Pausing to Note Progress

Too often, I focus my attention on the finished product – not on what I learned while in the process of creating something. That applies to a lot of areas of life, but in the interest of staying on topic, I’ll take a moment to pause and take note of what I’ve learned so far while working on my current project.

Shawl Progress

Using the right tool for the job.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve already seen that I’m in the process of making the Monica shawl. It’s a gorgeous (free) pattern that’s knit with lace-weight yarn. I went through three different needle sizes when I was starting out, and got way too far into the project before I finally conceded that it wasn’t working.

None of the needles I tried at first (Boye Needlemaster and Knit Picks Caspian) were bad in and of themselves – they just weren’t right for this pattern. Luckily, my new set of interchangeable Addi Click needles (LOVE!!!) arrived while I was in the midst of frogging this for the umpteenth time. I chose a larger needle size, and never looked back. Note that the needles pictured are from my first attempts and are not the ones that I ended up using.

Shawl in Progress

New knitting skills.

I also picked up a few new technical knitting skills with this pattern – a win in my book, even if it was hard-earned because of all the failed attempts.

  • Comfortably (somewhat) reading lace charts
  • Knitted-on borders
  • Estonian knitting nupps – I used the crochet hook method in the video below, and it was so much easier!

Happy knitting!

 

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Crochet and Knitting Tote Bag

I’ve already shared where I store my knitting and crochet tools, so here’s a peek into my knitting and crochet tote bag. It’s a Thirty One Gifts Organizing Utility Tote in the same Turquoise Cross Pop pattern as my Timeless Beauty Bag.

Thirty One tote for knitting and crocheting

Just look at those pockets. It’s majestic, I tell you. My favorite part is that a drink cup fits perfectly into them. I know that a lot of people use this bag as a diaper bag because bottles fit in those pockets well.

Thirty One tote for knitting and crocheting

But for me, this bag is all about the crafts. I keep the essentials in those pockets, such as my pink “women’s” measuring tape. (I’m not kidding, it really is labeled specifically as a women’s measuring tape. Because… it’s pink… I guess? I got a kick out of that and now I use it all the time. It also keeps the husband from stealing it, so that’s a plus.)

Thirty One tote for knitting and crocheting

Ahem. Above, you can see how nicely my project supplies – my hook and needle bag, a few skeins of yarn, and a couple of doily pattern books – fit inside. It’s good stuff! I don’t sell these products, but I do know a couple of consultants so it’s dangerously easy for me to order. 🙂

My Knit and Crochet Supply Bag

In my knit and crochet gift ideas post, I mentioned that I use the Thirty One Timeless Beauty Bag to store my knit and crochet supplies. Take a look at how well it works for craft supply storage.

Timeless Beauty Bag for knitting and crocheting

The bag folds out into three separate sections. The two end sections have large, transparent zippered pockets that make it easy to see what I have stored in each one. My interchangeable circular needle set fits perfectly into one of these pockets.

Timeless Beauty Bag for knitting and crocheting

The center section, which  is intended to hold makeup brushes, features some elastic loops. They work fairly well for holding sets of medium-size needles. I do have a few longer needles/hooks that I can’t keep in this section, but they are used so rarely that it’s not really a problem. Smaller needles might be tough to store in these loops too.

Timeless Beauty Bag for knitting and crocheting

The strap that fastens the bag shut is elastic too. So, if you tend to overfill your supply bag a little bit, the strap will stretch to accommodate the extra stuff.

Timeless Beauty Bag for knitting and crocheting

You’ll also see that one of the handles has a clasp, so you can hang it up easily by the handle. I have seen people use this same bag on the backs of car seats for road trips. Plus, it allows you to hang it up on hangers in hotels that can’t be removed from the closet bar. In my case, though, it’s an instant craft station. 🙂

Timeless Beauty Bag for knitting and crocheting

I’m not a consultant – I just really like using this brand’s bags as storage for my craft supplies! In an upcoming post, I’ll show you how I use the Organizing Utility Tote as a project bag.

Gift Ideas for Knitters and Crocheters

Stumped about what gift to get the knit/crochet lover in your life? Not sure what to tell those who ask what you want for Christmas? I have a few ideas to get you started. Let me tell you, it was a real sacrifice to research this post. 😉

“Splurge” Yarns. Knitters and crocheters never get tired of yarn shopping. Unfortunately, our bank accounts (and spouses?) do. That’s why getting a skein or two of a luxury yarn as a gift is so great. Pictured: Knit Collage Pixie Dust Mini in Granite Peak.

Knit Collage Pixie Dust Mini

 

Ottlite. I don’t have one of these, but I have heard great things about the powerful, color-accurate light they produce. Bonus points for models (like this one) with magnifiers (thread crochet, anyone?) and supply-storage bases (Where is that cable needle? Oh, there it is.)

Ottlite Table Lamp

Project Bags. Crafters have a lot of supplies, so we need a handy place to put it all when we’re on the go. Project bags are available in a variety of price ranges. I like the delia Q Isabella bag pictured below – with pockets that button closed!

Yarn.com Della Q Bag

Hook and Needle Cases. Did I mention that fiber crafters have a lot of supplies? That makes a good needle and/or hook case so indispensable. The hook and needle case I use (Thirty One’s Timeless Beauty Bag) isn’t actually meant for the purpose – it’s a beauty supply bag. But the elastic bands meant for brushes work great for holding knitting needles, and the clear interior pockets allow me to find the right crochet hook quickly. I also use the Thirty One Organizing Utility Tote as my project bag most of the time, which works great.

Thirty One Timeless Beauty Bag

Fun Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks. A pretty set of crochet hooks or knitting needles can make a project even more enjoyable. I like these gorgeous new Caspian knitting needles from Knit Picks.

Knit Picks Caspian Needle Set

Printed books. Knitters and crocheters can never have too many patterns, so pattern books are always a great idea. I’ve heard good things about Crochet at Home, for example.

Crochet at Home Book

Magazines. You can find a lot of great patterns in magazines, too. I still love getting magazines in the mail, and for people like me, getting a new issue of a crochet pattern magazine such as Interweave Crochet is like Christmas every time.

Interweave Crochet Magazine

Pattern Downloads. Great patterns aren’t just in print – many are available as online downloads. Because so many knitters and crocheters use Ravelry patterns, you could consider gifting one of the paid patterns.

Ravelry Pattern

Stitch Markers. I haven’t had too many opportunities to use stitch markers, but with adorable options available through Etsy artists, I might have to start. These cookie-shaped stitch markers are by OneElf.

OneElf Etsy Cookie Stitch Markers