I met Susan on the first day of the second semester in freshman physical science. In that class we sat at tables of three, and all first semester a very cute guy sat in the center seat of my table. I had a little crush on him. So on the first day of the second semester, Susan showed up and SAT IN HIS SEAT, and he was never seen in that class again. Ugh! I hated her. But she kept showing up in my other classes, and I soon learned that she was smart, funny, and very pretty but totally unaware of her own beauty. Soon, we became best friends.
It was an odd friendship from the beginning. Susan is very tall, I am fairly short. We looked like Mutt and Jeff when we hung together. Susan is incredibly brilliant, fast thinking, and articulate. I never thought of myself as smart, and I am shy and not articulate at all. She was perfectly at home with the popular crowd and every smart boy in our school had a crush on her. I blended into the background and hung out with the science geeks when I was being sociable at all (more often I had my nose in a book at lunch and between classes). Susan is athletic--she even played (Powder Puff) football. I am the antithesis of athletic. But something clicked and we were good friends throughout high school. She is the only classmate I kept in touch with when I went away to college and beyond. This year (oy!) we will be attending our 30th high school reunion--we've known each other for 34 years.
So, when Susan swoops in to town, it's never a dull moment. We visited, ate too much junk food, and shopped, schlepping the girls along. It was Susan who treated E to a floor rocker she was eyeing in Target (mean, mean Mommy would not buy it for her), and brought JB a beautifully illustrated copy of The Prnicess and the Pea.
Oh, and she brought me an amusing gift, too!
A toilet seat.
It is a very good friend indeed who can bring you a gift like that and not offend. 'Nuf said.
OK, on to the knitting:
Almost as much as the tools, I love containers for my knitting projects and for my tools. I have too many bags, baskets, and other containers for knitting around my house. I consider them decor, but WG is not of the same opinion. Recently he commented that he finds knitting bags everywhere, most containing just a ball or two of yarn, and he wants to know what that's all about.
Either I've finished the project contained in that container and that's the leftovers which have not been put away in my oddballs collection or charity bag, or it's an abandoned object. I tend to pick a particular container for a particular project, and it's gotta be "just right". So there are a lot of containers that just aren't in use at a given time--they may be when they are needed for some future project. Also, I sometimes move a project from one container to another to accomodate where I'm going to knit--in the car (while someone else is driving, of course!), on a plane, in a lecture, at a meeting, in bed, in the recliner, in the knitting room/office at our house.
My current most favorite knitting container is this basket I got from Trader Joe's for about $8. It must have been designed with knitting in mind. It's lined and there are four generous pockets inside. There is a drawstring closure to keep Jazmine's nose out of my yarn. The basket is lightweight and easy to carry. It's quite attractive IMHO.
Right now I am knitting the placemats from Sally Melville's Color book, and nothing could be more perfect to contain this project! There are exactly four colors in this project, so each ball of yarn has it's own pocket. There is plenty of room in the middle of the pockets for my thread cutter (hey, a favored tool that did not make it to Part One), the WIP, and my typed row by row description of the pattern. The woven surface of the basket even reflects the woven appearance of the linen stitch placemats. It's divine!
I wanted one of thes African Market baskets for quite a while, but couldn't spend $25. I found this one, slightly misshapen, at Ross for only $5. It has held many a project (like the ill-fated to the Cottage Sweater for WG), especially bulky ones like big wool sweaters and felting items. Recently, I found a "Purse Bright" organizing system (As Seen on TV!) for just $9.99 and bought it for this basket. It has lots of little pockets to store items needed for the knitting, and a light to help me find things in it's depths. I don't have a current project in this basket, but I think the Purse Bright will help. So now I have $15 invested in it.
For socks and lace weight scarves and shawls, I like this drawstring bag I made. It is made out of a remnant of Ultrasuede I got for cheap from the fabric store in a calming mushroom color. It's just the right size for a ball of yarn, a set of needles, and a small project. I can hang it on my wrist and knit standing in line or waiting in a waiting room. It tucks discretely in the center console of my car when I need a small project to have with me "just in case". I usually tuck a typwritten copy of the pattern in there too, and hang a few extra rubber markers on a safety pin in the bag in case they are needed. Sometimes I tuck in the little crochet hook (see Part One) to fix mistakes if necessary. If I carried a large enough purse (I don't, but I used to), I could tuck this in the purse.
I have a collection of various canvas bags WG and I've collected from conferences to carry the odd knitting project. I try to keep in mind that the bag advertises something, and be mindful of what the reaction might be where I carry it. Recently, WG got this great nylon bag from a wine conference, it is the best of this type of bag.
I like this small tin "lunch pail" for small projects like socks.
Another favorite for small projects is the felted Moebius basket I made following a pattern from Second Treasury of Magical Knitting by Cat Bordhi (these Moebius projects are the most fun you can have on one circular needle!). The hand pin belonged to a good friend of mine who died of lung cancer last year. Her husband gave out her collection of hand jewelry (she was an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist) to her friends. I only put the most special projects in that basket.
Occasionally, I use a cute shopping bag for a project. E wanted me to use this pink bag I got at W for her Ruffled Surplice. It matches the yarn!
As I said, I also love the containers for tools and notions. Here are just two of my collection of tins for holding stitch markers, tapestry needles, row counters, safety pins, the odd earring, etc. I have one of these beside my bed, one in my knitting chair, and one in the current WIP baskets or project bags. My favorite is the Celestial Seasonings Tea Bag box. It's a bit smaller than the others (i.e. Altoids), but very pretty, and it smelled like the tea (apple cinammon, yum!) for a long time.
I made a cover for this little tin out of FIMO, but never baked it yet. I can't decide if I like it or not.
When I travel, I use an old dental floss container to hold a few rubber ring markers and safety pins. The floss cutter on the container works for cutting yarn--great for airline travel. (Not pictured).
Containers for needles are another thing I love. I don't knit with straight needles except very large needles for scarves and occasionally with DPN's (rarely, I use Magic Loop for EVERYTHING). I just keep all the straight things in this glass vase by my knitting chair.
I tried all sorts of things for my circulars, but hated everything. I wanted something like the "Circular Solution", but I don't like the printed white fabric. So I bought a remnant of a heavy woven fabric and a purse handle, and made my own version (email me if you would like the pattern for this). There was a enough fabric to make two, and purse handles come in pairs, so the second one went to a Knitlist buddy in Pennsylvania (Hi Marty!). I think it's quite attractive, if I do say so myself, and I love how it lets the cables of the needles relax. I added the little number tags purchased from the scrapbook dept of the craft store so it would be easy to find the right sized needles. I also attached a needle gauge to check needle sizes.
Last but not least is the zipper case for the Knit Picks Options Needles. It didn't look like much from the catalog picture, and I was not expecting it to be as nice as it is. IT has an attractive cloth cover with leather (not sure if the leather is real) trim and a zipper all around. There are generous interior pockets at either end, including a zippered pocket. There is a pen-holder loop in the back. The rings are large and easy to open. This would make a great Day Timer notebook and I think it was very reasonably priced at $19. I don't have any of the KP project bags or the magnet board, but it coordinates with them.
The plastic pockets are just the right sizes to hold the needles, cables and notions and there is a good combination of two each with one section, two with two sections, two with three sections. My entire collection of KPO needles fits in without bulging. The whole thing is neither too small nor too big. It will stand on end like a book or lie flat. I am very happy with this case, as I am with the entire set. Way to go, KP!!!! NAYYY.
I had the Denise set for a time. I admired the organization of the set and it's plastic case, but I thought it was a bit cheap and kitschy. I didn't like that the cables and needles fit in there one way and one way only. I don't mean to dis it--it was a nice set, but I'm much happier with my KP.