Like a Knitting MacGyver

Last week, I travelled into Toronto for a conference.  I planned my trip so that I took transit (good thing because of all the snow we got that day!), and I was sure to bring my latest WIP along with me, a pair of mittens for my sister. I had the yarn, needles, and pattern. I was ready to get to work on these bad boys.

About 20 minutes and a number of rounds into the journey, the pattern said to ‘place marker,’ a fairly standard direction when making a thumb gusset.  Clearly, when I packed what I needed for the day, the knitting brain didn’t get packed because I didn’t think about bringing stitch markers.  Ever resourceful, I found the end of the yarn, tore (because I didn’t think to bring scissors either) off two short lengths, tied the ends and made myself impromptu markers. I’m awesome, I thought.

I read ahead a few rounds, where the directions inevitably call for the stitches between the markers to be placed on holders.  Not so awesome, I thought, because while I had waste yarn, I didn’t have a needle for threading the stitches through.  I searched my conference stuff, and no paper clip was found.  Future Me can deal with this, I thought, and kept knitting.  I reached the point where the stitches had to be removed and had a realization – I had bobby pins! I took one from my purse, mangled it, slipped the stitches off, mangled it back, and used a second pin to secure the first. It held those stitches perfectly until I was ready to pick them up again to knit the thumb.

I think I need to create a mini knitting emergency kit for my purse, which includes markers and needles….

What have you used in a pinch for notions? Do you have a knitting kit that travels with you?


The finished mittens. Worth a little fiddling with less than ideal notions!

What’s In Your Knitting Bag?

Have you heard of Eskimimi Makes‘ Annual Knitting And Crochet Blog Week?  I hadn’t before this week, but I have been enjoying following the tags and reading the posts that all of you creative blog folks have been sharing.  I was too late to participate, and 7 new posts in a week seemed like a BIG commitment for me and a little intimidating, but one of the topics sparked my interest: Day 4: Bags of Fun.  I’ve previously written about my beloved knitting bag, my proverbial safety blanket, and while I shared the anecdote of my father and his apparent shock at the message, I didn’t delve into the bag’s contents.  Well, here goes!

Mary Poppins may have carried more around in her carpet bag, but I feel like my knitting bag may give her a run for her money!  The most obvious contents: my latest projects.  This past week, I’ve had three projects on my needles: The Sontag, a cowl that I’m quasi-improvising for my cousin, and what I’ve dubbed the Cunning Fingerless Gloves.  I’ve taken the basic pattern I used for the Warmer on the Inside gloves but changed the colours up in yet another geeky homage.  They are for my amazing co-worker, and I know when she walks down the street wearing these gloves, along with her equally cunning cap, people will know that she’s not afraid of anything.  Shiny.

Top: The Sontag; Left: Cunning Fingerless Gloves; Right: The Cousin Cowl
Top: The Sontag; Left: Cunning Fingerless Gloves; Right: The Cousin Cowl

Helping me with my current projects is my knitting journal.  It’s kind of a scrapbook/smashbook that I cut and paste patterns in, use to take notes as I’m knitting along, or I keep notes on patterns I’m improvising on the fly.  This is the second such journal I’ve filled in just over a year and a half.  I apparently knit a lot…

I'd be lost without this journal!
I’d be lost without this journal!

Also in my knitting bag: My DPN holder/crochet hook holder/scissor holder/catch all.  Many months ago, I was struggling to find a good solution for storing my DPNs.  You all know the struggle – so many DPNs, never a good way to keep them organized.  My local dollar store has provided me the best solution in a pencil case.  Sometimes it’s a search to find four of the same size needles, but they are together in one spot, they won’t get lost, and I can also keep essentials in there too, like scissors and the gauge ruler.  Love my DPN case.

My case and its contents
My case and its contents

Along with trying to keep my DPNs organized, I also struggled with my notions.  The more I knit, the more notions I have managed to buy.  Funny how that works.  Once again, my faithful dollar store gave me my solution.  These simple stacking containers are perfect for stitch markers, a measuring tape, row counters, and darning needles.  They are sorted and easy to grab when needed.

Organized notions are a beautiful thing!
Organized notions are a beautiful thing!

What else did I find in my knitting bag when I emptied its contents?

Size 7 needles, and a hair tie.  For two random items, they really aren’t that random at all.

Not so random
Not so random randomness

So, that’s my knitting bag.  What’s in yours?