Organizing my tools

Over the years that I have been crafting I have amassed quite a collection of needles and hooks. My most often used and most prized "item" is a set of knit picks interchangeable needles.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="177"] Not my photo but this is exactly what I'm describing[/caption]

Received as a Christmas gift maybe six years back from my parents (who are pretty awesome btw). For quite a long time I "lovingly" kept them in the original plastic case and kept them organized by returning them to the cardboard sheet with bits of elastic. I also added quite a few other tools, various crochet hooks, DPNS (double pointed needles), extra cables, larger knitpicks needles, rulers, stitch markers, all kinds of good stuff. It wasn't exactly an elegant solution but it served its purpose well enough.

And then at some-point something happened. I really don't know exactly when what or how but there was something a bit sticky/oily that got into the pouch. It wasn't a complete disaster. The offending substance was easily dealt with using a tissue on whatever tool was needed. But by now the elastic was barely holding the needles in place and well things weren't that great anymore.

So I started looking up case options online. And when I say that I don't mean options to buy, I mean options to sew. I liked this tutorial but as I often do with sewing projects I intended to tweak things to my own specifications.

I decided to start off simple with a crochet hook case. The elements are all quite simple and it went together easily. Now despite being an occasional sewer who really isn't half bad (when I put my mind to it) I don't actually own a few basic items such as a fabric marker. And really I didn't want to have to wash off or deal with lines anyway. So I had the idea to mock up a pattern on the computer, print it off, and use that as my sewing guidelines. The ability to sew over regular computer paper may not be the best thing for ones needle but it really does work quite fine.

Having succeeded at my first project and finding myself with some free time a few days later I decided to tackle my super awesome project - the interchangeable case. And not just a simple one it needed a zipper and pockets!

Before any sewing though one must always put together a plan and then tackle the tedious task of getting all of the pieces you need cut out. I'm finally learning to anticipate that this portion of the project will actually take the most time. I also stumbled upon the amazing revelation that I could mock up all of the needed pieces in word and then print my pattern so that I wasn't measuring and cutting things by hand. Its possible that this system really doesn't save much time but it does make things easier so I'm quite happy about it. And in the end after a good bit of improvising and general craftyness I had a finished case that I love!

After that success I still had it in mind to make a case for the last tools that I regularly use, DPNs, but it just didn't happen for quite a while. Then eventually two weekends ago I put it at the front of my to do list one Saturday. The drafting itself took a surprising bit of time. And I couldn't believe how many needles I had (cat added for scale).

I whittled away most of the day working on it and by that evening I had a finished case. Once again I ended up with some creative thinking in a few places where I should have assembled things in a different order or all together differently. But I made it work and am quite happy with the result.

If you are doing something similar however something I didn't think about until everything was completely done is the weight of the needles. For the crochet hook case I used plastic canvas (the plastic grid stuff you can do needlepoint on) because i have some in amongst my crafting stash. Its pretty sturdy stuff and my hook collection as it turns out is not quite so huge. For the second two projects however I upgraded to heavyweight interfacing (found two rolls on sale at JoAnns!). It works perfectly for the interchangables in part likely because of the way the needles are perpendicular and how I'm storing larger flat items. The DPN case however is pretty floppy. I think even plastic canvas may have had a difficult time standing up to all those metal (my preferred needle material) bits.

All in all I am super happy with my new cases. They are each so different it adds to the fun. When I was showing them off to other yarny friends they were impressed and even commented it looked machine made. But I think that's just the zipper talking. Seriously people zippers aren't that hard (although I may only say that because my sewing machine has a zipper foot now).

I don't think I'd ever make these to sell. There's too much time and effort involved. But I could definitely see them working well as presents for fellow yarny folks. Or perhaps bartering for some other fibery goodness :-)

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