This time of year I like to organize the jumble of needles I create every year. Doing it now means I actually get it done and then I know what my needle situation is as I queue up holiday gift projects to knit. First I start by making groups by type of needle: straights, circular and DPNs. Maybe you are better at keeping the packaging for your needles, but these disappear on me. So I like to sit down with my handy Knit Chek and size up all my needles.
Here are some organizing ideas that I have used in the past:
Smaller shipping-type envelopes: I like the ones that open on the short end. I cut off the adhesive flap. I have written the needle sizes on them with a fun marker, tacked them to a bulletin board and then placed my needles inside the envelope. Generally, I keep straights and circulars separate.
Paper Towel Cores: Another thing that I have done is take a bunch of paper towel tubes and stuff them into a smaller shelf cubby that I have, label them and slide straight needles into those.
Old Knitted Scarf: I have been known to thread my circular needles through an old scarf, pinning a paper tag next to them that labels the length and the size. I should really hang that scarf up with the needles but I confess it lays over the back of a loveseat in my home "office." I have tried the soft organizers with clear plastic sleeves, but there are never enough pages and they get too bulky for me. I know I could have multiples of those for different lengths of needles, but I just haven't done it. Our shop sells a great circular needle organizer that I LOVE and it velcros around a coat hanger. It's the best solution out there in my opinion.
I don't have that many DPNs and for the ones I do have, miraculously, I have kept the little cardboard holders for them. I have seen cute organizing ideas like pretty, antique salt and pepper shakers (tops off, or course), travel toothbrush cases - there are tons of great ideas.
However you store your needles, protect the tips! It's so easy to drop needles into jars or vases. Over time the tips might splinter, become blunted or damaged in other ways. Early on in my yarn coveting years, I crammed a ball of yarn down into my needle jar and gently poked my needles into that rather than banging them down into the exposed bottom of my jar. It's an idea!
October is a great month to organize your needles! As we get closer to Thanksgiving and year-end holidays, the time and mental focus on this task just isn't always there. And by January, who wants to do this?! We're too deep into new fun projects to bother with it!
Looking forward to seeing you in the shop soon!
Cathy Hougan, shop owner