Around here right now everyone is talking about back to school, and vaguely aware of incoming fall seasonal things despite being in the muggy fog of a heat wave that has not let up for a week. I myself am not heading back to school, but I am starting to think very keenly about a ramp up in knitting activity pretty soon. More sweaters, more accessories, just…more. But the miscellaneous activity of the summer adds up too, and I’ve been taking the odd moment to start bringing order and organization to small corners of my knitting life.
Even if it’s still too hot, too busy, or too something to go into a full dive into fall knitting quite just yet, I’m going to recommend taking a spare few moments this month to make sure you’re ready to go. Take stock of your supplies so you have a good sense of what you need, what you don’t need more of, and what you could stand to give away or throw away.
First, give yourself permission to throw away things that aren’t working out so well: Those cables for the interchangeable needles that have gotten a kink in them and don’t sit right, the stitch markers you got in an emergency but they keep breaking on you more often than you’d like and you’ve come to hate them a little bit, the page protector you’ve been using over and over even though you spilled tea on it back in July and it’s still kind of sticky…whatever the equivalent is for you, it’s okay to ditch it. Most knitting materials and notions problems can be solved for about $10 or less, which if you think about it is a pretty big bargain for the peace of mind.
How are your current supplies looking? Are you still short a couple of needle sizes? You lost your favourite cable needle three months ago and it never reappeared again? Start a list of needs. Do you have a button box that you are afraid of opening because nothing is matched up? Get matching. Has your summer knitting accumulated in a pile of discarded needles that never made their way back to the case or needle box? Time to corral those suckers. (this last one is definitely for me. I have a snarl of Addi Turbos on my table that are perfectly useable and I have no idea which sizes they are because they’ve been hanging out so long).
Where do you knit most often at home? How are you set up there for things you might need to be in arm’s reach? Double-pointed needles, crochet hooks, pens and pencils, stitch markers and some stitch gauge rulers will all fit nicely in a mug or pencil jar. (Mine is currently full to bursting and could stand to have some culling, actually). How are you supplied for tapestry needles, post-it notes, tape measures, stitch markers, and waste yarn or stitch holders? If you’re knitting sweaters or anything with cable patterns, you’ll need most of those things. Set yourself up a little kit for the nearest table or shelf with whatever you’re most likely to use often.
Finally, are you all set for knitting on the go? Are you back to work, back to school, or back to a different routine at this time of year? Did you change handbags or backpacks? Make sure you’ve got a travel notions kit ready to go. All of the things below fit in my little empty Altoids tin – stitch markers (decorative, ring, and closeable, all miscellaneous and all from different original sets because these things take on a life of their own and disperse everywhere), tapestry needles and a pin for tightening the cords on my KnitPicks interchangeable sets, a portable needle gauge pendant (one of the few needle gauges that fits in a little tin like this), puppy snips from HiyaHiya (small enough to fit in the tin, also juuuuust sharp enough to cut wool but dull enough that nobody will consider them a security risk – or at least nobody has yet, also they apparently come in an octopus version now and i want one), and a retractable tape measure.
This can seem like a lot, but once you stop and take quick stock of the things you need to have on hand, it gets easier. It’s also okay to take these kinds of tasks one at a time. For me, just organizing the button box was huge. It’s also incredible how quickly all these little supplies can multiply. If you don’t have a good sense of what you have on hand, it’s all too easy to end up buying more of something only to open a box and realize, oh look, I had three of those all along, so it’s good to check in every so often. It’s like a closet sort-out before you go shopping for clothes, to make sure you know what you’ve got and what you need, and what you definitely don’t need more of.
Happy September, knitter friends! I’ll be back later this week with more project chatter, because there’s lots of knitting to get done. I hope your month is off to a good start.