Storing circular knitting needles
February 27, 2013 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Knitters, how do you store your circular knitting needles?

What it says on the tin. Often I will see nifty craft bags for sale that have a side pouch marked "needles!" Only they're for straight needles.

The circular needles also vary considerably in length, from 6" to 32", which makes it a little awkward to just hang them all on a hook, sometimes. How do you do it?

I also have a gazillion straight needles as well, so bonus points for any just overall storing knitting needles solution.

Thanks, all!
posted by Melismata to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (26 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I use ziploc bags for each circular needle, clearly marked on the outside with a sharpie.

You can also sew a circular case - here is an example pattern.
posted by k8lin at 9:09 AM on February 27, 2013

I have all mine stuffed in one of those big zippered pencil/craft cases. Not so hot with finding the size I need when I start a new project, but infinitely better than tossed in the nearest yarn stash box or bag.
posted by catch as catch can at 9:13 AM on February 27, 2013

I use a glass vase I bought at Value Village for $6 to hold all my needles, my stitch gauge, and even my special purpose shears.

I actually asked how people were storing their needles on the Facebook page for my knitting blog awhile back, and most of the responders also used vases, some used the original plastic cases for the needles and kept them all in a shoebox, some used airtight metal boxes, and someone suggested a circular needle case like this.
posted by orange swan at 9:16 AM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

I made a case similar to the one in the pattern linked by k8lin for my circulars and use something kind of like that for my straight needles, too. I think I got the patterns out of the Stitch & Bitch book (called Roll-Your-Own Needle Case, I think), kind of like the one the person made in this link..
posted by urbanlenny at 9:25 AM on February 27, 2013

I keep my circs in a gallon-sized ziplock. Before I put them in, though, I coil the longer (>9") cords neatly (you know how they come in the package, so that the cords make a circle?) and use a scrap of yarn to tie the cord so that it doesn't uncoil. Then I rubberband (or point-protector) the tips together. I used to just toss them all in the bag, but this makes them a little neater and less likely to turn into a bird's nest.
posted by MeghanC at 9:26 AM on February 27, 2013

I do what catch as catch can does--put them all in one zippered cosmetics case. Mine is flat and small, but holds a surprising number of circulars. I haven't had a big problem with tangling (maybe because it's a flat case?) but I might start using MeghanC's suggestion because it would probably keep them a lot neater.

Not so hot with finding the size I need when I start a new project

I keep a knitting needle gauge in the case too; that way I can make sure the circs I pull out are the right size for my project. I like to keep one in my notions bag too, so I just got an extra one--they're pretty inexpensive.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:30 AM on February 27, 2013

I use a circular needle case - this one, from Namaste.

Before that I kept them in a binder in clear plastic page protectors.
posted by mskyle at 9:30 AM on February 27, 2013

I have two "roll your own" cases, one for my straights, and one that really doesn't roll, but folds into quarters. I'd say it's probably 12x12 square when it's folded up. Each of the four quarters has a pocket of varying sizes - two are large enough that I store my circs in them, inside of the plastic bags they were purchased in (for ID purposes). The other two pockets are smaller, and I use one to store the random crochet hooks I use for detail work, and then the other for stich markers, scissors, ruler, etc.

My mom made both for me, out of pre-quilted fabric. They look fairly simple to reproduce, let me know if you'd like me to take photos tonight.
posted by librarianamy at 9:31 AM on February 27, 2013

The Stich-and-bitch book does have a pattern for circular needle cases.

But I store mine in a side pocket of my knitting bag, and found these nifty clip-on ID tags that tell me at a glance what size a given needle is (they're cheap, they're bright yellow plastic with black type, and the clip onto the plastic cords really easily).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:32 AM on February 27, 2013

You all need to get yourselves a hanging circular needle organizer. I was given one as a gift and holy cow, it's awesome. I have it hanging from the rod in the closet where I keep all my knitting stuff but you can wrap the top part around the bottom of a hanger so it takes up less closet space. My hanger's pretty well populated so it can look a little crazy and spiky but I know exactly where everything is, always. I was in my LYS over the weekend and noticed they had the same exact organizer hanging in the back, where they do their classes and such, and theirs looked a little like a hedgehog because it had so many needles in it.
posted by SeedStitch at 9:38 AM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have a fishing tackle binder very much like this one. Each size and length of circular get their own labeled pocket, and there are plenty more pockets for notions, double-points, and everything else.

It zips shut, holds a ton, you can add more pocket sheets if needed, and it is portable and durable. Check out some fishing/sporting shops for something similar.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:53 AM on February 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

Oh, I used the hanging needle organizer for a while too. Not for me. The needles were always getting tangled up in each other.
posted by mskyle at 10:00 AM on February 27, 2013

I'm of the gallon ziploc with a gauge inside team, but a new way of storing would be a nice thing.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:07 AM on February 27, 2013

I use this, which I had assumed was intended as a general art-supplies case. I've also made two similar cases that roll up instead of zip like those linked above, with a bunch of long skinny pockets for straight needles and a few wide deep pockets for circulars.
posted by mchorn at 10:16 AM on February 27, 2013

I use a mini-binder-with-page-protector system that's sort of like this, but without fancy cover, etc. I just stuck squares of masking tape on each of the pages and wrote the needle size/length on it.
posted by ella_minnow at 10:25 AM on February 27, 2013

I mostly use an interchangeable set, but for my smaller needles that are fixed to the cords, I actually store them back in the original packaging when I'm done with them, and keep the little packets in a zippered case that also holds my interchangeables. It means my needles never develop super straight cords, but I've never found a bit of twist in the cords actually gets in the way of my knitting.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:26 AM on February 27, 2013

I have one of these which I got when they were on sale at my LYS.

I just put a label on each pocket saying which size and length is in each pocket.
posted by Lucinda at 10:27 AM on February 27, 2013

we used to have the cutesy sewn ones. but then we stole a friend's idea.

get a gigantic binder. get these: one for each size of circs (0, 1, 2, etc.)

label each pouch with the appropriate size.

put pouches in binder.

put needles in binder (you can put circs and dpns in the same pouch!).

put on bookshelf or wherever you want.

easy, labeled storage.


we have been knitting for like 10 years and this is the GREATEST THING EVER.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:38 AM on February 27, 2013 [6 favorites]

I keep mine in their original package, all of them stuffed in a metal lunch box, with needle sizes together and empty packaging (because the needles are in use) at the front and a needle sizer on top of it all. I often have a few hooked over the lamp at desk, waiting to be put away. Straights, which I never use anymore, are in a vase on my desk.
posted by upatree at 11:44 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm just popping back in to say I found the exact tackle binder I have (I had no idea what key words to use use when I started this search.)

I have the large, I'm pretty sure. $11.99!
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:46 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I keep mine in a soft sided cd-case. One per cd slot. It's getting a bit destroyed after 8 odd years, but it's nice and portable.
posted by kjs4 at 1:32 PM on February 27, 2013

Mine are in a big vase along with all of my straight needles. The circs stick out crazily, kind of making it look like a giant dead metal spider plant.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:41 PM on February 27, 2013

I have one of the Namaste circular needle cases, but I find that the longer needles need to be coiled up quite a bit to fit inside, and it fills up pretty fast. One of my friends suggested using an accordion file -- you can buy a cheap one in office supplies or a really decorative one. I haven't done that yet, but I suspect I will soon.

I thought about using one of the hangers, but I don't have a closet to keep it in (my workroom is in the basement, and it's all shelves), and I have cats, so keeping it on the end of a case wouldn't work very well (instant cat toy!).

(straight needles are in a zippered DellaQ case, dpns are in an AshlandSky roller. Well, the ones that I haven't used in the last 3 months, which are in a decorative pencil cup.)
posted by jlkr at 1:43 PM on February 27, 2013

All great suggestions! Thanks so much.
posted by Melismata at 2:19 PM on February 27, 2013

I use the three-ring binder and page protector system that misanthropicsarah describes. It's dead easy; you could go to your local dollar store or CVS, get yourself a binder, and start tonight. I priced out some of the fancy needle cases too, but ultimately I was too cheap and too impatient to wait for an etsy order or whatnot.
posted by ActionPopulated at 4:33 PM on February 27, 2013

Wow, misanthropicsarah is a genius.
posted by libraritarian at 8:58 AM on February 28, 2013

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