Posts Tagged ‘31 Days to Get Organized’

31 Days to Get Organized: Wrap Up!

Friday, February 1st, 2013
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Wow! What a crazy 31 days of organizing we’ve had. Thanks everyone for following along. I hope you’ve found some of our tips helpful. Also thanks to everyone who left a tip or question in the comments during this series. It helped me to cover some of the organizational issues you’ve been struggling with. And many of you had really useful and creative organizational tips to share.

I’ve compiled a list below of the 31 organizing tasks and tips with quick links to each post. Some of you didn’t have time to join in on the organizing last month. Bookmark the list in your browser or your knitting & crochet Pinterest boards so it’ll be easy to find later when you want to tackle your knitting and crochet organization. Also if your organization falls apart over time, this will be a good list to go through each January to whip things back into shape.

Day 1: 31 Days to Get Your Knitting & Crochet Organized
Day 2: WIPs – Keep or Frog
Day 3: Tips for Your WIPs
Day 4: Storing Your WIPs
Day 5: Keeping Notes about Your WIPs
Day 6: Flash Your Stash!
Day 7: Destashing Your Yarn
Day 8: How to Recycle Yarn
Day 9: Tracking Your Yarn Stash
Day 10: What to Do with Leftover Yarn
Day 11: How to Get Rid of Unwanted Yarn
Day 12: Identifying Mystery Yarn
Day 13: How to Organize Your Yarn
Day 14: How to Keep Moths and Other Critters Away from Your Yarn
Day 15: Organizing Your Craft Books, Magazines, & Pattern Books
Day 16: Organizing Your Single Knitting and Crochet Patterns
Day 17: Using and Reorganizing Your Ravelry Queue
Day 18: Digital Patterns
Day 19: Keeping Track of Your Pattern Library
Day 20: Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks
Day 21: How to Store Your Needles and Hooks
Day 22: Keeping Track of Your Needles and Hooks
Day 23: Tips for Photographing Your Finished Objects
Day 24: Tool Kit Essentials
Day 25: Knitting and Crochet Tools
Day 26: Storing Your Knitting and Crochet Tools
Day 27: Knitting and Crochet Spaces at Home
Day 28: Out and About with Your Knitting and Crochet
Day 29: Storing Your Finished Projects
Day 30: Maintaining Your Knitting & Crochet Organization
Day 31: Wrap Up!

I’d love to get some feedback from you. Either share the tip you found most useful from the organizing series, or ask any organizational question you didn’t get answered. Thanks again everyone for following along. This has been a ton of fun.

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Maintaining Your Knitting & Crochet Organization

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
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If you’ve been following along with our 31 Days to Get Organized blog series, your knitting and crochet life probably looks a little more organized than it did a month ago. But many of you have found that you can put in a lot of time and effort getting organized, but it all falls apart after awhile. The last key part of any organizational system you create is maintaining the organization. Today’s task is to look back at how your craft organization has fallen apart in the past and how you will be able to carve out time to maintain your knitting and crochet organization going forward.

A couple of things to think about as you come up with your new maintenance plan…

  • Find a home for new yarn, patterns, and tools as they come into your home. We all have busy lives and would rather be spending more of our time knitting and crochet. But I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to stay on top of a newly organized system is to find a place to store everything as it comes into your life. Decide where the new yarn will live. Put away patterns, magazines, and books with the rest of your collection. That means digital patterns too – move the file to the correct place on your computer where you can find it easily later. Dealing with the new items right away keeps them from piling up and getting overwhelming.
  • If you like to keep track of what’s in your yarn stash, pattern library, and needle and hook inventory, enter your new items into your tracking systems before you put each item away in their new homes.
  • The last part of finishing a project shouldn’t be weaving in your ends or blocking it. Document all of your hard work. Take pictures of your finished project including close up shots of details. And type up notes about your project right after finishing when it’s still fresh in your brain. What changes did you make to the pattern? How much yarn did you use? What needle or hook sizes did you use? Who did you make it for?
  • Schedule tune-ups for your organizing system. Depending on how quickly yarn and patterns come in and out of your house, schedule regular tune-ups where you go through your yarn, patterns, and tools and clean them up, getting rid of the stuff you no longer want, and re-organizing if necessary. This may need to be a monthly, seasonal, or yearly task for you. I find that if I put these tune-ups on my calendar, they’re more likely to get done.
  • I also like to make a list of priority projects that I want to knit and crochet. This includes making gifts for birthdays, holidays, new babies, etc. I’ll take a look at my calendar and schedule them throughout the year so I can stay on top of these time-sensitive projects. Writing down all of these projects also helps me look at if my expectations for what I want to do are actually realistic. Often I want to make a lot more things than I really have time to do.
  • If you’re having a hard time fitting in enough knitting and crochet time, think about how you can use the wasted bits of time during a week. You can find that knitting and crocheting on the go may add up to a lot of time by the end of the week. Also, if you have some projects coming up that you need to finish, think about scheduling a knitting and crochet vacation for yourself. Carve out an afternoon or a weekend at home (or away) where you can focus your time on your project.

Do you find it difficult to keep up your knitting and crochet organization once it’s in place? How do you fit in all of the knitting and crochet time you want?

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Storing Your Finished Projects

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
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If you’ve been knitting and crocheting for more than a few years, you might have a quite a collection of finished projects by now. Some of you have asked for help on how to store your finished projects, especially if you have big collections of sweaters, accessories, and such. In today’s 31 Days to Get Organized post, we’ll be talking about caring for your handmade garments, tips on how to organize and store them, and how to reduce your collection.

Prepare Your Finished Project Before You Store It

  • The first thing you want to do is make sure your handmade creation is clean before you put it away for an extended time. Dirt will attract critters, so you’ll want to make sure your handknit sweater or crocheted blanket is clean. Follow the care instructions for the yarn you used. Eucalan Wool Wash is great for natural fibers, and some scents have natural moth and flea inhibiting properties.
  • Remove pills that may have developed. Using a tool like a sweater comb or the Gleener Ultimate Fuzz Remover will make quick work of this task.
  • Also repair any holes, seams, or loose ends showing on the right side of your fabric. This may take a little more time, but you’ll be thankful when you pull it out to use the next time.

Storage Tips for Your Sweaters

  • Don’t hang your sweaters. This will cause them to stretch out and get hanger marks over time. It’s better to fold or roll your sweaters and store in drawers or on shelves.
  • If you store your sweaters in drawers, rather than folding and stacking them, roll them after folding in the sleeves. All of your sweaters will be more visible and not hide in the bottom of the drawer.
  • If you have wide shelves, use shelf dividers to separate your piles of sweaters so they stay neater and don’t fall over.
  • Keep similar gauge sweaters together. Don’t stack heavier or bulky sweaters on top of fine-gauge sweaters.

Storage Tips for Your Accessories

  • If you have a lot of hats, mittens, scarves, and other accessories, sort them into individual containers to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. A basket of scarves, bucket of hats, and box of mittens can save you time when you’re rushing to get out the door in the morning. Clear plastic drawers that sit below coats in a closet is a good use of space.
  • Use a storage solution where you can easily see your collection. Shallow boxes on a shelf, a shoe organizer with clear pockets on the back of a coat closet door, or open wire baskets attached to the wall can make finding things easier.
  • Some of your storage can also be a way to display your knitting and crochet work. Show off your felted bag collection on wall hooks, or hang your favorite shawls and scarves on a towel rack for all to see.
  • Check out our Craft Spaces Pinterest board for more storage ideas.

Keep Your Favorites and Find New Homes for the Rest

  • What if your collection has gotten too big for your space? Rotate through your garments, keeping some in deeper storage and the rest more accesible.
  • Weed out the items you no longer wear or use. Find another home for them or put them in your giveaway pile. But take pictures first of your work if you haven’t done so already.
  • Sometimes when you finish a project, it doesn’t turn out like you wanted it to. Don’t get frustrated. Save it for your next yarn swap and include a finished project swap too!

Do you have any other tips for storing and organizing your finished work?

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Out and About with Your Knitting and Crochet

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
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Knitting and crochet are fantastic hobbies for all the reasons we already know, but one of the best things about them is that they are super portable! A small project is the perfect thing to have with you to keep occupied while in line, waiting for the doctor, waiting for the kids to get out of practice, on a plane, in a car – anywhere.

How do you keep your project organized while you’re out? I’ve been known to just toss my project in whatever purse I’m using that day, but velcro and zippers can be dangerous to a project. The GoKnit Pouches are fantastic! They keep your project safe and have a handy strap that can be snapped around your wrist or belt loop. They protect your project from the other items in your bag, and keep your project and tools organized in one place, so you can grab and go.

The Chic.a Single Yarn Keeper is a portable way to tote and protect the yarn you’re working with. You don’t have to worry about it getting tangled in anything else in your bag since you just feed your yarn through the eyelet on the top and the yarn inside the pouch stays protected.

We have lots of other options for bags in tons of sizes and styles. There are bags like the Namaste Harlow that not only store your knitting, but everything else you need – wallet, keys, work, and more. We also have many project bags, like the Blue Sky Pretty Cheep Bag that is perfect for storing your project and stuffing it into a larger bag.

When I knit while I’m out and about, I always get asked “What are you making?” So far, no one has really looked at me funny for knitting in public, but maybe I haven’t picked anywhere all that unusual yet!

What’s the most unusual place you’ve ever knit or crocheted?

31 Days to Get Organized: Knitting and Crochet Spaces at Home

Monday, January 28th, 2013
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If you’ve been following along with our 31 Days to Get Organized series, today’s task may be a nice change of pace. We’re going to spruce up our primary knitting and crochet spaces at home.

One of the beauties of knitting and crochet is that you can do it anywhere. It’s a wonderfully portable activity. Despite that, many of us do most of our knitting and crochet at home. And you probably have only one or two main places that you do the bulk of your work. Maybe it’s a favorite chair in your living room, knitting or crocheting while you watch t.v. Or you might have a corner in a sunny part of the house with great light. Or you may be fortunate enough to have a whole room just for your crafts where you can really spread out.

Step back a take a look at your knitting and crochet spot with fresh eyes. Note the things that have been bugging you. Some things to think about:

- Do you have adequate light to see your work easily?
- Do you have enough nearby storage for the things you use frequently?
- Is it a comfortable place to sit for an extended time?
- Do you have enough horizontal space to spread out if necessary?
- When you look at the space, how does it make you feel? Happy, overwhelmed, excited?
- Do you prefer to work away from the everyday hubbub, or do you like to be in the middle of the action?

Ideally, you want to create a workspace that is comfortable and inviting. To improve your space you might need to change it’s location, rearrange some furniture, or simply get a brighter lightbulb.

If you’ve been watching our organizing thread on Ravelry, you’ll have seen jbtraveler‘s before and after photos of her knitting space. She didn’t make drastic changes to her space, but enough small changes that makes it more functional and enjoyable place to work. I love seeing everyone’s progress.

If you’re looking for more inspiration for your knitting and crochet spaces at home, check out our Craft Spaces Pinterest board for more ideas.

Where is your favorite place to knit and crochet at home?

31 Days to Get Organized: Storing Your Knitting and Crochet Tools

Sunday, January 27th, 2013
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Now that we’ve collected all of our knitting and crochet tools, it’s time to put them away in a way that’s easy for us to find later. Many of you already have a way that you store your tools that’s working well for you. But if you’re still looking for a solution, here are some ideas how others store their knitting and crochet tools.

  • Put your most essential tools into small cases that you can easily fit in a project bag or carry with you. Last Friday, we showed several examples of knitting and crochet tool kits.
  • Create a few mini tool kits so you can keep one with each project you’re working on.
  • Store small items like darning needles and stitch markers in small containers like an Altoids tin, Lantern Moon Mort Ort Bin, or the Namaste Buddy Case.
  • Clear pouches or zipper cases are a favorite way to store tools since you can see what you have, making finding something easier. For an inexpensive version try pencil cases, or if you’re looking for something a little cuter, check out the Chic.a Clear Front Zipper Pouches available in small and large sizes, or the Namaste Oh Snap! Pouches.
  • If you like the idea of clear storage, but need something a little bigger with more compartments, the Knit Happy Fold ‘n Go Notions Box may be just right for all your tools and gadgets.

  • For the crafter who likes to be uber-organized, try looking at non-conventional storage solutions such as a hanging jewelry organizer with pockets, a fishing tackle bag, or a tool box. They have lots of compartments and ways to sort your tools.
  • If you have a drawer available for storage, use modular drawer trays to keep all of your gadgets sorted and easier to find.
  • Avoid deep boxes and storage where smaller items can sift to the bottom and get lost.
  • Do you find that you’re continually hunting for certain tools. Keep a decorative bowl or open container near where you knit or crochet as easily accessible storage for tools that you use frequently.
  • Also if find that you’re not very good at putting away your tools on a regular basis, consider keeping a bowl or open box near where you store your tools as a an intermediate place to collect them until you have time to put them away.

How do you like to store your knitting and crochet tools? I especially love to hear about your unconventional storage solutions.

- Dena

31 Day to Get Organized: Knitting and Crochet Tools

Saturday, January 26th, 2013
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Welcome to the last week of our 31 Days to Get Organized blog series. We’ve all put in a lot of work to get our knitting and crochet yarn, patterns, needles, and hooks organized. We’re in the home stretch now though.

Yesterday we gave you a look inside our knitting and crochet tool kits. Today’s organizing task is a simple one. Collect all of the knitting and crochet tools you can find. Gather all of your stitch markers, cable needles, stitch holders, tape measures, needle and hook gauges, darning needles, craft scissors – all those little tools that we use to help us with our knitting and crochet projects. This might require you to dig through your project bags, sofa cushions, junk drawer, car glove box…all those places these little things start to collect and hide. Of course grab your tool kits too.

Now that you’ve collected all of your tools in one place, spread them out and sort them. You’ll start to notice duplicate items and maybe some things you never use. This is a good time to weed out any of the tools you don’t want or need. Add them to your giveaway pile of yarn and patterns if you haven’t gotten rid of them yet.

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about different ways to organize and store your knitting and crochet tools.

Since we’ll be wrapping up organizing our knitting and crochet this next week, what organizing questions or dilemas do you still have that we haven’t covered already? Leave your question in the comments so we can address as many as we can before wrapping up the series on Friday.

31 Days to Get Organized: Tool Kit Essentials

Friday, January 25th, 2013
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The best part of being organized is having everything you need in one place. When you have a well stocked knitting or crochet tool kit, you’re prepared for any curve ball your pattern may throw at you. Luckily, my co-workers here at WEBS are a lot more organized and prepared than I am! They’ve shared with us their tool kit essentials.

Dena keeps two tool kits. One larger, main tool kit with all the essentials, and a mini kit with the bare necessities when she wants to travel light. On the right, Dena’s mini tool kit includes: Clover Locking Stitch Markers, small ring markers, a tape measure, a crochet hook, two sizes of Clover Bent Tip Tapestry Needles, small scissors, and dental floss. She uses the dental floss as waste yarn and lifelines for lace knitting. So clever!

On the left (her main kit), Dena has her full set Addi crochet hooks, scissors, Clover Soft Stitch Ring Stitch Markers, locking stitch markers, Clover U Cable Stitch Holder, a tape measure, highlighter tape, tapestry needles, Nancy’s Knit Knacks Needle & Hook Gauge and Knit Kards. Highlighter tape is perfect for keeping track of your place in a pattern. You place the tape over the row you’re on so you can easily see your place. Then, you just peel off the tape and move it to your next row!

Greta’s tool kit is in the center. She keeps everything tucked away in her Spud & Chloë case. The case has since been discontinued, but the Namaste Lola Case is a similar size. Her essentials include a crochet hookstitch markers, a yarn needle for weaving in ends, a needle gauge, a cable needle, and pin cushion for sewing needles.

1: Kristin’s tool kit is an adorable vintage chocolate tin. She keeps a row counter, a tape measure, locking stitch markers, darning needles and a yarn cutter pendant. They snip your yarn neatly and don’t have any pointy tips that can poke you.

2 and 3: Sara is so organized, she has two tool kits. She puts my organizational skills to shame! Her tool kit has a small magnet in the lid that all her needles stick to (out of the way so she don’t get stabbed!) She has a tiny pair of scissors, a tape measure, stitch markers and a few random buttons in the top compartment. In the bottom she keep extra darning needles, her business cards and a larger cable stitch holder.

4 and 8: Tina is another organizational pro. She carries most of the regular essentials in her knitting kit: crochet hooks for picking up dropped stitches, a row counter, sticky notes, scissors, a gauge ruler, a tape measure and she prefers straight wooden cable needles. She likes to keep her kit in a clear bag. Our tools are small! So, when trying to find something like a tapestry needle, she likes to be able to visually locate it before diving into the bag. Another thing she finds important is having at least one stitch marker that is a completely different color than the others. If she’s working on a project in the round, with lots of markers, she needs the one that denotes the beginning of the round to stand out from all of the others. That way she doesn’t confuse the beginning of the round with a decrease, for example. (See, I told you she was an organizational pro!)

5: Mary sticks to the bare necessities. She keeps stitch markers and a yarn needle with her.

6: Stephanie likes to be prepared, and keeps practically all her notions with her at all times! She has locking stitch markers, stitch holders, two kinds of tape measures, a pencil, sewing needles, yarn needles, row counters, scissors, a crochet hook, a needle gauge a sewing needle threader and pins. Stephanie and Tina are the only ones here with a pencil in their kit, and it seems like an essential that’s commonly overlooked!

7: Greta keeps her kit in her Lantern Moon cases. We don’t have these specific ones anymore, but these Lantern Moon cases are a similar size. She keeps yarn needles, a tape measure, a stitch holder, a cable needle, locking stitch markers, soft stitch markers and a crochet hook. My favorite part of her tool kit is the Lantern moon cable needle set. It’s beautiful!

What’s in your tool kit? Do you like to be prepared for anything, or just stick to the basics?

31 Days to Get Organized: Tips for Photographing Your Finished Objects

Thursday, January 24th, 2013
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Tips for Photographing your Finished ObjectsWe are all guilty of taking photos like this after finishing a knitting or crochet project. The bathroom mirror is often the first place we think to go when we need a photo. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the worst. Instead of the flattering garment you see in the mirror, the picture instead shows a blinding light in the foreground, flecks of spit and toothpaste on the mirror and a pretty underexposed portrait. In today’s 31 Days to Get Organized blog post, our Multimedia Coordinator Lindsey will share tips and tricks to spruce up photos of your work even if you are shooting with a smartphone or a point and shoot camera.

First and foremost, use natural light. Find a place either outside or in your house near a window to use as your photo space. You want to use as much natural light as possible.

If you will be taking photos of your work without a model, prepare an easily accessible surface or backdrop that you can set your work on. Having a prepared space with the right amount of light will allow you to work quickly and efficiently every time you need to take a photo. This is less work than you think – a nice wooden floor, cutting board or kitchen table work well, as do any fabrics that you may already have around the house.

Bottom left is a space I’ve set up right here at WEBS. Natural light is hard to come by in this concrete warehouse, but I’ve managed to find just the right amount for my work.  Bottom right shows a crocheted hemp bowl that was photographed in this space. I shot the project from the top down to include as much fabric in the frame as possible.

Space for Photos near Natural LightUse Fabrics to Cover Surfaces

When the weather cooperates, take your photos outside. Cloudy, slightly overcast days are my favorite days for photos, but if it happens to be a really sunny day, try to avoid harsh shadows in direct sunlight that cast blotches of darkness onto your work.

Find a dependable backdrop or setting that you can go to for a quick photo – a row of bushes in the backyard, the texture on the outer wall of a shed. Your house or a nearby building would work well in a pinch. I use the outer wall of a neighboring business as a discreet backdrop in the parking lot here at WEBS. Bottom right shows Emma Welford modeling the Valley Yarns Star Paths Cardigan here. Having this space close by is great when I have to shoot a quick, fail-safe photo.

Plain Setting for PhotosStar Paths Cardigan

Ask a friend or family member to model your work. This is a great opportunity to capture the fit and drape of your garment. If your volunteer is seeming restless in front of the camera, ask them to act out a story. This works great with accessories like hats, socks and gloves, though you could also do this with sweaters. Take photos of your model putting on a hat (see bottom left), pulling up their socks, putting their gloves on, buttoning up a cardigan or adjusting the sleeves of a sweater. If you are shooting gloves or mittens, give your model a prop to hold. Pictured below are the Valley Yarns Wavy Gravy Mittens that I photographed with designer Emma Welford holding an umbrella as a prop.

Valley Yarns Chrysanthemum HatValley Yarns Wavy Gravy Mittens

Props can add a lot of character to a garment so don’t be afraid to get creative with them. In this photoshoot for the Dreamer’s Braided Pullover (bottom left), I had designer Emma Welford act out a picnic. Katie C. modeled this Valley Yarns Braid Cardigan at the local farmers’ market. I gave her 10 dollars and a list of things to buy as I followed her around with my camera. After a while she forgot I was there.

Dreamer's Braided Pullover

If your model is really nervous, start by taking closer photos of the design elements in your garment. Maybe there is some edging you want to focus on, colorwork, or an interesting stitch pattern that could use a closer photo. You want to remember all of the hard work and special tricks that went into your garment, especially if you are giving it away. Shoot these photos first as your model gets used to you and the camera. When it’s time to include their face in the frame they will be less nervous. Be positive and keep talking to them. They need to be reminded that there is a person behind the camera. Below are photos of the Leftie Shawl knit by Sara Delaney. This garment had a lot going on so I started with closer shots and then took a step back for a straight-on photo.

Lefti Shawl Close UpsLeftie Shawl

If your model does not want their face to be in the photo you can get away with cropping their face out or posing them in a way that hides them from the camera. These photos show this technique and still showcase the drape and fit of the garment. Kirsten Hipsky models the Valley Yarns Veranda Tam (bottom left), and Greta S. models Stephen West’s Daybreak Shawl (bottom right).

Valley Yarns Veranda TamStephen West's Daybreak Shawl

Don’t forget to move around your model to see the garment from all angles. Stand up on a stool and shoot down – Greta’s Tundra Hat looks great photographed from above. Get down low to see important details from a new angle – from this angle, the lacework in this Pi Shawl really opens up. The power line in the distance adds another sense of height, calling more attention to the garment’s ropy fibers.

Pi Shawl

These are just a few ideas to get you on your way to better photos. Chances are, you’re not wasting any film so try out all of your ideas and pick the ones that work best. Don’t be afraid to take a bad picture – sometimes it’s the really bad ones that you learn the most from. Lastly, stay informed. The internet is full of inspiring work to keep your eyes fresh so if you see a photo that you really love as you’re looking for patterns on Yarn.com or Ravelry, spend a little extra time looking at it and figuring out what makes it great. Having a folder of inspiration will come in handy when you are stuck in a photo rut.

31 Days to Get Organized: Keeping Track of Your Needles and Hooks

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
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Now that you have all your needles and hooks organized, (I don’t know about you, but I discovered a lot of duplicates) you’ve made them easy to find at home when you’re ready to get knitting or crocheting. Now, we’ve all been there. You’re at the yarn store, pattern in hand, wracking your brain trying to remember if you have that G hook at home, or that 32″ US 6 circular. Having everything organized at home is great, but knowing what you already have will save you the trouble of buying duplicates, and will help keep that needle and hook stash down!

 

Personally, I prefer the Ravelry method of tracking my needles and hooks. You can go to your library, and very easily add your needle and hook inventory to the grid. It even has the option to show how many you own of each size. This is so handy when you need two circulars for a project and you can’t remember if you have one or two at home. Then, just print out the card and keep it in your wallet! I put a few strips of clear tape over mine to keep it a little sturdy. When I’m at the yarn shop and buy a needle, I mark it on my card and update my Ravelry when I get a chance. You can even add comments if you want to keep track of the brands you have. 

Have a smartphone? There are a lot of great apps to help you keep track on the go. I like the Vogue Knitting iPhone App. Not only can you keep track of your needles and hooks, but you can also track the yarn and books you have at home, as well as storing information about all your projects.

The Knitting Needles App. lets you organize your needles in an easy to read chart as well as a list. You can also try the Ewe Stash – Knitting and Crochet Inventory App. for comprehensive needle, yarn and project organizing.

The Nancy’s Knit Knack Knit-Kards are fantastic. They have handy notes like knitting and crochet terms, as well as charts to keep track of your knitting needles and crochet hooks.

How do you keep track of your needles and hooks? Do you keep a chart or your smartphone with you to track while you’re out, or keep an inventory at home? Or maybe you like to live dangerously and rely on memory alone!