bags, books, knitting, links, products, tools

In The Bag



I thought that this week I might show you so me of the things in my knitting bag. Not projects, mind you, but some of the tools I carry around with me.

LJ Kaelms. I’ve been wanting to do a review of this bag since I got it, but it hasn’t happened yet. Someday, though.
First, the bag.
This is a Jordana Paige LJ Kaelms. These normally sell for $89 USD, but I won this bag two years ago when it debuted through a drawing on Facebook. It isn’t the JP bag I would pick for myself (that would be a Knitter’s Satchel, if anyone is wondering) but when it comes to knitting and designing on the go, this is the best bag in my (modest) collection.
One nice thing about this bag is the divider. Purse stuff in the front (bottom of image) and knitting stuff in the back (top of image). Like the bag, most of the stuff I carry has to do double duty.
Obviously, every knitting bag contains knitting. Note that by happy coincidence, the yarn matches the bag. 
I always carry a notebook and pen. Though I’ve tried many styles and sizes, I have a preference for 5 subject college ruled spiral bound notebooks with perforated pages. This notebook has, at various points, contained notes and bits and pieces of six different stories, drafts and outlines for blog posts (including this one), to do lists, and preliminary charts and patterns. 
To make things easier to find, I draw little symbols in the upper corner of every page. This symbol means that this page is blog-related.
I’m not really a pen snob, but I have specific pens that I like. I order blue and green Pilot Rèxgrips by the box from Amazon (and Pentel Energels, but that’s a different story). I’m usually not a fan of ballpoints, but these have a really smooth line, they’re sturdy, and I’ve never hit a single air bubble or interruption in the ink flow. I started using a variation of these in Florence, and tracked them down as soon as I got back to the states. I use them for everything. 
Taking care of your hands is a huge part of knitting. Rough hands snag yarn and create drag that slows down knitting. Chipped nails leave snags and break. This manicure kit was $7, and I carry it everywhere. The cuticle scissors are perfect for cutting yarn. 
Burt’s Bees Thoroughly Therapeutic is my new favorite hand lotion. It moisturizes better than anything I’ve ever tried, and the twist top means it doesn’t leak in my purse the way the flip top and pop top styles most travel lotions have do. I expound at length about Burt’s Bees and kit this came from here and here.
I found this kit at Michael’s for $4 USD on clearance. Anyone else noticing a color theme? 
From the right: 
Crochet hooks–I don’t usually carry these, but there was room in the kit, so I added them. 
DPNs–The reason I don’t carry crochet hooks These are size US 7 (a good middle size). They’re from a set of 4 that has one missing, and are great for picking up dropped stitches, or dropping down to fix mistakes.
Measuring tape–For obvious reasons. 
Nail clippers–would normally be in the manicure kit. The original set got dull, and my replacements aren’t slender enough to fit in the case. But this is as good a place as any for them, since they can also be used to cut yarn (I wonder how that other set got so dull in the first place….)
Cable needle–For cabling, of course.
Idiot tags–also known as price tags. I got the idea from Maggie Righetti’s Knitting in Plain English. Loop them through a stitch at the end of your row to keep track of your row number, or make notes about pattern details, alterations, the number of decreases….anything you might forget. Then just snip them out when you’re done.
Substitute your iPhone, if you’re lucky enough to have one. I am not, so I suffice with this.
Another items that is always in my bag is my iPod Touch. Aside from using Safari to access Ravelry and look up techniques, and Maps to find yarn stores I honestly  don’t use it much for my knitting, but there are a few apps that I have–Knit Counter Lite, which is a free app that acts as a row counter and project notebook, allowing you to track rows and information like yarn brands and dyelots for multiple projects. There is a pay version, but I haven’t seen it and I don’t know what the advantages might be. Convertknit does what it says on the tin. Use either a handy chart or the built in calculator to convert needle sizes, yarn thicknesses, or weights and lengths to your system of choice. It includes American, European, Metric, English, Japanese, and Imperial options.  
For the fun side of things, I also have Knitting Mania, which is a free game in which you have to “knit” so many rows in a given time, and miTypewriter, which is not knitting related but just as fun. But that is also a review for another day. 
The project info for the London Calling Cabled Cardigan as seen in Knit Counter Lite, and the conversion calculator in ConvertKnit.
Lastly, my maneki-neko (Japanese lucky cat). These cute little guys are supposed to bring luck, especially in business. Since I want to make a living on my knitting, I figure my knitting bag is the best place for it. I’m superstitious like that.
What’s in your bag?