Office Supplies as Knitting Supplies


As I’ve mentioned a few times, I spend a lot of my knitting time sitting at my desk, and on occasion I’ve found myself improvising with office supplies when I can’t find something I need. In some cases the improvised version has replaced the real thing for me. Here are my four favorite ways to use office supplies as knitting supplies.


1. Paper Clips as Stitch Markers

I started using paper clips as stitch markers because I’d constantly lose my stitch markers. Not only are they significantly cheaper than locking stitch markers, but paper clips can be bent into triangle shapes to fit larger needle sizes. I find that the triangle shape makes them easier to slip from one needle to the other.


2. Paper Clips as Row Counters

I like to think of these as counting stitch markers. You create a chain that has the same number of markers as the length of the repeat you’re knitting, with the beginning of the repeat identified with a different color marker. As you’re knitting along, when you go to slip your marker, you insert your needle into the next marker down from the top of the chain. When you reach the end of your chain at the end of your repeat, you just flip over your chain, insert your needle into the top colored marker, and start your repeat over! This style of row counters makes it really easy to multitask while you’re knitting stockinette heavy repeats, like for shaping, because you only have to glance at the chain of markers to see where you’re at in a repeat. Although I make mine with paper clips, you could also do this with a chain of locking stitch markers.


3. Sticky Notes as Bobbins

To keep track of little bits of yarn for colorwork, I like to use sticky notes as bobbins. I write the name of the section the yarn goes with on the side, and then I fold the note in half, trapping a yarn tail in the sticky seal. I wind my yarn around the little roll of the sticky note, and it stays nice and tidy. Sadly I use this method the most when I’m frogging intarsia or stranded colorwork, but it really helps stay organized.


4. Tape as a Yarn Needle

I frequently lose my yarn needles, and this is my favorite improvisation. Lay your yarn down on a small piece of tape and roll it up tight. Give it an extra twist to tighten even more, and then cut the tip at an angle. It works in a pinch to weave in ends, and I’ve even done duplicate stitch with it, but my favorite use for this technique is sewing buttons on cardigans using the original yarn. The tape is stiff enough to make the process easy, and it’s thin enough that it will pass through larger button holes, unlike a yarn needle.






18 responses to “Office Supplies as Knitting Supplies”

  1. These are all very good ideas. Thanks for this post.

  2. Irene

    This is beyond creative… Brilliant!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I do stuff like this at my work lol! especially the paper clip stitch markers, I’m glad to see I’m not the only one! ๐Ÿ˜€ x

  4. I’m so glad you shared this! ๐Ÿ™‚ I always see your paperclip markers in your knitting photos and wondered what other great ideas were lurking about.

  5. NellyKelly

    You win Knitting for today… simple & brilliant!

  6. The tape idea is genius!

  7. These are all great ideas, especially the row counter one!

  8. Oh you clever, clever lady! Love these tips!


  9. This post is adorable! And useful, so 10 points to you!

  10. Inma

    Brilliant! And I would like to share other knitting tip: to use mini hair elastics as stitch markers. They are very cheap, firm and multicolored and don’t interfere with tiny stitches

  11. Amazing ideas, thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Brilliant!
    I especially like the tape/needle trick. I have to try it out, since I recently lost my last yarn needle somewhere!!!!

  13. Amazing – thanks, Andi! The tape trick is ingenious. Darning needles are the one thing I can never find/leave behind. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Mary Alyce

    Large paper clips, the vinyl coated ones, make excellent cable needles when unfolded. There are always paper clips, both sizes, in my knitting bag. Page protector sleeves hold patterns very well, and you can use dry-erase markers on them. Alternatively, move a post-it to each row of a pattern as you begin: especially useful when dealing with cable patterns.

  15. Great suggestions – I’ve never thought of the row counter idea before! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Paper clips: so useful! I’m currently using one as a marker on a skirt I’m knitting with circular needles – I just hook it over a purl stitch at the start of the row and I’m good for a turn or two. It’s so good to know I’m not the only one who does stuff like this.

    I absolutely love the idea of using a chain of markers to keep track of pattern repeats or decreases. That’s something I’ll definitely be doing in the future – thanks!

  17. Sarah

    I second Mary Alyce. I prefer using a vinyl paperclip over cable needles every time. I usually snap off the central curve so it is more of a ‘U’ shape

  18. Hilary

    Fabulously creative ideas Andi, genius, and so generous of you to share with us. Thank you so much. Long live knitting!!

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