I always get excited when the end of summer turns cool, and my thoughts of basking in the sun slowly turn to my basket of yarn. I started a little early this year as I had to partially knit the Fourth Doctor's scarf as a prop in my Halloween crime scene. I was so happy to be knitting again! After Halloween, I decided to thoroughly go through all of my knitting baskets and take inventory to see what project I would like to create first.
One of the baskets held all of my needles, knitting and crochet, and boy was it a disorganized mess! So I took it into the dry sauna with me to separate and organize all of them. That must sound terribly odd, but most times I will read while in the sauna, but now that it is knitting season, the books will tend to take a back seat to my yarn creations.
Being ready and extra motivated to make lots of yarn creations by having all of your tools organized is my idea of winterizing. (Actually, the leather blanket that I just made for my bed would have been a primo example, but I didn't document the process) I realized that I need, must have one of those needle organizers! I could buy one, but I can also make one, I think. (I'll figure it out along the way.) I was even able to get started on a sweater project while I was finishing my session. I will document that in another Instructable. Not while I'm in the sauna, though.
Step 1: Design Challenges and Decisions
Many years ago I got a commission to make a make-up brush organizer for a local make-up artist. The design is simple and straightforward, but cannot be duplicated exactly for the needles that I have, mainly due to bulk of heads and varying lengths. I want to design it so that I can lay every other needle the opposite way, so that when I fold or roll it, one end isn't all thick with the needle heads/tops.
The double-pointed needles will get their own pockets, and the crochet needles.. I'll figure that out later. : D
I laid all of my needles out and deduced a general size that would hold
everything. I have quite the fabric stash, but was looking for something specific, so it was easy to go through it all. I wanted the inside fabric to be light in color with a firm hand, and the outside fabric to be a nice, soothing print, maybe to match my basket but not be too light, so any dirt/dust wouldn't show up easily.
I found a large rectangle of quilted cream fabric, and a mens shirt with a nice, weave-looking print. I also thought that maybe the shirt's button closure could be a feature for the organizer, but we'll see.
Step 2: Cutting/sewing
pics: 1/2/3. I left the cream rectangle as is, then sewed the side seams of the shirt to resize to be the same as the cream. Sewing the side seams also takes the curve out and squares it off. I then laid the cream over this, right sides together, cut to size, and sewed all four sides together. I opened up one of the side seams to turn it right side out.
Trim seam allowances to about 1 cm, and clip corners so that when turned right side out you can get a nicer point.
Press and turn right side out
Press all edges flat
4. This is what it should now look like. Kinda neat how it looks like it used to be a shirt. ; )
5. Let's slash the buttonholes on the cream directly under the existing ones, then apply fray check. If you don't have fray check, you could use some elmer's glue or clear nail polish.
6. Trim any floating bridge strings, and bind off the edges with some whipstitches, connecting both fabrics' holes together. The satin stitching from the current button hole is thick, and you might have a hard time putting the needle through it, so sew just to the outside of it. Add a few more drops of fray check and move on to the next hole.
7. Stitch opening closed, either by hand or by lining up folded edges evenly and edgestitching.
Step 3: Needle Placement
I've laid out all of my needles as to how I think I'd like them to be. What do you think? I hope it works!
I need to find something to use as strips. I will try to think of 2 or 3 things that work equally well, in case some things are more accessible to people than others.
I think the strips/straps should have some rigidity and a little stretch.
Elastic is one option. There are many different sizes. Colors are generally black or white.
Bias tape is another, and also rigid enough, has some flexibility, and comes in loads of colors.
Hmmm, a third option... I can't think of one that would be readily available.
Since I have lots of 1/4" elastic, I'll use that.
I will use some leftover fabric from the shirt to make the pocket(with a flap) for the double points, but that will be after all the straps are put into place.
Step 4: Laying Out the Straps
I repositioned my needles to make form follow function.
i.e. keeping everything in place with the least amount of elastics.
I have 1/4 elastic that I cut 3 lengths of 16" each. I need less than that but I want extra for turning over the ends, and for getting over the big needles. I'd recommend using 1/2" elastic.
If you are going to use binding, I'd recommend the double fold, 1/2".
I've pinned everything into place, then marked with a disappearing ink pen where I want my stitch lines.
To get everything right, this took a good 20 minutes. You want to start at the end with the big needles, and move towards the smaller.
Step 5: Remove Knitting Needles and Sew
When I took them out I placed them on a table in their size positions, to make it faster to put them back.
Some of my machines have auto thread cutters, and for a project like this with lots of starts and stops I don't want to cut off 100 thread tails. : D Also, since I am using a thin elastic, I am setting the stitch length to 2.0, and will go back and forth a few times.
I stopped when I was 80% done to check on everything. There was some stitching on the middle strap that I wasn't sure about so I wanted to re-pin and re-mark.
Not bad.. I'm going to re-sew a few to allow more or less room, then stitch down the part of the elastic I left undone.
I brought it over to the machine with the knitting needles in, so there was no confusion and everything could be adjusted, sewn and tested, right there.
I'm happy with everything. The larger needles work and look better if reversed, so I like that change. Also, the aluminum ones, especially the larger ones are quite slippery. Adjust those elastics tighter until there is no slip.
Remove all mistake stitches and spray water to remove ink(it will disappear on it's own)
Trim elastic ends, leaving 1 cm tail.
Now I'm ready for the crochet hooks and double-point pockets, both which should be easier and less time-consuming than the knitting needles.
Step 6: Crochet Hooks and Double Point Pockets
I like the idea of all the crochet hooks facing the center. It seems more space-saving and to be an efficient use of the elastic strap.
I don't want to make this too complicated, so I am just going to stitch some vertical lines and go from there. I leave a bit more slack at the end where the larger hooks will go. I need 10 spaces for the bamboo hooks, 2 for the 3 old metal ones, plus one more for the fancy crochet hook.
This looks pretty good and they fit nicely. I'm going to tighten up the elastics for the larger hooks at the left, then run an elastic at the top and bottom.
Now onto the pockets for the double-point needles.
Step 7: Flap Pockets for the Double-pointed Needles
I have 2 sizes with varying lengths, so I'll just make one big pocket with stitch lines to create 4 sections.
I've decided to use the sleeves as they have finished edge that will save me time.
I turned over the raw edges and stitched, then made sure that the height of the pocket wasn't taller than my shortest needles.
pic. 1. Stitched the sides and bottoms down, then 3 vertical lines to create 4 pockets.
2/3. I then made the flap, stitched that on and labeled the sizes in the pockets as some are not etched onto the needles.
The fourth pic is when it is folded and buttoned, so cute!
Fold it two more times and tie with some x-large rick-rack.
I am now ready for all my Winter knitting and crocheting!