I promised a blog post about the odds and ends I keep around when I’m crocheting and then I got distracted by my zombie cherries. Oops. So, here goes with the roundup.
I have to admit, a good pair of scissors is really important and they are relatively cheap to purchase. I just have never gotten around to it. I’ve got around $20 a week to juggle on personal expenses (toys) for myself but when you’re addicted to books and yarn, that twenty bucks doesn’t go very far. So, I’ve just always relied on what I’ve got in the house. However, with amigurumi and, in particular, embroidering on crochet, it’s nice to have a tiny pair of scissors to get in close to the surface.
As you can see my scissors are clearly huge (and dog chewed). They aren’t great at detail work. My solution? Nail clippers. Now, before you go, “Ew!” you should know that, of course, I always clean them first. The great thing about nail clippers is that everyone has them in the house and they are naturally designed to get close to the surface of whatever you’re cutting. They really work surprisingly well.
Did you know you’re actually supposed to clean your hooks? Yeah, neither did I. I never had anyone formally teach me to crochet so I never learned how to properly take care of my tools until recently. Depending on the make of your hook, you’ll do the actual cleaning part differently. Off the top of my head, I know aluminum is cleaned with mild soap and water, steel is cleaned with rubbing alcohol. I simply keep a clean towel nearby and a spray bottle filled with water.
My favorite step, however, and the one that took me forever to discover is re-lubricating your hook after cleaning. It really does make a difference in creating a frictionless surface and it’s relatively cheap. I bought an ounce of organic beeswax online for less than three dollars and I suspect, even if I used it every day, that ounce would last me years. After cleaning my hook, I simply rub the hook on the beeswax and then buff it with a clean cloth until the hook is shiny again. A like-new hook every time.
There’s a thousand different ways to store your works-in-progress. I’ve spied some amazing carriers and bags online, complete with separate pockets for hooks, pattern and yarn. I’m a simple kind of gal, however, and store my WIPs in one of two containers. An empty shoe box works really well because of the lid, which has saved more than one project from the prying teeth of the puppy. Or, simply, a plastic grocery bag. A loose knot in the handles and you can even hang it up if you choose.
One of my favorite, though far more rare, storage containers are liquor boxes. I live in a downtown area near several bars and restaurants, and you can sometimes spy liquor boxes on the curb after inventory. The beauty of the liquor box is the dividers inside. A box that stores bottles of liquor or wine comes with a thin cardboard divider for each bottle, making perfect slots to hold skeins of yarn. It sounds strange, I know, but give it a shot if you get a chance.
I hope that some of my tips have been helpful. On the sidebar of my blog, under Sites I Like, I’m trying to keep a running catalog of cheaper online yarn and supply stores for anyone who’s interested, so please feel free to comment with any of your helpful tips or links!