Needle reorganization

Many moons ago (actually, it’s been almost six years – can you believe it?) I shared with you my homemade solution for circular needle organization and storage. It worked pretty well for me for a long while, but as my needle collection grew and grew, the tangles became more and more annoying. I’m a fan of knitting blankets, as you know, so I have quite a few 60″ long circs. Those are the worst offenders – they don’t quite fit into the holder, and they tangle like nobody’s business.

It was time for a revamping, and an upgrade.

I poked around the net a little bit for “ready to wear” solutions, but none seemed to be exactly right for me. For example, I knit with a lot of small needles, so I could really use a place to store my US 1.5 needles, separate from my US 1 and US 2 needles. On the other hand, I barely have any use for needles larger than US 9.

At the end, I decided to take some of the ideas I saw on the web, but create my own solution.

I bought some clear Ziploc-style binder pockets on eBay (I would have bought them locally, but didn’t find any in stores near me). I just searched zippered binder pockets or zipper binder pockets, and went from there. I got a total of 15 pockets for about $2 each.

To these pockets I attached some Avery brand self-adhesive index tabs, 2″ wide. I labeled each tab exactly as I wanted, and as my needle collection dictated. I staggered the tab placement in such a way that it would be easy to flip through the binder to the right spot.

All the pockets got filed in a heavy-duty 4″ binder. I first thought that a 2″ binder would suffice, but that was absolutely laughable. I exchanged the 2″ binder for a 3″ one (it was passable), but eventually decided to go all the way and get a 4″ binder.

For now, I’m really enjoying the new system. I’m especially satisfied with the way I’ve been able to separate out my half-needle sizes, like US 1.5, US 2.5. Maybe in another six years I’ll feel the need to upgrade again, who knows? :)

The new needle organizer is a part of a larger project to reorganize and rearrange my work space. It’s a very slow-going process, but for now I’ve reorganized all my loose patterns into (even more) binders, and moved all my knitting and crafting books from their former Billy bookshelves to a new Expedit storage unit. The Expedit is much sturdier than the Billy, so I’m happy with that upgrade, too.


44 thoughts on “Needle reorganization

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  1. Kathy

    I’ve been looking for just such a solution. I just might have to start my own search on eBay and get cranking! I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a 4″ binder! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us all.

  2. pdxknitterati

    I tried that needle solution with a zippered 2 inch binder, and outgrew it. I didn’t know there were 4 inch binders. Maybe I’ll try again…I kept my dpns in with the circulars, too.

  3. KarenV

    I love the needle binder idea! I just put mine in a shoebox the other night, but have been wanting to get them out of their original package and let them “stretch out” a little bit. Great ideas!

  4. riotyarn

    What a great tip on how to organize your needles. I find it very hard to keep track of my needles, so this is an idea I might borrow.

  5. (formerly) no-blog-rachel

    That’s almost exactly the same as my set-up! One additional thing I’ve done is on each folder – let’s say for size 4 needles – I’ve written what type I have of that size. For instance:

    16″ circular Addi

    32″ circular Addi Lace

    7″ Crystal Palace DPNs

    etc.

    That helps me keep track of what I own and if something written on the envelope isn’t in there, I know to look for it in a WIP. I don’t have many of those but once in a while it happens.

  6. TracyKM

    I recently collected up all my needles and made a spread sheet with their size, length, and if they were good for Magic Loop, and also if I liked them or not. I had just over 60 pairs! I was thinking of getting the Namaste case from Knitpicks, but worried that it wouldn’t hold enough (has 15 pockets and they say about 3 pairs could go in each). I am planning to give away some needles, but I also need some more. I have seen where people bought a CD storage case, with plastic, circular sleeves, but the ones I’ve seen have been chinzy and wouldn’t hold 60 pairs either. So I like your option, even if it isn’t eggplant faux leather (crafting ideas coming up…covering a binder?)

  7. Seanna Lea

    I use the Namaste needle holder, which works well when I remember to put my needles back. It isn’t quite big enough if all of the needles are there, but that is hardly ever an issue.

    Your method is certainly a good one especially for its expandability!

  8. Angie

    Thanks for the ideas – I recently had a fabric holder made that hangs in my closet and the needles also hang. I really like that the cords relax and aren’t tangly. A local seamstress made the openings to my specifications and also my friend labeled the needle size on their slots. Works great too!

  9. Amy

    That was so creative of you – I love it! I have an interchangeable set and that seems to be enough for me right now but I can see in my future where I would need more. I’ll have to remember your system.

  10. Kate M

    I have to say, my main frustration with the Billy bookcases is that they aren’t really deep enough for binders.

  11. flaky

    That is darned impressive! I have my circs in jewel cases from CDs. It works out pretty well until I hit the size 11′s – anything bigger doesn’t fit.

  12. LoriAngela

    Awesome upgrade to my system of plasti sleeves in a binder. I wanted to upgrade (so they wouldn’t slip out) but wanted to keep the size and flexibility!

  13. kmkat

    Excellent! I have been pondering my needles organizational system to figure out how to upgrade it. Your solution is perfect — thanks!

  14. Jen

    Thanks for putting this post up. I’ve had this same project on the back burner, but I’ve been having a hard time finding a reasonably price zipper pouchs locally. Your post reminded me to stop at Office Depot today for a last attempt before purchasing something on line. I found clear zippered pencil cases for $.59! :) I’ve got my labeler out and I’m ready to get organized!

  15. Katie

    This is really quite funny because I have time set aside this weekend for the exact project. Only I’m using sheet protectors and plan to put my DPNs and maybe straights of the same sizes in the same pockets with my circulars.

  16. Melissa

    Love the needle organization. I may have to borrow it for my collection. I can never find my needle gauge and the collection is getting out of control.

    Thank you for the inspiration

  17. Debbie

    This is a fabulous idea! I wish you would submit this to Knitty.com or to Interweave Knits! How about Ravelry?! I know others would enjoy knowing this!

  18. WendyBee

    I love this idea, and if (when) my piddly circular collection grows bigger, I will no doubt adopt this system.

    I am always open to new ideas for organizing anything. (Those of us to whom organization is not an instinctive talent are wise to learn the ways of the “Born Organized” in our midst.)

    It never ceases to amaze me how many different things can be organized in 3-ring binders, of all sizes, colors, widths!

    And being an office-supply junkie, this really appeals to me….now I’m trying to think of a way to organize my straights and crochet hooks in binders too!

  19. Sarina

    I use three cigar boxes for circular needles – one for 16″, one for 24″ and one for 32″. I can usually recognize the right size when I go looking in the right box. I may get another box for 20″ as I am starting to collect that length for adult hats – they are perfect. If I made blankets like you, I would need a box for 60″. Your system looks great.

  20. TracyKM

    I was looking at my Staples last night, but couldn’t remember why you had to buy through ebay…I did see sheet protectors with a flap top and I thought they might work, but I did worry about the durability of sheet protectors…they had heavy duty ones that are open on top…oh, a few spots of double sided tape to keep them closed? If it’s in a binder on a shelf, (I agree Billy bookcases are not deep enough), then open tops shouldn’t be too much of an issue?

  21. TracyKM

    One more question—did you keep the original cases from your circulars? When I was making my spreedsheet, I found that the lengths varied quite a bit, and since many were bought at thrift shops, I find the packaging/original pricing interesting.

  22. Lindsey @ Yarnia

    Thanks for sharing your system! I have been searching for a new needles storage solution myself; for the past ten years I have had everything shoved into an Eagle Creek fanny pack, which, it suddenly occurred to me about a month ago, is ludicrous, and so inefficient.

    I finally just ordered myself a handmade needle holder from Etsy, and while it’s better than my old solution, I’m not thrilled with how hard it is to accommodate the long cables and odd-sized utensils. I love the way binders look all lined up on the shelves — so organized and clean.

  23. chloe

    great idea. but have you noticed how expensive those binders have gotten lately? sheesh! I should have kept all mine from the eighties!

  24. BevKnitsToo

    What a great idea! I am totally going to do this as well, I hate the big mess of needles I’m acquiring. Such a tangle mess.

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