How do I store my circular knitting needles? Well, I’ve finally got an answer for ya, and it goes a little something like this:
It was about time. I’ve been keeping my circs for years in an old CD wallet that half the time I barely bothered to zip closed, and it was a piss-poor solution at best. Many are unmarked and mysterious thrift store finds, and none had labels. Mostly I kept track of needle sizes by memory. The ends of longer needles flopped out the sides like dog’s tongues. It was … not good. In the words of a favorite crooner, “Forgive me Delilah, I just couldn’t take any more.”
And then a couple months ago I read Ysolda’s post on storing circular needles in a DVD case and loved it. So neat! So functional! So less prone to shedding number seven needles under the couch! For awhile after, I did some half-assed googling for tackle boxes and fishing tackle binders, but nothing quite spoke to me. They were well made but sort of sporty for me. A little bit country, when honestly, I’m a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.
Wait — a lot rock ‘n’ roll! As I was cramming a long needle back into its spot in the CD wallet and trying to tuck the cable back into the too-small slot, I realized what I needed was a storage slot just about the size of a 45 rpm single.
And fortunately, people have been solving the problem of storing records for decades. A quick eBay search for 45 rpm record cases turned up the perfect thing: the Platter-Pak, ’60s-vintage cardboard boxes for carrying your LPs and singles around, once available at record shops and drugstores in a dazzling variety of on-trend psychedelic patterns.
After a few days and a bit of obsessive hunting and bidding on exactly the right one (red, swirly, and reminiscent of a certain Smashing Pumpkins box set), I was the proud owner of this baby, complete with battle scars and a very old $1.85 price tag from Woolworths inside the lid:
I also picked up some pretty standard materials for storing 7″ singles: dividers, plastic sleeves and paper inserts, which I used for marking needle sizes and lengths:
It really works. The paper sleeves keep the plastic outer sleeve from folding over and make it easier to flip through the needles . Honestly, I could’ve stopped there.
But I didn’t.
Did you know you can buy vintage record inserts for cheap on eBay?
I tucked one vintage sleeve behind each plain sleeve with the needle details on it. The extra layer of paper makes it even easier to flip through the needles, in a way incredibly reminiscent of flipping through singles at a record store. Very satisfying.
And the real live Tom Jones singles throughout, well … I am a completely, utterly, truly sincere Tom Jones fan, down to the core. It’s also an homage to my mom; He was a favorite of hers, too, and she was always delighted that we had that in common.
She used to tell a great story about working at a New York hotel in the 1970s where she waitressed and occasionally delivered room service. On one delivery, she knocked at a hotel room door and it swung open to reveal none other than a shower-damp Tom Jones wearing only a towel.
Normally in the retelling of the story, this would be followed by a comment on how friendly and polite he was and remarks on how long and happily he’s been married to his wife.
After a couple glasses of wine, the story tended to focus a little more on his gloriously hairy chest and impressive physique, and was more likely to be followed with her story about the time she waited on Sammy Davis, Jr.: A recent immigrant who barely spoke English, she occasionally had to have her manager translate unfamiliar slang for her: “Ah, Sammy Davis, Jr. said he wants a … joint?”
She went to a Tom Jones concert a few years ago with a best friend, a couple years before she died. I’m sad we never got to make good on our plans to see him together someday, but at least I finally caught up at this show a few weeks ago. He was in fine form, and even did a Tom Waits song. Pretty great, considering.
I’ve been using the case for a couple weeks and it’s going great. Every time I need a needle I can actually locate it, and every time I do, I think about Mom.