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.