Thursday, July 3, 2014

What's in your bug out bag?

We all have our essential knitting items, our favourite notions. I keep some reliable workhorse items close to hand in my main knitting bag at all times, and I usually only take notions with me if I know I will need them.

But you say, what about going on vacation, or if you're not entirely sure what you will need while you're out teaching, or just for emergencies (yes, we all know that knitting emergencies are real). Well, for those situations, I have my bug out bag. This bag has pretty much everything I need notions-wise to cover almost anything that I might need to deal with. This bag remains fully stocked at all times, and always stays in one place in my home, so that it can be ready at a moment's notice. People often ask what essential tools they need to get when starting out, and this makes for a pretty good list for that as well.

Let me show you what's in my bag.

BugOutBag25 copy

The bag: I have starting using this Long Pouch from Splityarn, and I love it. It really is the perfect size for my essentials, but she offers several other sizes (I also use her Box Bags to hold projects).

BugOutBag19 copy

Clockwise-ish, from top left:
Darning needles (two sizes) and case
Thread snips
Business cards
Stitch markers (two kinds) and case
Needle gauge/ruler
Crochet hook
Double pointed needle
Stitch holder

BugOutBag21 copy

Top to bottom:

Notebook: I like this little softcover moleskine. It's grid-ruled, which I prefer, and while on the small size, it fits well in the bag and it still great for taking notes (I prefer larger pads for proper pattern design).

Darning needles: Nothing special, just a large and a small blunt darning needle. You could include a pointed one, but I find my need for them is minimal. The case was custom made for me by a friend, but there are plenty of alternatives.

Stitch holder: Vintage-style stitch holder, not strictly necessary as some light/mid weight mercerized cotton works just as well. (note to self: add in some mercerized cotton)

Pencil: I like mechanical pencils, but your mileage may vary. I do recommend a pencil over a pen as it probably won't burst and leak ink everywhere.

Double pointed needle: I don't work with DPNs, but I always keep a small (2-3.5 mm) DPN handy for picking up dropped stitches, miscellaneous repairs and as a general poking device. I think this one is rosewood, and was part of a set that a customer returned because they managed to break one of the five needles.

Crochet hook: This is a smallish rosewood crochet hook, but really anything will work. I'd say pick the size based on the size of yarn you typically work with.

BugOutBag23 copy

Top to bottom:

Thread snips: These are some Clover Thread Clippers which I like because they are simple, and look nice. Any small embroidery needle is fine, but ideally find a set with a case - you don't want sharps poking around in your bag.

Business cards: Always keep a few on hand! I got mine from and I love them. Highly recommend.

Stitch markers: I keep two types, removable and non-removable. These fancy ones are from Fringe Supply Co. and I really like them (they are a great resource for bespoke tools). More often than not I just use paperclips or cheap plastic markers, but this is my posh travel kit, so I can show off. The leather case is nice to keep everything in order.

Needle gauge/ruler: Simple old gauge, but there are nicer options out there (I'd like a wooden model, personally). A longer soft measuring tape could be useful as well, but I haven't found it to be a necessity on the road.

So, what's in your bug out bag?

Oh, also, I'm baaaaaaack!

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