitting, I made myself a little "knit kit" out of an Altoids tin that held all my essentials.

Knit Kit - Contents

Pretty small, not at all much to it.  Mind you I was knitting small projects that didn't require a ton of tools in order for you to knit it up.  Over the course of time as I got into bigger projects and more complicated patterns, this kit started to get too small to be able to hold everything that I needed, and when I stopped being a monogamous knitter I definitely had to upgrade to something bigger.  So I made myself a notions bag that could hold absolutely everything.

Notions Pouch

It worked great for a while, but then I started to get annoyed with having to deal with all the small little pouches that held my various stitch markers, darning needles, and whatnot.  It got to the point where I was just throwing markers and whatever into the bag and then later would have to dig to find anything.  I still use this bag but decided that I needed something that could hold all my stitch markers and tiny gadgets all in one main container.  My friend Jennifer had the perfect solution and I knew I had to get in on the action too.  But then the more projects I started, the more tools I accumulated.  Before I knew it, my gadgets had spawned into this:

Tools of the Trade - Cases

Holy stitch markers Batman!  You think I could own any more markers??  Why yes, I could.  And I do.  I think I have a good handful of markers on every project that I currently have on the needles and then some.  I use locking stitch markers for practically everything: to mark where I've made increases or decreases, to mark x amount of rows or rounds, to mark which is the right get the idea.  

The blue case below is my main notions case that I take with me everywhere.  I've managed to lighten the load by carrying around only the absolutely very basic necessities.  And in my mind, that was stitch markers.  If a pattern calls for special notions like a lot of stitch holders or something, then I'll put a few in my project bag.  Other than that, I find this case perfect.  And no having to dig around to conjure up a few markers!  Or a darning needle.

Tools of the Trade - Main Notion Case

I have stitch markers in various sizes and gauges - in case I'm toting around a chunky cardigan and a pair of socks.  You can't really see them, but in the compartment with the lovely markers made by the equally lovely Miss Liisa (they're the gorgeous pink ones!), I have even smaller markers for finer gauge projects.  I'm a huge fan of locking stitch markers and so 2 compartments worth is a definite must in my books!  In the largest compartment I have a mini crochet hook for dropped stitches emergencies, a small stitch holder, an assortment of yarn and darning needles (cause you never know what kind you'll need), a cable needle, a couple keys for my Knit Picks interchangeable needle set, a cable connector (hence the need to have 2 keys), and my favourite and oh so perfectly small enough to fit wooden needle gauge.  Dangling off my case is the most absolute MUST that every knitter should have and that I cannot live without - puppy snips.  Seriously.  The best little scissors.  Ever!!  You don't have to fiddle around trying to get them to open or injure yourself trying to refold them.  They pass through airport security every single time.  They don't stab you if you're blindly fishing around your knitting bag for something.  They are pure awesome sauce.  Love them!

My secondary notions case:

Tools of the Trade - Secondary Notion Case

This one is mainly for projects that I've taken a time out from but will grab if I'm in a major hurry and need to grab some form of knitting.  Yes, it's pink.  Yes, it has Hello Kitty on the front.  I have a bunch of these cases in particular even though when I bought them I knew I wouldn't be using them all.  But they had Hello Kitty on them and they were at just such a good price (they were less than a dollar each!) and the shipping was free that I couldn't help but to load up on them!  This case is even more basic than the main case.  I have a variety of closed and locking stitch markers, as well as a small and large yarn needle, a mini crochet hook, a key, and of course puppy snips!

Ok, and now for the big boy.  The case that I keep under the coffee table at all times since the living room is where I do the majority of my knitting when I'm home.  This case never leaves the house.  I'm sooo glad that the Munchkin doesn't give a hoot or has any curiosities about anything in this case and therefore doesn't touch it at all.  Other than to move it aside.  Phew!

Tools of the Trade - Large Notion Case

Every other knitting notion that I own is in this case.  Every single end cap for my interchangeable need set, row counters, a variety of stitch markers and plenty of them, several cable needles, a plethora of stitch holders in various sizes...

Tools of the Trade - Some notions

Yarn needles, my favourite pink counter, my favourite wooden buttons that I need to find the perfect project to use them in, a retractable measuring tape...I have a ton of these measuring tapes.  For reals.  No lies.  Whenever I go to Vancouver and have the opportunity to stop by Dressew (sorry, they are so old school that they don't have a website or anything) I always seem to find a few measuring tapes in my shopping basket.  Why?  Cause they're only 25¢ each!  I kid you not!  Actually, this measuring tape in particular comes in a set with a regular dressmaker's measuring tape and it's priced at 50-75¢.  So I literally have a measuring tape in every single project bag.  If you're ever by Dressew, I highly recommend stopping by and stocking up on them.  You can never have too many!

Tools of the Trade - Some more notions

Because this case is big enough to do so, I also keep a few regular sized crochet hooks and a pen in there.  I can never find a working pen when I need one.  And for once, no puppy snips.  Instead, ├╝ber pointy and sharp steeking scissors and a rarely used, if ever, folding pair.  I didn't take a photo of it, but I usually also keep a little thing of Post-it notes in here too.  Actually, if you were to ever snoop a little you would probably find a pad of Post-its in all my bags, knitting or not.  I'm an office supplies fanatic and Post-its are my biggest weakness of them all.  Right up there with Sharpies.

Ok, there.  Now you've seen what I use in my knitting and what my notion cases looks like.  So...what do you use?  What's in your notions bag?


  1. I must know where to find those cute little containers! I'm so sick of carrying everything around in one large pouch.

  2. Thanks for the rundown! Where did you get those little foldable cases? I'm finding the Altoids tin thing isn't really working for me, as things get all jumbled up. Those little cases look to be a perfect size.

  3. I need to know also where you got those cute containers. Perfect. Also...puppy snips? Where do you find those? Dont laugh when I store? I too share your love for sharpies. Especially the ones that are double ended.

  4. OMG I think as a beginner knitter I Just had a heart attack, so much to buy, I dont know where to start, I guess at a beginning, thanks great info :) Sylvia from Australia

    1. Good luck Sylvia with your knitting endeavours! You won't need to buy everything that I've listed above (the more you knit, the more you'll know what you need) but do find that stitch markers always end up going those are a definite must! ;)


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