Five Ways to Improve 'Project Portability'

In 'The Pseudo-Science of Polywipamous Opportunities' I hypothesised there are three fundamental factors one should look at when seeking to increase 'opportunity' projects - i.e. "pick-up-and-put-down" knitting/crochet which you can take anywhere and work when you have even just  a few spare minutes. The third of these factors - portability - is quite easily manipulated and this is a list of five simple things that can make a big difference. Aside from the first (which relates to knitting needles) they apply equally to knitting and crochet.

Five ways to improve the portability of (knitting and crochet) projects - Crafts from the Cwtch blog
SQUINT PRINT: Clicking images/links will take you to related posts, Etsy or Amazon, inc. relevant affiliate URLs. Info on the sock above can be found here

1. Use circular needles, even when knitting flat. This makes a big difference to the amount of space required to transport your project. Plus you can't lose a needle between train seats (I have done this). Many people ask about my favourite needles - I have no hesitation in my reply - ChiaoGoo! (Image from Amazon, where they are available in an interchangeable set, or individually as either interchangeable tips or fixed circular needles.)
Chiaogoo interchangeable knitting needles
2. Streamline pattern information. If you need to refer to the pattern and it's in a magazine or a heavy book, either make your own simplified notes or a copy of the section you need (eg the chart). If it's a PDF pattern, save a copy to your phone, or take a screenshot/photo of the section of the pattern you'll need - or pop it on your Kindle (see this post) if you'll be carrying that anyway. Note: It's worth checking the copyright, but with most patterns it's absolutely fine to make a portable copy for your own reference. 

The Principles of Knitting (hardcover and ebook) on Crafts from the Cwtch blog

3. Only carry the yarn you'll need (based on the realistic amount of time you're likely to have). So if you're knitting a pair of socks, and are not likely to knit both before you come home, only take half of the yarn. (I either split the ball before starting the socks, or buy in 50g balls.) Same thing with a garment - only carry the piece(s) you're working on, not the whole project and all the yarn.

4. Have a 'ready-to-go' project bag. A fully prepared bag (located where you can easily pick it up on your way out) will really help to make the most of small crafting opportunities. I accidentally left my sock project on my desk when I went to Unravel. In the time we were there and my hands were idle, Joanne crocheted half a baby blanket!

If you've already checked off the earlier items in the list, the bag needn't be very big (my sock pouches are no bigger than cosmetic bags but contain everything necessary to knit on-the-go, when I pick them up!). Make sure you have all notions needed for your project - the bag linked above includes notion storage and sections for separating yarn (if it's a fiddly knitting project I also carry a mini crochet hook in case of dropped stitches, and a pencil to make notes on the pattern). Oh and it's a great idea to include a 'please return to' label or tag (like these) incase you lose your project!
5. Leave your phone in your pocket/bag! This may sound trite, and has little to do with the project itself, but can seriously make an enormous difference to the progress you can make on it. I spend a lot of time hanging around for the children (outside school, at dance classes etc) and most other people are looking at their phone - crushing candy or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. This 'dead time' can be time spent much more productively if you're a knitter or can crochet, plus it's much more sociable as it's usually possible chat at the same time.

So those are just a few ideas to get you started. Please feel free to share your favourite tips in the comments.

To those awaiting the next post in the 'Brioche basics' knitting series, please bear with me. The family has been struck down with flu this week. 


  1. Oh that last one! Yes!!! Knitting time is so much better for me than phone fiddling but I often forget this. I'm pretty on top of the other advice except I'm always wildly over optimistic about how much I'll get done so always bring more yarn than needed!

    1. Precisely why I included the phone tip - we all need a reminder every now and again :D And you are great at always having a project with you *bow*

  2. Thanks for this post, some useful tips, and some apply to drop-spindle projects too. (Can also be portable).

    I find that stitches easily come off needles while in the bag (particularly dpns) so the rubber ends or some other device for keeping the stitches on the needles will make the idea of stuffing the project in a bag less scary.


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