How to Organize Knitting Needles

Your knitting needles are an important investment in your lifelong knitting hobby/wellness practice.  With proper care, they’ll last through many projects and even many hands.  They could even become heirloom needles passed on to grandchildren!

Organized Knitting Needle Storage Prevents Frustration

There are soo many reasons why you should store your needles in an organized way, but it all comes down to one thing:  frustration.  If you don’t take care of your needles, you will be frustrated, and you probably won’t be knitting.  Need some convincing?  Here are the different flavors of knitting needle frustration (that you can avoid):

  • Loss Prevention.  Losing needles is extremely aggravating and extremely common.  Losing one of a pair of straight needles or one from  a set of double pointed needles is very easy to do and should even be expected.  Even circular needles can disappear.  Interchangeable needle tips roll off with ease, with the needle cables close behind.
  • Prevents Speed Bumps.   Anything that interferes with your knitting flow is a speed bump.  Some of them are hard to prevent, like when you get stuck on a new technique that you just can’t figure out.  Being able to find the needle you need when you need it is a preventable speed bump.  The big problem with knitting speed bumps?  They are the biggest cause of UFOs.  Keep your needles properly stored and organized so your UFO pile doesn’t get any bigger.  Maybe it will even shrink.
  • Saves Time.  How much time do you have to knit?  Do you want to spend that time turning your house upside down searching for that needle or do you want to sit down and peacefully knit?
  • Saves Money.  If your needles are stored well, it’s easy to keep track of which needles you do or don’t have.  You could even have an accurate written record of your needles, a list on paper or on your Ravelry account.  If you’ve got a good storage system, it’s easy to know what you’ve got.
  • Store your needle gauge with your needles.  Sometimes your needles aren’t marked.  Sometimes the size indication wears off.  Either way, storing your needle gauge with your needles will make your knitting life easier and more fun.

Store Your Needles by Type

Knitting needles come in a variety of styles and sizes, which complicates storing them all.  What works for one kind of needle might not work for another.

Straight needles – The classic straight needles are often stored in plastic tubes or cloth roll-up cases.   Make sure the tubes or cases are long enough, and this solution will work very well for a first step.  If you’re concerned about keeping a pair together even inside the tube or roll case, they can be rubber banded together.

Double-Pointed Needles (DPNs) – A little simpler than straight needles, dpns don’t have the knob on the end that can get in the way when you put them in a tube or roll-up case.  It’s also easier for them to fall out.  Since they come in sets of 4 or 5, many people are focused on keeping them together with various devices available from knitting suppliers.  A rubber band works, too.

Fixed Circular Needles – Love the needles, but storing them has always been a pain in the butt.  It is possible to get roll-up cases with extra wide pockets that will hold a neatly circled circular needle.  These cases can usually only hold a few fixed circular needles.  A wide variety of other options have been developed especially for fixed circular needles.  One of the most popular, the hanging organizer, works pretty well, but always looks pretty messy.

Interchangeable Circular Needles –  When you buy an interchangeable set, you almost always get a nice case that fits the needle  tips, cables, tightening tools, and other interchangeable accessory tools into one neat packet.  But you don’t have to buy interchangeables as sets.  You can buy the cables and needle tips separately.  Fortunately, these can be stored similarly to fixed circular needles and dpns.

Best Needle Cases of 2022

Fabric Roll-Up Case – These can be bought on Amazon or Etsy.  If you’re really lucky, you can buy a needle set that includes one of these cases.  You can also make your own. They’re simple, inexpensive, versatile, and they work.  I’ve been using one for my dpns and fixed circulars for years.  I even have one that was custom made for my Dyak interchangeables set.

The Needle Binder – I haven’t managed to buy one yet, but these look great.  They have different styles of storage pages to meet the needs of different kinds of needles.  The pages are then put into a 2 or 3 ring binder. It’s usually designed to zip close or otherwise latch shut, so the shell of the binder is different than the kind meant for papers. Some of them advertise themselves as only working with crochet needles or circulars or whatever.  The truth is, if the needle fits, it works, regardless of what someone else thought it was designed for.  The biggest advantage is when you can mix and match the different pages to match your needle collection.  Best of all, they’re available from a variety of manufacturers for a range of prices.

The Creme de la creme:  The Knitting Needle Briefcase is a handmade leather case made by the Mureli Workshop, available on Etsy.  It is the absolute best knitting needle case/organizer I have ever seen.  The Mureli Workshop is located in Ukraine, so if you’re able to afford a top drawer needle case, and want to support a Ukrainian craftsman and his family, this is the way to go.

Summary

I hope this was helpful and gave you a practical idea or two to get your needles organized and safely stored.  The next time you go looking for your needles, and you find them within seconds, you’ll be thanking me.  Or yourself, since you’re the one who will be doing the organizing.

Don’t stress if it takes you a few tries to work out the best system for you.  I’ve had more than one over the years, and I expect there are new methods of storage in my future.  Perhaps even one of the Mureli Workshop Knitting Needle Briefcases!

Let me know what has and hasn’t worked for you in the comments below.  Especially let me know if I missed something good!

Happy Knitting!

My current system: A Large Roll-up case and a wooden wine bottle box.

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