If you’ve ever been on the internet, and we know you have because you’re reading this, you will undoubtedly have read a least one Buzzfeed article listing the best life hacks, ikea hacks or indeed knitting hacks. Knitting hacks that will help your everyday knitting life, some of which sound pretty clever, some others terrible. And sometimes, the ones that seemed pretty good at first, turn out not as useful as you hoped. We’ve chosen 3 knitting hacks to experiment with to see if any of them actually work!
- To sharpen the broken tip of a wooden needle.
Few months ago while travelling back from London, one of my wooden knitting needles broke into my bag pack, 5 mm away from the actual tip. As my knitting budget at the time was dedicated to buy more yarn and tools for another project I was pretty committed to find a way to fix this needle.
So here came the idea of using sandpaper to retrieve its original shape. YAK amigo Wendy, she advised me to use a nail file instead, as it would probably be smoother than any sandpaper. This proved to be a really good idea and was perfect to achieve a neat polished finish.
The needle broke fairly low, so I started sanding it with the thinnest paper I could find in my toolbox as it would allow me to go quicker than by using a nail file. Obviously it is really important to use a paper not too coarse to keep your needles smooth as it might damage your yarn otherwise. I personally found that by laying the paper flat onto a table and then sanding the needle over it worked better as I had a lot more control over the shaping process. Also, be careful to keep the same angle all around the needles to insure that the tip stays as central as possible. Once I was satisfied with the shape I started using a 4 way buffer block to finish sharpening the tip with more control. Then I went a bit more experimental. What works on nails might also work on wood, so I used the polishing face of the block to make my tip as shiny and sleek as possible. And it worked quite well! It took me about 40 minute of careful sanding to fix my needle tip and overall I am really pleased with the result. On the down side it is is now only 3 1/4 inches long which is ridiculously tiny and unpractical. Therefore I will probably end up buying a new set sometime soon, but it will do the trick in the meantime.
2. Making your own yarn dispenser.
When you throw yourself into a complex colour work project involving more than three different colours your project bag might quickly end up in a colourful mess of tangled threads. Not ideal you will agree. Some of the hacks we found propose to organise your yarns by placing each ball into preserving jars allowing the thread to go through a hole in the middle of the lid. You can then pile your jars on top of each other or side by side, creating a pretty neat way to arrange your colour work. However by allowing your yarn to go through a hole made onto a metallic surface, you’re exposing it to the risk to get caught against or even broken by the sharp edges. If your yarn is thin enough, you could consider using drinking jars as their lids are already pierced.
Another way to organise your colour work would be to use plastic bottles as ‘yarn dispensers’ that you can attach around the back of a chair. Obviously this last tip would be more useful for beginner knitters for who colour work might seem quite daunting. By sparing yourself the hassle of untangling multiple threads, it would allow you to focus solely on your pattern and so diminish the chance of making mistakes. It all sounds very good on paper but as soon as you put it into practice, it’s another story. First of all the weight of the yarn tends to prevent the bottles to stay straight and we had to secure them with a fair bit of sellotape to stop them moving around. This could probably be avoided by attaching the bottles as tightly as possible at the back of the chair but this also highlights another issue. Once you’ve attached the bottles and started knitting it has to stay there. I don’t know how long your last colourwork project took you but having a project attached to the back of a chair for even just a couple of months isn’t exactly convenient. Lastly and probably most importantly, the balls did not easily unravel while knitting and ended up tangled anyway. So even though the idea is quite good, we’d suggest you’d be better off learning straight away how to deal with multiple balls of yarn at the same time.
- Luggage Tag.
This tip comes from YAK’s resident knit doctor Suzanne and is as simple as it is clever. We all know the struggle of carrying around your multiple pages pattern while travelling, the page you need always gets mislaid or you just grab you bag and go but the pattern is no where to be seen. This is when the luggage tag becomes handy. Instead of writing down your contact details write out the next set of instructions of your pattern, attach it to your project bag or directly onto your circular needles and you’re ready to go!
Ideally choose a tag large enough for you to write as much information as possible. Write everything in pencil so you can erase and re-write instructions again and again. Large paper price tags are also a good option but less sustainable, as they are more likely to get damaged, requiring to be replaced more often.
Do you have any hacks you use which make your knitting life easier?
Until Next Time… Happy Knitting!