Organizing Your Equipment

When you're new to knitting and have only one or two pairs of needles and a few balls of yarn, you can organize your equipment just by finding a place for it on your mantle, in a drawer, or in one of those pretty knitting baskets that sits beside your couch or chair. When you have a bouquet of straight needles, a tangle of circular needles, enough yarn to cover a city block, and lots of itty-bits jangling around the bottom of your "storage" space, you may decide that you need to organize your equipment a little more deliberately. Here's some advice:

i Invest in a needle case. Spare needles rattling around your knitting bag are prone to getting lost, bent, or even broken. A needle case is the answer. Fabric needle cases have narrow pockets for filing your needles, and you can roll them up and tie them for storage and travel. Cases also are available in more rigid wood or plastic. If you splurge on some especially lovely needles — such as rosewood or ebony — you may want to invest in a case just for them. (Wouldn't you store your pearls in a jewelry box?)

i Get a canvas wall holder, especially for your circular needles. Of course, you can store your circular needles in the plastic container they come in, but this keeps them curled up. Before you can comfortably knit with them, you need to unkink them in hot water. A solution is to purchase a canvas wall holder with slots for each size. Stored this way, the circular needles rest in their slots with their point ends hanging down, unkinked and ready to knit. Interchangeable circular needle systems come in their own cases.

i Store your extra yarn out of direct sunlight in a container that can breathe. If you find yourself collecting more yarn than you can knit up in a given year (or more), store your precious skeins in a bin of some kind that allows air to circulate. If you want to put your yarn in a plastic bin, leave the lid askew or drill a hole or two in the sides so moisture and air can flow in and out. Many yarns fade in direct sunlight, so never store them where they'll be exposed to daily sunshine.

ëAdd a few mothballs to the container or bin. Some yarns are already mothproofed, but those that aren't are susceptible to moths, and it's a frustrating thing indeed to be knitting along and suddenly find that your yarn strand has ended while a full ball remains in the basket. If you're allergic to mothballs, several herbal equivalents are on the market. And if you do happen to find moths, don't panic: Put your yarn in plastic bags in the freezer to kill the moths and their eggs.

i Get a tote bag especially for your knitting. The bag should be big enough to stow your project and essential equipment, but not so big that your equipment gets lost in its depths. If your bag has pockets of various sizes, all the better. Kid-sized backpacks, canvas beach bags, and fashion fabric totes from yarn shops are all good choices.

i Use a small, zippered bag for your essential small gadgets. Look for a clear plastic one you can see through. You may find one in the cosmetics section of your local drugstore or department store.

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