Be Prepared: Emergency Knitting Kits

Recently, I realized that I had a solid day of meetings scheduled, and no knitting. No knitting! How am I supposed to sit through two hours of slideshows without anything to do? Doodling on the handout gets old, and my origami skills are rather limited. Fortunately, we recently held a yarn swap, so I had some yarn stashed in my desk, and there are also a few patterns to choose from around here; I was saved from boredom, and my coworkers were saved from my endless pen clicking.

This woman has tragically forgotten her project.

The lucky coincidence of having yarn in my desk and easy access to a pattern made me think that I should plan ahead for situations like this. Emergency knitting kits for unexpected periods of waiting just make sense! Partner gets a kidney stone? Knit while you’re waiting in the ER. Little League team unexpectedly makes it to the next round of play? Get comfy on the bleachers and cast on. Quarantined at work due to zombie plague? You’re cool and collected with your crafty project.

Here are some guidelines for your emergency knitting kit:

What to knit

Keep it small. Your partner will not appreciate a sweaters-worth of wool replacing the first aid kit.

Use yarn that you’re already familiar with. Or go for a project where gauge doesn’t matter. No one wants to swatch when they’re stressed!

Choose a pattern that works with your stress-knitting type. Do you want something mindless, so you don’t have to focus on it? A plain vanilla sock is perfect. Do you prefer something complicated to distract you? Consider a lace wrap.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Simple socks are the best for mindless knitting.

What to keep in your kit

Wind your yarn ahead of time. You don’t want to be sitting in the ER trying to wind a skein into a ball and making a giant stringy mess.

Add the necessary needles or hook for your project. For knitters, I highly recommend metal circular needles for whatever you’re knitting, just because it is literally impossible to lose a needle; I’ve misplaced and broken too many dpns and straight needles to trust them.

Print your pattern. Your tablet is useless if it runs out of battery.

Include all the notions you might need. If your project has cables, remember to add a cable needle. Stitch markers are always useful. Keep a measuring tape handy if your project needs to be a certain length. Keep it all together in a project bag so nothing goes astray.

Prep your emergency knitting kit ahead of time so you have everything you need.

Where to keep it

Glove compartment. Your car often travels with you; it’s an excellent storage place for a ball or two of yarn.

Desk drawer at work. You never know when a meeting will strike.

Emergency kit. If you’re going to be hunkered down in the fallout shelter, you might as well enjoy it and get some knitting done.

Keep a project with your emergency kit for real emergencies.

What will you keep in your emergency knitting kit?


  1. Anonymous at 8:51 am August 3, 2018

    Great suggestions! I used to knit ,a long time ago, while I waited for computer programs to run. My immediate boss was a knitter, so it was fine. I could not move onto anything else until the job finished, and I felt being productive was better than just sitting there! Her boss, however, had ‘kittens’ while I sat there knitting. Eventually, I was ‘spoken to’ and had to stop. Glad to hear things are more flexible now!

  2. Anonymous at 9:43 am August 3, 2018

    How great would it be to be able to knit at work! Most of my emergency projects involve medical appointments. I love hats for portable projects. I take plastic circular needles and plastic notions — don’t interfere with MRI, for instance – and yarn fits easily into my purse or even pocket. I stuff the yarn, needles and notions into a quart sized, zip lock plastic bag. Great idea to have one ready to go!

  3. Anonymous at 1:31 pm August 3, 2018

    I pointed out that my work improved with my hands occupied. Boss agreed, could point out the numbers. Et voila, crochet and knitting allowed, as long as no paper patterns are present. Head patterns only.

  4. Anonymous at 5:48 pm August 3, 2018

    Great ideas! The only thing I would add is to put your printed pattern in a plastic page protector. It doesn’t crush as badly and won’t get soggy from your iced tea sweating!

  5. Anonymous at 3:27 am August 8, 2018

    I have a basket of projects, yarn pattern and needles in gallon ziplock bags handy to grab. I fold th epattern so it can be seen on one side of the bag and the yarn shows through the other side. When I need a quick project to grab I can see the pattern and yarn without having to dig through a project bag.

  6. at 8:55 pm August 18, 2018

    If possible, keep a pair of kiddy craft scissors, with round tips and short blades, and a tapestry needle in your emergency knitting kit. With those on board, if you finish the knitting on your project before the event is over, you’ll come back with an actual Finished Object.

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