Needle and Pattern Storage

I’ve done posts in the past on storing stash yarn (including serious posts and not-so-serious posts), and on what you can do with yarn bits ‘n bobs, but I haven’t done posts on storing needles or patterns, yet. Several months ago, I got tired of my basket of misc. circular needles and decided to get organized, once and for all. I picked up three of the Namaste Circular Needle Cases and stocked them with all of my circs. (Three, because it took three to fit all of them in.) I use the green one for the 8-16″ lengths. (Green for “growing”. I figured that would help me to remember it’s the littlest lengths of needles). I use the red one for 22-32″ lengths. (Red because it’s one of my favorite colors and I knew I’d be using that one most of all.) Β I use the black one for 36-60″ lengths. (Black because we had more black cases in stock at the time!) I really like the way this has worked out. The cases are compact and easy to store, and it’s easy to grab one of them if I’m going on vacation and want to take some with me.

I haven’t organized my straights and DPN’s into one good system yet. I have several small organizers that I’ve picked up over the years, but the problem is, that leaves all of my needles in different places instead of into one system. (The other problem is, I happen to like all of the different little small organizers that I have. So maybe I’ll leave that alone for the time being.) I do have misc. straights and DPN’s in vases like this, both here at Loopy and at home. I like the way it looks, even though it’s not set up for quick and easy needle-finding. If you do this, be sure to cut a piece of felt to put in the bottom of the vase, to protect the points.

The other thing I don’t really have organized are my patterns. Who has some good tips for pattern organization? With many of my sock patterns, I’ve typed up the stitch pattern into a larger font (hello eyes that can’t read tiny print like they used to) and I store them inside the page protector for that pattern. I also keep several of my favorites written up on index cards. I like the ones that this etsy artist has. And I use Dropbox between my computer and iPad for the patterns that I have scanned and saved as pdf’s, so that I have some current patterns available there as well. But I don’t have any easy way to access ALL of my sock patterns or ALL of my shawl patterns, etc.

Do you have any needle or pattern storage tips that you can share?

Sheri whothinksbeingorganizedsavesmoretimeforactualknitting


  1. I’ve tried several solutions for organizing my circulars and I will add my voice to the praise for the Namaste cases you mentioned here: they were the only circular needle organizer that did the trick for me. I LOVE THEM!

  2. I’m so glad you showed the Namaste circ cases. I have the needle binder case, and while I love it in general, it doesn’t quite do the trick with all of my circs. The cases you showed look perfect!

    Now if you would just solve my pattern problem. I used to print everything out and put it in a plastic cover and then put them in binders. I have one enormous binder for socks, one for scarves and shawls, one for sweaters (with dividers to split up short sleeve/long sleeve/kids/mens), one for misc… but then I started using my laptop for most knitting. I probably have nearly one hundred patterns there. Then there are some in emails, some that were printed and never made it into the binders, some in my Ravelry library. Get the idea- my patterns are a disorganized mess!!!

    I’ll be stalking the comments for ideas from all of the clever Loopy followers!!

  3. I definitely need to get some of those Namaste circular cases. Right now my needles are stored in the plastic drawers you can find at Wal-Mart – one drawer for dpn’s, one for bamboo circs, one for metal circs, etc.

    Most of my patterns are stored in folders on my computer and backed up on an external hard drive, but I also like that I can access my Ravelry library on my iPod Touch (also works for iPhone and iPad) – instructions can be found here:

    I also use Evernote and Goodreader apps on my Droid devices to access electronic PDF’s of patterns, and here’s another tip. When you find a pattern you like on the web that’s not PDF (think Knitty), you can “print to PDF” and save a copy on your computer without printing to paper using a free program called CutePDF, or some of the newer computers have the ability to print to PDF. I always do this with something I love at the time and it’s been a lifesaver. Remember when MagKnits disappeared off of the web? I still had the Jaywalker pattern on my computer, before Grumperina was able to get it republished in Ravelry. πŸ™‚

  4. I need a better solution for my dpns. I had a needle case, but it was clunky and didn’t fit even half of my dpns. I’ve also done the vase thing (or did until earlier this week when I dumped them all out looking for a pair of dpns).

    I don’t really have a suggestion for pattern storage. I have a tendency to have folders and part of a bookshelf dedicated to them, but it doesn’t make them easier to find or browse.

  5. Well, my needles that are not in projects are in a box, more or less in order. πŸ™‚ I just got the Della-Q case for my crochet hooks at Fling, and was surprised by how many must be off with projects there, too. (Love it, by the way.) I’m liking those Namaste cases. I may have to get those.

    As for patterns, I have a semi-organized manner for them, including a file box for looseleaf patterns, boxes for magazines, and book shelves for books, but organized? no. Not really. Workin’ on that. I’m thinking I need to make a database to keep track of things.

  6. I agree with the others above… I think the BEST solution for patterns is a data file–I have my on Ravelry, but I ‘ve also created a copy on my desktop for patterns. I do have 2 giant notebooks with patterns in them (because I started the collection that way), but I’m terrible at refiling them after use, or if I get knitting A.D.D. and have to start another project, the paper version usually gets lost. If they don’t get lost, they get stuffed into the notebook’s front pocket–not a pretty site at all!!

    Needles are a little better… I made a nice big needle holder with a flap that keeps them falling out. The holder rolls closed and is tied shut. I use the holder for all of my miscellaneou staight and dpn needles. I also have Della Q that use for just my Knit Pics dpns and circs… and I have a Knit Pics organizer for my KP straights. However, on any given day, I’m likely to find more needles residing in Work in Process than anywhere else.

  7. I have a small accordion file box with a handle that I use for my circulars, size 4 and up. Then I have a zipped pencil box that I keep all of my smaller circs in (portable to sock knitting) and the needles are in the poly bags they came in (mostly addis, with some KnitPicks). My patterns that have been printed are in page protectors and then in binders by type (socks, mittens, hats, sweaters, wraps and shawls, etc). Now that doesn’t mean that I am organized enough to not have lots of patterns loose and waiting to go into binders…that would go counter to my nature!

  8. My philosophy is that you can spend all your time organizing, or most of your time knitting. I opt for the latter.

    My circular and double-pointed needles are dropped, by size and type, into those clear vinyl page cover things, which are subsequently put into wide binders. Each needle size has its own vinyl page. I rarely use straights anymore, so those are kept together in a rectangular canvas bag, points down. If I were ambitious, I would sew up some storage cases myself. I have plenty of quilting fabric… but then I’d be unrolling and rolling those cases, to find needles.

    As far as patterns go… those I have printed are kept loosely in manila folders, labeled socks, stoles, scarves, shawls, cardigans/vests, techniques… etc. All my patterns are in pdf format on CD’s, and also on my computer hard drive. Every so often, I burn them to CD’s. I also have my purchased patterns in my Rav library. It would be a good idea to duplicate the patterns onto a thumb drive! I have been spoiled by Rav, as I know it is easy to locate any pattern by searching there.

    An inventory of my yarn and prospective projects is maintained in document format on my computer’s hard drive. One document is the yarn inventory, and the other is the project inventory, both organized by yardage. When it’s time to begin a new project, I have fun perusing my “inventory”, deciding what appeals to me for the next project, and casting on. I have not taken the time to load my inventory to my Rav account.

    Knit on!

  9. Ooh Sheri you are hitting on something we all seem to struggle with! Most recently my attempt at storing straights had been a paper towel tube … inside another open folder type thing so I’m sure the points need protecting. Thanks for the tip about the vases and the felt. I will also be looking at those Namaste circ cases! I’ve been trying to keep those organized because my metal ones don’t have the needle size on them – and I’ve yet to acquire a needle gauge – so I keep them in their original pouches. sigh.
    We are still getting settled into our new place but I have tons more yarn storage and I’m looking forward to using every last bit of it !!! : )
    Hooray for growing stash stealthily … : ) tee hee hee My poor hubby. πŸ™‚

  10. OH Sheri–I Loved that Etsy site for the index cards with the laminated covers! Much “cooler” then plain index cards on a boring ring!! Had to order 2–one for me and one for a swap pal. I use the Bass Pro fishing binders for my circulars. Each needle fits into a plastic sleeve.

  11. I have the Knit Picks interchangeable needles, so all my needles are in Stitchbow Binder Inserts (designed for embroidery floss, but just the right size for needle tips) in a zippered school binder. Also there are pencil pockets for the cables (1 pocket for each cable length), and separate pockets for my sock sized circulars — again, one pocket for each needle size. Everything is labeled with a Sharpie, so I know where to put things when I’m done. And I actually seem to do that most of the time.

    For patterns, I have a file drawer next to my desk — and I store patterns alphabetically after dividing them by type — shawls, socks, sweaters, etc. Seems to be working for me.

    Now if I just had a better system for my yarn, but that might have to wait until I build my “forever” house. Spent some time yesterday looking at all the great storage systems at Ikea and dreaming of where they would go in my craft room there.

  12. Another fun way to store straights and dpns is in a clear vase. I have one in my living room that stores a bunch of old Boye 10″ dpns that I like to use for swatching. The dpns are color-coded by size, which makes it fairly easy to find the size I need. Bonus: when I weave in ends, I save the little clippings and stuff them in the vase. Over time, the vase has become full of colorful reminders of past projects.

  13. My father built me a bookcase which holds 13 binders or patterns. Another of his bookcases has 3 more binders in it. I have a few brand new binders waiting for me to sort a large bucket of patterns. I want to re-organize them this summer.

    My circular needles are in a bait bag from some online fishing store. I read about it online and my sister or father got it for me for Xmas one year. I have a small needle binder with my Addi Lace needles. I do think I will get a Namaste binder and move all my 16 inches into it as the bait bag is stuffed full.

  14. My mom put her straights in a Pringles can. She used a hole punch to make a little spot for each pair of needles and a piece of felt in the bottom. That way you could see the size just looking at the top of the can. I had the best time playing with that needle can as a kid…

  15. May straights however are lying in the bottom of my knitting bag with all of their little point protectors on. The circulars are in an accordion file. And the DPNS are all in the cardboard they came in, in a zippered pencil pouch. My patterns however, are hopeless.

  16. Since I fish as well as fiber, I am always looking at the cool tackle binders as potential way to store stuff.

    I agree, organization is THE key so you can knit more.

    I use a Bass Pro rubber worm binder for my circs-it also has zippered pockets for DPNs. I use a red tool box for the long needles-it has storage underneath for my hand-dyed yarn

  17. I love the Namaste cases for everything! Patterns I keep in notebooks. I need to find a better way. How many can you keep on a Kindle? Can you put them on other readers? This solution intrigues me as it seems it would be a good way to store and transport the material and not end up with tons of paper patterns crinkled beyond reading that need to be reprinted over and over.

  18. Instead of retyping patterns in a bigger font (this can lead to errors) just photocopy in zoom.
    I love the namaste cases

  19. I don’t have a storage system for my DPNS. Right now they are stuck in candle sconces on my desk. There is also a big Twilight photo plastic cup holding my straights, scissors, afghan crochet hook and a crochet fork (or whatever that thing is called that you use to make hairpin lace).

    The printouts of patterns are mainly arranged as follows: I have 3 1- to 3-inch binders for shawls, socks and sweaters that I planned to use for knit nights when I needed to tote a pattern and keep it from getting wrinkled. All the other printouts go into a 3-drawer organizer sized for 8.5×11 sized papers to keep them from getting dusty.

    Lately though, I have been so disorganized I print out a pattern, fold it in half and stick it in a zip lock bag with yarn and needles, then put that in my knitting bag. The binder situation was getting a little unwieldy at knit night. We meet at a coffeehouse that has a lot of small round tables the binders keep falling off of or get knocked off as we go place orders and stuff.

  20. When I moved into Lavender Cottage with it’s wonderful studio all ready for me I decided I needed to have everything super organized. I have all my patterns in sheet protectors and filed in individual binders. i.e. Baby, Socks, Sweaters, Home, etc. This really works well for me. I’ve had to go to second binders on Socks and Baby. Obviously I had issues with these types of patterns! As for my needles, I use 3 enormous 3-ring binders and have heavy duty sheet protectors, each labeled the size of the needle. Inside are all needles that size, circular, DP, straights, etc. Again, this works well for me. I try to keep my circs in their orginal packing but that doesn’t always work. I haven’t had any problems so far. I’m almost ready for another huge binder. All the binders live in their own section of bookshelves closest to the counter, since I’m in them all the time. Knitting books are above them.

  21. I had some of my patterns in plastix sleeves in binders, but realized that was becoming impractical. I recently was cleaning out a filing cabinet (for shredding) and have since organized patterns into file folders (ie socks I have knit, socks I haven’t knit etc)

    So far it is working fine.

  22. @Cindy, re: pattern storage

    I had the same issue, I finally scanned all that weren’t already in pdf format, and now store them on my kindle as well (and on a USB hard drive as a backup). I have ALL my patterns in one place that I can take with me, organized into different categories. This does require a kindle (or other book-reader), but can also be done (with a much smaller screen) using a pdf viewer on near any smart phone these days.

    I do prefer on the kindle however (bigger screen, yaay!) or iPad.

    The current kindle holds approximately 3500 books. If used solely for pattern storage, you could likely hold 5,000 to 7,500 patterns easily.

    (and for any considering digital means, cute writer is a free ‘print to pdf’ program to get any of those patterns on webpages themselves into pdf format)

  23. I store my straights in one of those decorative cardboard wine tubes–they fit perfectly and I keep it right in my knitting basket!
    I put my patterns in plastic sleeves and put them in a ring binder that has those tab sections for the type of patterns—if I copy a pattern or shorten it I use note cards and store them in a note card box—

  24. If you have a kindle, how do you get your hard copy patterns or stored patterns on the computer onto your kindle?

  25. I love order, so all my patterns are cataloged in notebooks according to type. For instance sock patterns have their own book and shawls are nearing that point. Then there are blankets, Infant and child, Adult and one book is for current patterns I am interested in knitting with the next month or so. I now have so many patterns that I am in the process of doing an index page in each book as well as an inventory folder for all the books. All the notebooks are kept in my knitting bookcase with all my other knitting books.

    All patterns are in plastic sleeves inside the notebooks. Additionally when I have a pattern book that I use a lot, I take the book to a local printing shop and have the binder changed to a spiral. This helps with copying the patterns and graphs. I never take my books out of the house, rather print out the pattern and the graphs and keep them in the plastic sleeves easier to travel with.

  26. I store all my patterns on a 4GB thumb drive. I have a folder on the drive for each category-shawls, socks, etc. I don’t print a pattern untill I’m ready to use it. Then it goes into sheet protectors; then a 3-ring binder when I’ve finished using it.

  27. I love the Namaste circular needle holder, what I am having trouble with is the dpns. I have so many in different brands and sizes, and there is a sizing issue with some of them. Some have a 3.5 mm size and they are almost the same size as 3.75 mm. Hard to keep them together as a set unless they are coloured.

    Any advice?

    For patterns, I am also finding that I have way too many and sometimes multiple copies. I have them sorted into children’s, sweaters, socks, shawls and misc..but am thinking that I see a trend towards designers and wonder if I shouldn’t sort all the same designs by designer? I use sheet protectors etc and write my changes in pencil on the sheets. Especially for socks as its always good if they end up as a true pair.

    Great to read other people’s systems tho, each has something to offer.

  28. I store all my circulars and DP’s in a worm binder bag from Bass Pro. Plenty of room for other accessories as well. Heavy plastic bags are attached to a ring binder, which zips closed. Extra bags can be purchased. Several ladies in my knitting group have ordered it, and my daughter demanded one for Christmas.

    Not being a fisherman (fisherperson?), I thought it was cruel to store worms like that because they would suffocate! After much laughter from my fishing friends, they said the bags are designed for PLASTIC worms.

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