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October 27, 2011

Soon after getting into my yarn hobby I realized I needed better storage for my tools, so I started looking around for ideas. I wasn't really pleased with what I saw. I didn't want a fabric rollup needle case, it just didn't seem secure enough to me. I wanted everything in one container. And by everything I meant crochet hooks, knitting needles, all the various accessories and tools, and instructions. Everything but the yarn, in fact. And right now, I think I have it.

What I bought:

A Mead Five Star zippered 3 ring binder. It has two mesh zippered pockets, one inside and one outside. There is an accordion style pocket thing on the inside left that is for loose papers, with about 3 compartments. It's big, big enough for my ever so slightly oversized Leisure Arts books.

What's inside:

Rubbermaid Magazine holders. These are narrow strips of plastic with 3 ring binder spaced holes and a long slot. You slip your magazine or booklet through the slot and it can now be held in place in the rings. It wasn't big enough for the oversized booklets, but those can sit nicely in the back.
A 3 ring binder folder, for loose instructions that I don't feel like hole punching.
A small pair of scissors for cutting yarn.
A retractable tape measure.
A pencil.

What it holds:

I'm still new to the hobby, and I'm trying very hard to behave and only buy tools as I need them. I did buy a 'learn to knit' kit which came with quite a few items.

Front pocket:

A stitch counter
some plastic rings that I assume are stitch markers but I haven't figured out how to use them yet
yarn needles
A knitting gauge
a stitch holder
a cable needle
retractable tape measure
tatting shuttle (yes, I DID mean everything)
my custom made row reminders (I made these when I was knitting my first scarf and repeating four rows over and over. I kept forgetting where I stopped and found it difficult to tell by looking at it. Basically they look like plastic bread tags. I took white fun foam and cut small rectangles, and then cut an X in one half of the rectangle. I wrote a number on the other half. The needle slides through the X (it also worked pretty well to keep the yarn from sliding off!). I picked the number of the row I stopped at and slid it on when I was done. Saved me a lot of confusion!)

Two pairs of knitting needles, sizes 6 and 8

Inside zippered pocket:
two sets of circular needles
set of double pointed needles

Accordion Pocket:
Crochet Hook Board

I made this, too. I bought the Crochet Guy's hook set, and it came with the weirdest hook case I've ever seen. I can only guess how it was supposed to work. I did like how the hooks were held in place by elastic, but the stupid thing was held closed by VELCRO. Let's think about this. Yarn. Velcro. Yarn. Velcro. THIS IS NOT A GOOD COMBINATION! It's disaster waiting to strike. So I took some heavy cardboard (actually the board you put behind cross stitch when you want to frame it, very rigid stuff) and made a fabric slipcover for it, onto which I sewed my own strips of elastic. I stitched enough tiny pockets for each crochet hook (about 16!) and it pops neatly into the accordion folder. If the accordion pocket hadn't been there, I would have made the slipcover wider, and sewn appropriately spaced buttonholes into the edge to slip it onto the rings. I don't expect to get any more crochet hooks, but I can easily make similar ones for future knitting needles.

The only thing I couldn't fit in the case was the paper towel tube I reserved for making center pull yarn balls. I haven't even tried it yet, so it may not work at all. I'm going to try to find a smaller hollow tube that can fit inside the rings.

Overall, I'm pleased. It's a bit heavy, but I've got everything I need in there except the yarn.
October 11, 2011

I took a break from yarn to acknowledge the season. I wanted a little bit of Fall color for the house, and had a wooden basket, and found some pretty flowers half off at Michaels, and got this:

The basket in itself is awesome. Brian's Grandpa Leitner made it. It collapses flat! And as far as I can tell, it's only three pieces. The handle, the narrow base that runs underneath, and the basket part, cut in a spiral that acts like one of those travel cups. The handle pivots so the whole thing becomes a flat piece which can be tucked away when not in use. I don't understand why it works, and I'm afraid to ask in case it stops working.

The autumn colors really make the wood pop, and it goes really well with the soft cream in the living room, where I have on display the other arrangement because I bought way too many fake flowers for this little basket! I was glad to finally come up with an idea, though. I wanted to display it so much, and leaving it empty didn't feel right. Most flower arrangements seem to be vertical, so I was at a loss for ideas. I didn't want to put fake fruit in it, although cherries or small berries might be interesting, or round red beads. Acorns might have worked, too. I still have plenty of time to fuss with it - I can already see a few spots that need some extra attention.